Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Average Man/Woman Challenge: Deadlift/Squat/MIle

I have been reading through Alex Viada excellent book "The Hybrid Athlete."  One of the challenges laid out by a Crossfit Gym in North Carolina was the ability to match your deadlift and your mile time.  So if you deadlift 500b you must run the mile in 5 min.

Women have a formula that I haven't been able to find.

This is a remarkable challenge.  I don't see myself ever training enough to do this.  As an ex sprinter, mile work seems NOT FUN.  One of my goals is better aerobic capacity, so I've been thinking more and more about this and investing some time in the ability to go from couch to mile in lets say 7:30.

I'm proposing the average man challenge.  I'm going to add my Deadlift and Squat to meet my Mile time .  So if you deadlift 400, Squat 300, you must run a 7 min mile.  I'm hoping this should give me enough training incentive to invest in squatting again and work at my running.

I'm not looking for this to take away from my primary goals, I just think it would be a fun little challenge  to work towards this winter.  If anyone has tried something like this let me know!

Hope you have a tremendous start to the New Years!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Thoughts About 2015 and Looking Towards 2016

It is probably quite normal to start evaluating life as the end of the year draws near.  This is probably going to be more of a very random thoughts post then structured article, but hopefully you find something to think about yourself.

There has been a lot of talk the past year about fixed mindsets vs growth mindsets.  It came to my thoughts after two brief encounters I had.  One, a young trainer that I'd seen only two times, always looked sad/defeated after each encounter.  I finally asked him about it.  He stated he felt like there was so much to learn after we talked (he got treated).  Instead of being filled with enthusiasm for new avenues to learn and grow, it was viewed with a defeatist attitude. Fixed mindset.  Second, an old boss told a patient I had, they he had taught me everything I knew.  This is now almost 8 years later.  That is believing that no growth has happened in 8 years.  Probably because no growth has happened on his part.  I think I've spent about 4-8 grand a year on continuing education.  I shoot for 10-15 hours a week of reading/studying.  Pre kids it was about 20.  So again, fixed mindset.

I hope I continue to have a growth mindset in the coming years.

I have two very young daughters.  I'm constantly thinking about what it means to be a good dad, how you want to raise them to be positive citizens and good people.  Positive self esteem is huge.   One day I thought about how I would want a man to treat them when they are older.  It struck me that how I treat my wife is probably the strongest contributor to what they will allow other guys to treat them.
Treat your wife how you would want another man to treat your daughter.  I think at times we are all guilty of treating random strangers better then we are at treating family.  But, it should not be that way.

My athletic/physical goals for 2016 are to build a bigger aerobic engine.  Improve my deadlift.  Put on some muscle mass (about 5 pounds).  Improve hip and thoracic spine mobility.  So each workout will be geared towards that stuff.  Have a template of what you want to accomplish with every training session.  

 I think leg strength should always be trained.  Lots of repetitions with my lower body leave me so sore that it usually means I train less.  I think my upper body feels better with repetitions then with heavy weight.  Heavy weights make my joints so sore in the upper body that I end up training less.  Know yourself.  I can't believe it took me so long to figure this out.

I took a chance and hired a coach this year.  I wrote a post awhile back on that.  It is worth mentioning that it has been a very positive experience.  So much so, that I am planning on bringing him to Grand Rapids, MI in April for a weekend seminar.  This is something new that I've never done before.

Keep your joints healthy.  Keep your muscle mass.  Stay aerobically fit.  Keep your brain healthy.  Keep your immunity strong.  These goals are what I believe you need to work at if you want to be 70 doing what you did at 30.  Maybe not as fast, but still enjoying the same hobbies as you did without a reduction in activity.

I did a lot more reading this year then writing.  I feel like I'm starting to shift and think I will probably be writing more in 2016.  I really got into the history of food this past summer.  Whole books that explore one food topic and how they influenced the world were a weird but enjoyable side topic for me.   Bananas, Six Drinks That Changed the World, Salt, Cod, Devil in the Cup, are a few off the top of my head that I remember.

A lot of concussion discussion this past year that will increase with the release of the movie.  I loved football more then anything.  The game gave me some amazing gifts.  Confidence.  The importance of team work.  Toughness.  Dealing with defeat.  Dealing with winning.  Hard work.  That hard work pays off and also that sometimes hard work just isn't enough.   Dealing with pressure.   So if I did have a son, if he wanted to play, I'd let him.  I put the CTE interest as another in a long line of things we are being lead to fear.  I think we fear the wrong things.  I'm admittedly biased though, so take it with a grain of salt.

This is 1/3 into my 39th year.  My goal on my birthday was to move better at 40 then I did at 30.  Coming off bobsled career,  I was fast and strong, but was only good for 5 seconds, my lower back was sore from no movement variability in my hips.  I think I'm on pace.  (Minus a problematic right elbow)Have some sort of check/test as this next year goes on to keep you accountable.

I put much less stock into eating clean/healthy all the time.  I think caloric manipulation is a big deal. I enjoy intermittent fasting as it does this naturally when followed.  I do believe the body was meant for feast or famine.

I think the only thing worth spending money on is time as time is the only thing worth money.  I don't mean this in a higher then though sense.  I mean I put more value on hanging at a coffee shop drinking amazing espresso reading an awesome book then buying a new t-shirt.  That is time well spent for me.  I'd rather work less/make less and spend time with my kid or go for a bike ride.  It came to my mind when looking for a Christmas present for my daughter.  They wanted 160 dollars for a certain item.  It seemed a bit much to me so I decided to make it myself.  After buying the supplies it came to about 60 dollars.  It took me about 4.5 hours to put together.  I figured it would have taken about 1/2 hour to put together bought online.  I traded 100 dollars for 4 hours.  I'm not the type of guy that gets pleasure out of building stuff or looking at something that I built with pride, so I got no value from that end.  In fact, it was 4 hours of dislike.  So in the end, I feel I made the wrong choice.

I received a Pressure Cooker for Christmas.  I think this will be a game changer for me and my family.  More premade/homemade meals and less eating out for 2016.

Getting on the floor and getting up off the floor is the most undervalued health/fitness activity.  Do several reps every day.  If it ever starts to get hard or uncomfortable, get a professional to help you figure out why, attack that issue, and continue to get down and up for the rest of your life.

I hope you look back on 2015 with a smile and can look back at enough "wins" to keep you motivated .  I know several patients/friends that are struggling with health which puts life in perspective very quickly.  With that in mind,  I hope 2016 brings improved health and continued growth.

Friday, December 4, 2015

LEVANTADORES - The Basque Strongman - A documentary film

This is a really amazing look into the Basque culture and history of the Strongman style stone lifting.  Really enjoyed this.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Coloring Books as Meditation

Meditation has been one of the hottest "trends" in the last 5 years.  I say trend a little sarcastically, because it has been around for literally thousands of years.  It wasn't until the last 5-10 years though that they are realizing the implications for brain health.  There has been a high interest into what is actually happening to the brain when you meditate.  With the use of fMRI and EMG we now know how much physical and mental health benefits can be achieved.

Brain grey matter is preserved.  Monkey brain, or wandering brain is decreases and this has been shown to increase happiness.  It has been shown to increase volume size.  (Bigger Brain!)  Increase concentration.  Reduce anxiety.  These are just a few known benefits.

Meditation or mindfulness can be achieved by many methods.  Some use breathing.  Some use music.
The latest trend we are seeing is the use of coloring books.  Seems a little odd until you really start to figure out what is happening.  Relaxation happens.  Creativity flow a little easier.  Here is an article that talks about this.  Coloring is the Best Alternative to Meditation.

A few psychologists are now saying coloring can be a strong alternative to meditation as some of the same things are happening.  So if you have found meditation hard, perhaps pick up a coloring book and go for it.

Here is picture I colored this week.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Random Likes, Thoughts and Notes.

Just some random thoughts and notes of things I've read or am thinking about.

Facebook saved function is awesome.  Actually easier then Evernote.  My Facebook feed is packed full of quality people that put out some pretty cool links to articles and videos.  The saved feature lets you go back and read all the ones you want to when you don't want to devote the time to read and take notes right then.

The app Split Screen is what I have been looking for.  It was 4.99 but well worth it.  I can take an article I'm reading on the web brower, hit the left screen and it goes left.  I can then keep my note taking on the right screen.  So both are open and able to go back and forth much easier while I read and take notes.

As we enter winter, 1000 IU of Vitamin D would be needed to raise your number 5mmol. Get it measured and keep it between 50-70.

I believe I may have figured out my question of why I felt so bad eating so clean and inversely why I felt so much better (joint wise) eating some "junk."

One carbohydrate is capable of carrying 2.7 grams of water.  Dehydration can definitely create more pain in joints.  I believe as I cleaned my diet up of all grains/processed foods, my hydration didn't really increase.  So by way of eating clean, I was actually dehydrating myself.  Can also explain some pretty quick loss of weight over 3-4 weeks.  Can also explain why I felt like I was going to pass out while mountain biking and getting light headed after heavy deadlifts.

This is going to be another experiment this winter.

Alga and Chlorophyll when examined in research is overrated as a superfood.  Save your money.

Something to think about for weight lifters, power lifters, cross fitters and anyone else trying to do a weighted movement with improper form/mobility.  You may not get hurt now but you know your not 100% great with it.  Would you hurt your brain now for Alzheimer's later?  Of course not, treat your joints the same.

Blind women are half as likely to get breast cancer.  This is suspected because they have higher melatonin levels.  Perhaps supplement with melatonin?

Tendon injuries are often associated with motor control changes.  Self paced strength training has been shown to help strength, but not motor control.  This would be down on 3, up on 3.  External paced, like the use of a metronome have been shown to alter motor control.

Coffee, time and time again , proves to be pretty healthy for you.  Liver more healthy, less type 2 diabetes and less Alzheimer's.

Being grateful has more and more powerful brain magic.  Even when you don't think you have anything to be grateful for, the act of trying to remember shows emotional intelligence and has positive impact on your biology.  Be grateful.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Defining Your Definition of Better Training

"Did you get better today?"

It's a simple question.  The answer can say a lot about your training.  In the scope of your training, your definition of why becomes utmost important.  Because to answer the first question, you must first ask yourself a more important question.  

"Why are you training?"

When the Why is your outline you can fill in with smart programming your how and when.  

Your why has to be very important to you.  I was reading through a very informative article on how our brains are wired.  One of the more interesting facts was how our brain views things like exercise. If you hate something, for example, getting up in the morning to go for a run, because you think you should, doesn't elicit the same health benefits as someone that loves the morning and loves running.  

Essentially, to the brain, your "I have to" isn't a voluntary action any longer.  You don't get the same pleasure neurotransmitters release.  It's just another stress.  It's the reason finding the why must be examined and then back filled in with ways that are both enjoyable and goal centered.  

If your goal is weight loss and you hate running, but this is your method you have chosen,  chances are this isn't a habit that will probably stick.  Make sure weight loss is your real goal.  Often, when I ask why weight loss to clients, they just want to feel better.  Sometimes this comes from weight loss, sometimes not.  Not feeling well can come from many varied reasons, not just weight loss.  Getting there can be just as varied in the methods.   Find a method you enjoy.  I personally dislike long distance running, but really enjoy jumping rope and rucking.  

My training goals are to have better feeling joints.  I hired a coach to help me attempt to get my elbows better.   I like having a 2x bodyweight deadlift.  That is really not that much when comparing to anyone that actually lifts to compete in any strength pursuit, but for me, that is just fine.  I want to be in good enough cardio to ride my bike for enjoyment and not be tired.  We have awesome mountain bike trails in West Michigan.  

One of my favorite (almost all) are just to think up workouts and then do them.  They usually have a theme to them that can tie back into my big picture goals.  This in itself is a goal.  To be healthy an fit enough to do what I dream of doing.  

Some days its 20 prowler pushes on the minute.  Some days its just punching the heavy bag paired with ring pull ups.  These are also the most enjoyable to me.  Think of something and go do it.  These are probably also producing the most pleasurable neurotransmitter release.  

So did I get better today.  By the definition of my goals, I did some things to work on my elbow and hip health.  So yes.  I did a bunch of pull ups at the park with my kid, followed by lunge position depth drops.  Just something I was playing around with.  So yea...I got better today.  

Will this type of unstructured training lead to anything big.  No.  But, you must understand that isn't the goal currently.  When you define your training, you can define your method.  Always know you are on the right path if you can answer the question with a yes.

"Did I get better today?"

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Everyone Needs a Coach at Some Point

I first heard of the name Will Chung on a podcast from Blue Collar Podcast.   It was a very interesting talk about movement, training and seemingly figuring out injuries that others had failed to do.  He had quite an interesting background through martial arts, sport and training.  Over the next few weeks I started to notice his name in the background of other Facebook friends that he was helping and training.  He's been called the "shadow of the fitness industry" because he knows so many people in fitness and health and has helped quite a few "big names."

It was almost like when you are interested in a certain car and almost magically you start to see that car on the road.  Not that it wasn't there before, but now your conscious is aware of it.  That's the experience I had.

Frustrated with my lack of improvement in an old elbow injury, I figured I would reach out to him.  A friend said he had helped greatly with his own elbow injury.  We talked for a bit through Facebook and after thinking about it for about a month, (I'm a bit slow in things) I decided to schedule a Skype consult.  Never had done this type of thing.   Honestly I've never hired a coach.  Coaching is so undervalued in any profession.

I can remember reading this article a few years ago and realizing the importance a coach can make.  Personal Best:  Top Performers and Athletes have Coaches, Should You?  I've watched patients make great strides when they get on a program.

You have to come with a bit of humble pie.  An open cup as the saying goes.  Perhaps, it took me a few years from the article till now for me to empty my cup enough and just say, my knowledge up this point doesn't have the answer.  I need to seek a coach.

I'm glad I finally made it to that point.  Through the first few sessions I'm starting to feel improvements.  It's not magic.  It's work on my part.  Every day and night.  I work the drills.  The magic is in the subtle vectors that have eluded me.  This is where the "Chung Fu" comes into play. Yea, I've done this stretch, this exercise before.  Oh wait, a slight change in foot position, a slight twist of the shoulder, and it becomes what is exactly needed and completely new and unique to me.

As a chiropractor, manipulating a joint isn't about power or force.  It's slight angles and vectors and velocity.  The same with exercise.

Some concepts I've really embraced through this training/coaching.  When you get done with an exercise you should feel like a better human being.  If you get done doing an exercise and feel worse. Something is wrong.  Several of my patients are already getting some of the benefits from some Chung Fu drills.

Will has a pretty crazy ability to hone in on muscle imbalance and really exploit it.  It's been a great learning process so far and I'm really excited I took the leap and hired a coach.  This is for anyone sitting on the fence to hire a coach or go that seminar because you think you can figure it out yourself.      Keep learning, stay a student, find the gaps in your program that only outside help can see.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Push the Fear Away

If you have never been in serious pain, it is impossible to fully relate to someone that has.  You can "understand" they are in pain, but you can't have empathy.

One of the blessings in life I've realized is that I have been physically hurt.  Through most of my injuries I have come out on the other side with learning lessons, better training philosophy, deeper appreciation for health and overall being a better clinician.

It drives you to read about and understand the mechanism of injury.  Because, at the root of almost everything, people, even myself are always asking "Why me?"

People want to know why they got hurt.  Why is this painful?  How do I get out of this pain?  How do I keep it from ever coming back?

Somewhere along the line, there can take root some serious fear.  The body has an amazing ability to heal itself.  The cast isn't healing the broken bone, the cast just keeps you from doing stupid stuff so the body can heal the fracture.

What doesn't' heal well at times though is the psychological impact of the injury.  The fear of being hurt again.  The fear of the pain that you remember being in.  The fear of the helplessness that you felt while hurt.

This at times is the bigger hurdle.  The battle with fear.  I can remember laying on a floor for days in back pain.  Every time I deadlift it is in the back of my mind.  Every rep I do, I'm beating back that fear.  There can't be avoidance.

I see the repercussions of avoidance everyday.  If this hurts, quit doing it.  If it hurts in this range of motion, maybe go with a slightly smaller range of motion.  Avoidance only feeds the fear.  Your allowing it to grow.  Because of the avoidance other health related issues arise.

After attending a FRR seminar awhile back,   I realized I had associated spinal moment with back pain.  I never broke neutral and held extension.  Good for my back health with lifting, poor for my spinal health in general life.  I had lost the ability to flex and articulate my upper lumbar and lower thoracic vertebrae. I had become so concerned with not having neutrality, that I had lost mobility.  This is an example of fear avoidance leading to health problems unrelated to your original pain/problem.

I've never had such a stark reminder of the power of fear with lower back pain then today.  A patient that was afraid to jump slightly over a small cord.  You may need a 1" vertical to get over it.  This is a patient that had not had actual pain in over 2 years.  They remember the pain and have trained themselves to associate sudden movements with pain.  When I challenged them to jump over, they told me they didn't think they could remember how to.  They told me they were to weak.  This is learning to work through that fear.  Baby steps.  We will work on the psychological as we work through the physical.  It's in a way convincing them to trust their body again.  Trust must be earned.  Today a one inch jump.  Next week a 10 yard jog?  It's taking physical steps to push back the fear.

Sometimes we forget that full healing doesn't necessarily come with just physical healing.  There is a psychological healing that must also take place.   Every time I deadlift I push mine back, every time they jump, they will be pushing theirs back.  Find your way of pushing back your fear and PUSH!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sport, Training for Sport, Life After Sport and Youth

A conversation with a concerned parent sparked a train of thought the last few weeks that lead me to deeper thinking and eventually putting my thoughts to type.  There question was from the perspective of if you had to do it all over again, would you have participated in the same sports?  They were coming from the perspective of injury and how some of my joints are a little painful most days.

The question in a nut shell "Was it worth it?"

That is easy.  Yes.

My memories, friendships, lessons and overall out look on life has been influenced heavily from sports.  I wouldn't change that.

Granted, my injuries I feel are minor compared to others, so I'm sure many people would have different perspectives.  I can only speak for myself.

In fact, while I did get injuries in sport, I received just as many injuries in the weight room or in training.  This is where I would have changed the most.  If I had a time machine, I would go back to change my training habits and attitude.

In the early 90's when I was fully invested in training for football, the internet wasn't around.  I was still using Encylopedia's to look up topics, not Google.  There really wasn't much training info out there.  Like most kids that age, the monthly Muscle and Fitness was as close to authority as we had.  There weren't seminars.  Blogs and online forums were words that didn't exist.  In fact, there weren't many books.  I remember finding Eric Dickersons Power book and feeling like I hit the jackpot.  It didn't matter it was just pictures of Eric doing body building movements.  

I had a heavy bodybuilding focus.  The high school I attended was influenced by Bigger, Faster, Stronger.  I can remember spending so much time doing the dot drill thinking I was getting faster.  The dot drill is our modern day speed ladder.  Gets you tired and there ends the use.  Luckily I loved squatting.  I also think I benched three times a week because if it was tested in the NFL combine, it must be important for football players!

I believed this approach (see below video) and most everyone that I knew believed the same.

I also believed something like this would have been useless.

The mentality was lift heavy and lift as much as you could.  Bigger was better.  More weight was better.  Soreness meant you were doing something right.  Puking meant you had a good conditioning workout.   This was pretty much my mentality from 9th grade up till my first shoulder dislocation playing rugby in chiro school.

The problem with this mentality is when you are younger, if you show up, lift hard and keep adding weight to the bar, it works!  It works wonderfully!  But what no one ever told me, was it only works for so long.  There reaches a point of diminishing returns.  At a certain point I was big enough to play college football.  I didn't need to get bigger.  I needed to get more explosive, more dynamic, better conditioned for my sport.   Sometimes success from things you have done in the past is the worst indicator of what should be done next.

Muscle imbalances started to creep in by way of frequently pulling muscles.  The first lower back injury squatting.  Shoulder dislocations from huge shoulder girdle imbalances.  Mobility started to decrease.

In high school and college I'd wake up early to get in another conditioning session.  Sleep wasn't even on my radar as something important.  I wanted to get bigger and sleep was being cut out of the equation.  I wish I could go back and just tell myself,  SLEEP!  Sleep 9-10 hours a night.  It's the biggest anabolic/recovery tool you can have.  Want to get bigger and stronger.  Sleep more.

Football, Track, Rugby and Bobsled have all influenced me somehow from a training perspective, from the people I've met and places I've been.  I wouldn't change the games, I would change my preparation for them.

I feel bad for the kids these days, they are actually in worse shape then my generation.  They have been duped into thinking they will be better athletes from doing one sport.  (The Tiger Woods effect)  They are being sold speed ladders and specialty camps.  I grew up with out any experts, this one is growing up with experts everywhere.  They are being robbed of play and given programs.  When it finally is time to specialize, they are building a pyramid without a base of athleticism or strength.  These pyramids crumble easily.  Hence the fastest growing surgery is pediatric.  Kids are getting hurt more.

So as a parent and speaking to other parents.  Don't worry about the Game.  (Whatever your kid picks) Worry about the lack of play, the lack of movement and variability, the lack of smart training.  Take interest in that.  This I believe is the important part.  

PS.  As a caveat, we have some really smart people I know of that I can direct you toward in Grand Rapids and even across the country.

Friday, July 10, 2015

My Thoughts on Whole30, Diets and Eating

The month of June I embarked on a trial of the Whole30 diet.  It was an interesting experiment.  I say experiment, because I knew from the get go, this wasn't going to be how I eat.  I'll dive into this more a bit later.

First, Whole30 is 30 days of eating no sugar, processed foods, artificial ingredients, bread or dairy.  I was solid except for a few beers (much less then my normal intake) and my raw milk.

I think many people are drawn to this because they have heard so many people talk about weight loss.    I believe it is becoming known for this.  Personally I lost about 8-9 pounds.  So, if this is your measure of success, I guess this diet (way of eating) is successful.

I've blogged before about how I became more attuned with things that have chemicals in them and lost my taste for them.  This I believe is a positive.

I discovered some interesting vegetables that I never knew about.  Kohlrabi being my favorite.  I would cut them up like french fries and bake them.  Delicious.  I plan on keeping the salad habit that we formed.

I realized some things are just as good without bread.  Burgers on lettuce were great.  In fact, I was able to eat more burgers when I kicked the bun to the curb.  Hence, I was trading junk (bread) for more healthy nutrients (burger).  

Now come some negatives.

I was always hungry.  I thought this would be the opposite.  Logic states that if I'm eating more "whole" foods instead of "processed" foods, I should feel fuller.  This was not my case.  I found this to be annoying.

The next point may be coincidence I don't know,  I can't explain it.  My joints felt horrific.  My lower back hurt the whole month.  My right elbow had more pain then normal.  My right knee which doesn't usually bother me a whole lot anymore, had a few weeks of significant discomfort.  These are all old injuries from sports, surgery, torn ligaments etc...

This all could have been coincidence.  But, coincidentally when I went back to eating my normal way, I almost felt 100% immediately.  Hmmm....If I was expecting one thing from this diet, I was thinking my joints would feel better as I've always thought sugar to be a major inflammatory marker.

My energy sucked.  Well, let me explain, my anaerobic power went into the crapper, as did my strength.  I could do life just fine, work, play with the kids, walk.  I felt like I was going to pass out after each rep in a deadlift session.  It wasn't as heavy as I would normally lift as my back didn't quite feel right yet either.  30 minutes into a mountain bike session, after biking up a tough hill, my vision started to narrow.  I had to stop for 5 minutes and suck down a friends carb drink.  This was a ride I should be capable of doing off the couch without issues.

Obviously when you lose weight your caloric intake is less.  Perhaps, if I had matched my old caloric intake with my caloric intake on the Whole30, things would have been different.  As it was, I was eating as much as I could.

The month was good though for a few reasons.  It clarified my thinking on a few topics.  Diet is the only way I think the majority of people will ever lose weight in the U.S.   Before this month I would have leaned more towards exercising.  I'd be more 80/20 food to exercise now.  It seems silly in hindsight, if someone asked me what you would need to do to gain weight, my first response would be eat more.  So why wouldn't my lose weight advice be the opposite?

Your food and eating habits have to fit your lifestyle and beliefs.  I have gravitated towards an intermittent style of eating 4-5 days of the week because it fits my lifestyle so well.  I feel great on it. I believe it follows more of how humans evolved to eat.  Scarcity of food, or out looking for food, then a large meal.  This is one of the few ways of eating that has science and research that improves quite a few health markers.

I think their is a lot of fear based notions with food and eating.  I'm almost ready to say that if your eating or not eating something because of fear you need to really examine where this belief is coming from.  (I think this may be a longer blog post in the future)

Caloric intake is the key in my opinion to gaining or losing weight.  Nothing else.

My body (read MY) responds well to periods of fasting and periods of feasting.  Not much energy coming in and then big booms of energy.  Not much eating for 20 hours and then a pizza.  This is both mentally and physically.  Thinking about what I'm going to eat on the Whole30 was a stress to me.  No thanks!

I'm glad the month was over.  It's alway fun and interesting to explore new ideas, but in the end, find what works for you.  Just because it worked for someone else doesn't mean it's the right way for you.  I don't think there is a correct way to eat,  correct foods to eat, "bad" foods or magic diets.  Pay attention to everything you ingest, regardless if it's a Kale shake or DQ frosty.  Both have merits, eat without stress, eat with a purpose.    

Monday, June 15, 2015

Nic Bartolotta and Dynamic Contraction Technique

Thought this was a pretty solid talk on resistance stretching.  I'd be really interested in trying out his stretching contraption.  Seems legit.

Optimizing Flex-Ability.  This is his presentation.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 12, 2015

How Much of You is You?

"You are just a human shell for 100 trillion bacterial cells."

You have ten to one bacterial cells.  The uniqueness of the bacterial microbiom can not be understated in terms of importance for health.  It influences are vast.

Cesarean babies are more likely to be overweight as adults and deal with more allergies.  All because they miss the mothers helpful microbiom from the birth canal and are now influenced by the her skin.  This can then lead to metabolism and immune system difference later in life.

Being put on antibiotics at a young age can also negatively influence your good microbiom.

When I first saw these commercials by Snickers I thought they were pretty funny.  Now, thinking about them a little deeper, they have some significant insight.

You are what you eat.  We have all heard this, but how many of us believe it.  When you eat sugar and processed foods you are feeding and growing the bad bacteria.  After years, you will crave that "Snickers" bar.  When you don't get it, you can become irritable, tired and or angry.  Is that the real you?

My wife wanted to do the Whole30 program for a month.  Without getting into whether I think this is good or not, the premise is no sugar, artificial ingredients or breads for a month.  (I've simplified my definition)

I would have told you I don't have a lot of of sugar intake, I do like my ice-cream at night, but overall I would have put me on the very low end.  I was shocked by how the lack of sugar in my system affected me the first 4-5 days.

What I found very interesting is I tried drinking a sugar free Rockstar (yea I was going to cheat) I couldn't find coffee and after tasting one sip, spit it out.  It tasted like nothing but chemicals to me.  This is a drink I'd enjoyed every now and then for years.

Could things be changing this fast?

How much of this influence becomes who we are?  Overweight?  Happy?  Depressed?  Focused?  All these attributes have been shown to be highly influenced by the good vs bad bacteria.

Dealing with asthma, allergies, autoimmune problems, and weight issues can have enormous impact on individuals lives.   So much so that they become your life.  How much of this is you and not just your gut's dictating what you are?

Pretty interesting fields of research in all of this.  Realizing the things you like and how you respond to them may be so influenced by bacteria in your gut can be mind blowing.  It's a head trip to say the least, but it's worth exploring and striving for a "healthier" gut of bacteria.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Health of Being Mindful

Mindfulness is a term that is being thrown around a lot in meditative circles.  To some its definition is being "intentional, accepting, non judgmental, focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations in the present moment."

To me, being mindful is making a conscious choice in the moment.  It is the opposite of being on default. (I believe some things have great value in being on default, but that will be a different blog post.) Maybe there is a word that better describes this then being mindful, but I don't know of it.

This type of mindfulness has great benefits to general health and well being.

Some examples of mindfulness are as follows.

Checking Facebook only certain times of day and not allowing a ding or beep to dictate what you are doing.  Choosing exactly what you feed your body.  It doesn't even have to be healthy.  Consciously choosing to eat a doughnut because you truly enjoy it, is I believe much different then eating when you are bored, or eating with guilt,

Knowing why you are buying something.  Books, clothing, electronics, conscious spending is powerful.  Why are you taking this seminar or reading this book?  To learn because you want to, or because you think it will look good?

Choosing what entertainment you enjoy, instead of simply sitting down in front of the TV or in front of some smartphone game.

Giving someone or something your entire focus and energy.  Listening to understand, not just waiting to give your answer.

Having a three year old has helped me immensely in this regard.  They seem to know when you are not PRESENT with them.  They aren't bashful about saying,  "Look at me please,"  "No sit with me."

When diets and budgets work it may be more of learning to be mindful and less about the exact diet or budget.  Wasteful eating and spending is cut out.

As a chiropractor/therapist/coach every person you work with is a chance to practice mindfulness.  Without it, there is little chance to get better and improve at your craft.  Without mindfulness you will  have one years of experience repeated 20 times, not 20 years of experience.

One of the reasons I've really enjoyed the Functional Range system is that palpation is taught with high precision.  Palpation of anatomy and feeling for tension, forces mindfulness.  Mindfulness to me will lead to me being a better therapist.

Mindfulness promises less stress and more enjoyment out of each situation.  This has solid research behind it.

The practice of mindfulness will be hard at first.  But like most things, the more you practice the better you get at it.  I think it will help carve away the minutia of what's really important vs what is just easily available and accessible.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Dosages of Life

Sitting in a seminar this past weekend my mind began to wander about different principles that one encounters as you are introduced to new information or information presented in a different way.  I also started to think about what are some principles that I believe will never change.  One that I came up with is this, "Life is all about the correct dosage."

As a coach or therapist, you basically go to school or learn to apply the right dosage.  Knowing when to give a patient more pressure, less pressure, more therapy, less therapy.  How much, how often.  Coaches do the same thing.  More work load, less work load.  To give a cue, or let the athlete figure it out.  Work or rest is still dosage.

Medicine is crucial to get the right dosage correct.

What makes you better in one dose can make you sick or hurt in the next.  Caffeine can be a wonderful thing in the morning.  Triple shot of espresso an hour before bed may not be a great idea.

Some alcohol has been shown to be pretty healthy, even healthier then total avoidance.  To much alcohol is not healthy at all.

Fasting is a type of dosage.

There are times when I hear my youngest crying and my oldest asking me to play some game and I wish I could have some alone time.  Not having seen them for 3 days, I can't wait to have that "problem" again.

Osteoporosis is a disease of inadequate loading.  They don't get the right dosage of load on the bone.

Not enough sun and you can get rickets, to much sun and you may get melanoma.

To much stress can lead to all kinds of chronic disease and issues.  Not enough stress, you would never grow.  Your body doesn't get better or function like a human by not doing stuff.  It needs the right dosage of movement every day.

Sleep is a dosage.

As we grow older or do more in our life/profession, perhaps all we are doing is getting better at learning what dosage to give out, to accept, to chase, to recommend, to treat and to coach.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

11 Things That Annoy Me

1.  Products like Valsliders that sell for 30 bucks a pair.  These are furniture movers.  4 pack for 12 bucks at Amazon or Bed/bath and beyond.  ( I actually highly recommend them for patients as they can be used for lots of different exercises.)

2.  Marketing a myofascial release ball for 40 bucks because it has special grabby things on it.  It splits in half in a few weeks.  (have seen this)  5 dollar softball heater works just as well if not better.

3.  Still angry about 47 dollar ebooks.

4.  There seems to be like a group of 10 or so trainers that all recommend each others products.

5.  Being asked to send information, articles, or recommendations.  After following up and realizing like maybe 5% ever do anything with the information,  I developed a new policy.  I have them send me an email requesting whatever information they are looking for.  It puts accountability in their hands and I have a written reminder.  Maybe 1 out of 10 people ever send the email.  This tells me it wasn't that important and would have been a waste of my time.

6.  People asking for nutrition advice but can't tell me how many calories they ingest in a day or who balk at a food journal for a week.

7.  People who think coffee is unhealthy.  :)

8.  Anyone trying to convince me of an amazing supplement that changed their life, juices seem to be a craze for awhile.  Noni, cactus juice derivative, acai, pomegranate, zia, mona vie, juice plus, and every other 40 dollar dollar out there.

9.  That a workout needs to crush you for it to be a good workout.  "It really gets you sweating."  "I was so sore."  "It was a puker."

10.  Athletes that don't think they need rest days.

11.  Cable TV cost.

I'm sure this list will grow as this is whats in my head while I'm drinking some fine Ethiopian coffee. So part 2 in the future!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Functional Range Release the 2nd Time Through

Just because you have taken a technique class before doesn't mean you can't take it again.  I think some people just need permission to know that.

I've always budgeted education into my expenses.  I enjoy going to seminars and meeting other therapists.  Talking about how they incorporate different techniques or ideas into their practice is always beneficial. The ultimate is finding a seminar and being able to incorporate the techniques into Mondays patients.  

Functional Range always delivers on both sides. 

It's been a few weeks now since I retook FRR Upper in Chicago.  (I had already taken all of them)

I looked over my notes from the first Upper and the latest Upper I attended.  Very few were even remotely the same.  This tells me I was paying attention to different things, was hearing things differently or found new insight along the way.  

How many of us have rewatched a movie or reread a book and picked out cool new angles or ideas?

Same concept.  

On a practical side, I can always get better at palpation of anatomy, finding tension, touch and movement.  Your patient or athlete are not going to be able to tell you that you aren't on the triceps long head anymore or that the tension you are creating isn't matching the tension in the tissue.  Key concepts. 

After practicing for a year, I knew what areas of anatomy I wasn't as efficient at finding quickly and differentiating easily.  Time is money.  The quicker I find and treat, the more I get to treat, the better my patient outcomes.  

So the 2nd time around really let me practice "harder" on certain areas. 

I really recommend retaking a course in your future.  I think you will find even more value as an FRR practitioner.  Mastery is a journey.   

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mechanics of Throwing

Part of the importance of human development wasn't just running, but throwing.  Pretty interesting concept.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Road Trip Learning

I just arrived to Chicago to learn and get better at a Functional Range Release Seminar.  It takes me about 3.5 hours from Grand Rapids, MI where I live.  This means it was time to catch up on some podcasts!

First up was Will Chung on Shelby Starnes Blue Collar Radio.  I got some nice ideas about "perpetual motion" training.

Finished up a Charlie Weingroff interview on the Strength Coach Podcast.  Big takeaway or more of a reminder was this, "Everything is either a warm up or cool down,  something to make you move better, or something to make you a monster."

GMB fitness latest podcast was with Dr. Andreo Spina, (who is actually teaching the course I'm currently traveling to attend)  Good stuff on what it actually means to have healthy human joints.  What does being healthy mean?

Got about an hour into this Joe Rogan Podcast with Josh Barnett.  Pretty solid so far.

You listening to anything good lately?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Donald Ingber - Biologically Inspired Engineering - Organs on a Chip!

This is an amazingly inspiring video if you are a manual therapist.  Tensegrity and cellular mechanics.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dashrath Manjhi - The Man Who Broke A Mountain Alone

I've been in the midst of moving my office this last few weeks.  So many things to do.  So much stuff to move.  Has to be done.  How do you eat an elephant?  Bite by bite.  This video makes me think it is not all that bad.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mental Shift: There is No Z in Craftsmanship

We as human beings by default are end goal beasts.  We look into the future and extrapolate where we want to be.  We think once I get there, I'll be done.  I started at A, I just hit Z, I'm done. 

I finally made it.

As a young professional it may have been graduation was your Z.  Then you realized it was having your own practice became the Z.  Then perhaps your Z was a certain income.  I know people whose Z is several practices.

Z can be many things to different people.  

Z is marriage, it is kids, it's is kids in college, it's a certain age when you get to retire, it is a 5k time, it  is qualification.  

I was always interested in being better at my craft of Chiropractic/Therapy/Strength Coach.  I think deep down I thought at a certain point, I'd be really good and then I'd be done.  I'd take this seminar, keep reading and I'd be great and be done learning.  I'd learn from this guy, practice, practice practice and I'd be where I want to be.  

Craftsmanship doesn't have a Z. 

 This is my realization.  I will always read, I will always take seminars.  This is not done anymore to get to a point I think of down the road.  It's done to keep learning.  It's enjoyable to know that there is no end.  You can always learn and get better.  When I finally had the mental shift that I'm not after Z but I'm after getting better at my craft,  a light bulb went off.  There is a certain freedom in the kaizen principle of a little bit better every day, versus, I need to learn this to get to Z. 

I'm not at all implying that goals are not important.  But, usually goals are in a  subset of your craft.  Running a fast 5k may be a goal, but the craftsmanship is running.  Realize this or you may not run long, or a bad 5k time may be depressing or you may sacrifice the craft for the sake of a goal.  

Don't Sacrifice Craftsmanship for Goals

It can be easy to run through an injury.  You hit your 5k, but can't run for 3 months now.  I can get to X number of patients quickly if I sell fear, but you didn't build a practice, you got quick numbers for dollars.  

I'm retaking a seminar in a month called Functional Range Release.  I've taken all of them.  A few years ago, I wouldn't have.  It would have become a check mark of things I have accomplished.  I think I will gain great value in this.  They don't require a "get certified every year" thing either.  (HOW DO I LOATH THIS PRACTICE)  It will simply be me pursuing craftsmanship to get a little better.  

Be thankful that there is no Z.  What a boring place in life and job that would be if it existed.  

Friday, March 20, 2015


I'm enjoying this series.  I think Mark Bell offers some great advice for business owners and people with ideas.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mongolian Judo Secrets: What We Can Learn.

I found this video reading an article from RossTraining.  Always highly interesting to see how foreign athletes train.  Sometimes it isn't sexy or high tech.  Sometimes it is straight brutal hard work, lifestyle and mental hunger to be the best.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Genetic and Epigenetic Information

Every other Sunday I tend to go through my Evernote app and see what I have saved because I read or listened to something and think it is worthy to keep track of or I save something to go back and read it when I have more time.  ( I love the Evernote app)

Here are a few I think worthwhile, for some reason, this week was all about Epigentics/Genetics. 

Epigenetic topic has always fascinated me since I first heard about the topic a few years ago.  This was an enjoyable podcast on the Breaking Muscle Site.  Understanding the Impact of Epigenetics.

This article in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine is called, "The Dawning Age of Genetic Testing for Sports Injuries."  This article goes into detail about how potentially a few genes may predispose you to perhaps a soft tissue injury.  

Do you see what I did there?  I got you learning about epigenetics, followed up on a paper about genetics.  Epi- mean over or above.  So the individual is in control even when they are predisposed to a certain profile.  

The topic about how our grandparents have influence us is fascinating to me.  How you live influenced your grandkids that are not born yet...potentially.  This article in Scientific American, "Descendents of Holocaust Survivors Have Altered Stress Hormones, presents some really interesting information in the practical sense of how potentially big epigenetics and genetics play a roll in our health.  

Enjoy a solid end to your weekend.  Plan the week.  Enjoy your family.   Move well and Move often.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Manual Therapy to Strength and Conditioning

As a manual therapist/chiropractor people come to see me for such a variance of issues that it hard to pinpoint any issue that you see more then another.  The bottom line is they are usually in pain or aren't able to perform an activity to the level they desire.

I believe being a strength and conditioning coach is a great lens to view these patients/athletes in.  Strong covers up a multitude of sins.  Not all of them, but a lot of them.  Strength will improve mobility issues.  It will improve overuse injuries.

So every patient and athlete I treat is being viewed from these two lenses.  Therapy and Strength and Conditioning.

The problem then lies in the tricky navigation of being only their therapist and not their strength coach.

How much information should be given?  How much advice should be offered?  How blunt?

This can be a tough pill to swallow at times and you as the therapist will risk losing the patient I believe, but at the end of the day, if what you believe isn't being stated, you risk more.

If you have a patient with flexion intolerant lower back pain and they love their bootcamp with crunches, sit ups, a squat that looks like they are just doing round backed good mornings, then your chance of success with this patient is minuscule if the negative input isn't changed.  You have to advise them to substitute appropriate exercise or find a new type of class.

If you can't raise your hands above your head, you don't have the prerequisites to overhead press, let alone catch an Olympic Snatch.  That's why your shoulder hurts.  Advise as such.

The even trickier minefield is when they come in and they have their own strength coach that they are paying.  I ask them what they are doing for "training," and sometimes I'm inwardly just shaking my head.  These I don't usually say anything unless I'm specifically asked.  Then I'm brutally honest.

I've had endurance athletes be prescribed a prescription of 100 meter sled sprints because they needed a power workout because they got "out kicked" at the last race.  Now there feeling some knee pain.

An important thing to note is to not just take exercises away but to substitute better ones.  We often hear the story, "Doc it hurts when I run."  Doc, "Then don't run anymore." I often take away situps/crunches, but integrate Palloff presses and side planks.  I may take a bilateral squat away as we work on hip mechanics and substitute RFESS.  I may advise heavier snatch pulls and not a full snatch until the Tspine and GH mobility is present.  Instead of full ROM deadlifts, pulling for a 6"blocks.

At the end of the day, I think the right thing to do is the right thing to do.  People are their for your expertise as much as your skills.  Treat them like you would want to be treated, advise them like you would want to be advised.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Review of Hacking the Hinge with Charlie Weingroff and Mark Cheng

Anytime I spend money on a product, I'm satisfied if I've learned one or two things that I think I will be able to use with my patients that I treat or coach.  From this criteria, the video Hacking the Hinge with Charlie Weingroff and Mark Cheng was a worthwhile investment.  It is available as a digital download or DVD from Movement lectures.

Investment.  Spending time and money to get better.  This was worth my money and my time.  30 dollars and 2.5 hours later.  I've a page of notes and few more ways to gain entry points when coaching the hinge.

Why is the hinge so important?

It is the basis for athletic movement.  The basis for lifting.  The basis for getting strong!  Deadlifts, kettlebell swings, squatting are all based off a great hip hinge.  Hip hinge saves the lumbar spine, which means a great hinge can mean getting people out of back pain.

I thought I was pretty good at coaching the hinge, the deadlift and the swing.  I feel I'm a lot better now.

3 Perspectives of Movement.
1. Biomechanical
2. Neuromuscular
3.  Neurodevelopmental

These are covered as are some strategies to look at it for each.   How does a toe touch and straight leg raise relate to what is happening in the hinge?  You need 54 degrees of forward flexion from the spine.  High threshold activities will work but they come at a cost and are not ideal.  Do you have the joint ROM to achieve proper positions.

Feet turned out is a neurodevelopment position.  Fastest dudes in the world run this way.  Laying on the ground with the feet turned out is relaxing for the brain and breathing.  Good stuff.

 Some one liners that will get you thinking.
It is all about putting the body in the right position to absorb and adapt to stress.
Respect the neck.  If it is not in the ideal position your mobility work won't take.
A kettlebell swing is a ballistic deadlift.

As a trainer or a coach you won't be disappointed.  As an athlete you will have two of the best teaching you the basis for a better hip hinge, which is the basis for getting brutally strong.  I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Thoughts on Muscle Testing

When I first was in chiropractic school I was exposed to Applied Kinesiology and thought it was pretty cool.  The basic muscle testing seemed really interesting and valuable to me.  Kendal and Kendal in the orthopedic world was the gold standard in text books for muscle testing.  There seemed to be certain positions that would "isolate" the muscles and provide feedback if they were "strong."

I put quotes on the words isolate and strong for a reason.  We know now that isolation of muscles is pretty much impossible.  You can't test your quad without the hamstring firing to support them as an example.  You don't contract your biceps without the bracialis being used as well as the triceps and even further away like the lat.  Dynamic systems theory states that with each time you test a muscle you are most likely not even testing the same fibers.

You then bring in bias by the tester.  Some are great testers and don't help, but as a therapist we all want to get people better, subconsciously we must assume we retest differently.

I took a course called NKT awhile back and found some value in the methods.  I still use a few of the tests.  Knowing what we know about isolation I get confused every now and then about what I'm actually testing.  5 years ago, I would have said I'm testing your glute medius for example.  Can your strength resist adduction.  1 year ago, nI would have said I'm testing your position not a muscle.  Can those muscles in that area produce stability.

Lately, I'm thinking I am simply asking the body what tension is the brain paying attention to in the position the joint is placed in.  If I put the hip into abduction but there is so much tension in the quadriceps, then not enough neural drive is happening into the muscles that can resist adduction.  The brain can only find the quadriceps which can't generate the requisite force to resist adduction.

Take some tension away from the quads and you have a window of opportunity to retrain the hip as an example.  (This is not always the case, just an example.)

I go back and for the with the value I find in muscle testing.  I firmly believe that a person should be able to lock in any joint under testing.  It just seems correct.  But, I also think you are not really testing muscles.  Therapists can have doubts.

The key to all of this to me is gaining that window of opportunity.  Using it to train a load bearing exercise after a therapy session or a rolling session.  Hundreds of repetitions.   Taking tension away from one area to gain better access to another.

This was more of a personal post then anything else.  I wonder if any other therapists have these thoughts?

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Day With Chris Duffin

Here are a couple resources for learning about and from Chris Duffin.  Great stuff.  It's hard not to learn a little something (or a lot) from listening to Chris talk.

Episode 34: Whiskey and Deadlifts.  Podcast from Strength Matters.

This Youtube video he talks to legendary powerlifter Ed Coan.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Weekend Reading For Your Enjoyment

This is some highlights of things I've read that are worth taking a look into. Grab some coffee and enjoy!

 I was preparing a mobility talk for some cancer survivors when I came across these gems.  First, 65% of Cancer Survivors Don't Meet National Exercise Recommendations.    This is a big deal.  2.5 hours of light activity and 1.5 hours of vigorous activity in a week make up the recommendations.  Those that meet this requirement have a 30-40% greater survival rate.  Huge.

This paper talks about the potential mechanism of the increase in survival.  There is a hormone called Isirin that is produced after vigorous exercise.  Discovered in 2012, it has highly anti cancer properties and keeps the cancer from spreading.  They think it's potential mechanism is by anti inflammation.  Exercise Hormone May Offer Cancer Protection.

Thousands of calf strains later, perhaps barefoot isn't exactly the way to go when you have worn shoes your whole life and you run on sidewalks.  This paper explores that not all barefoot populations run on their forefoot.  Speed, surface and individual variability play a roll.  Variation in Foot Strike Patterns in Barefoot Populations.  

I had a pretty cool patient interaction that is using high dose Melatonin for its anti inflammation capabilities concerning the CNS.  Very cool paper.  Anti-inflammatory Activity of Melatonin in the Central Nervous System.

This is an excellent article that has tremendous value on loading and using your tendons for health and healing.  Gone are the days of just taking NSAIDS.  Throw Away Antiinflammatories and Start Loading Your Damaged Tendons. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2014 Games Documentary

Thought this was a pretty enjoyable documentary.  The steroid riff about 15 min in was laughable, but one well.  Still kinda cool.

2014 Games Documentary

Thought this was a pretty enjoyable documentary.  The steroid riff about 15 min in was laughable, but one well.  Still kinda cool.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Why You Should Be Angry About Your Food/Food Advice

This past week there have been several articles written about health and food.  But, more importantly, they exposed a problem, dishonesty.  First, with the attention grabber headline, "We Now Know How Many People Will Get Cancer From Soda."

Normally, these kind of headlines I find annoying.  Fear based stuff, irks me.  But, this one was different.  There is an ingredient called 4-Mel, that is for a Carmel color, that when present in large enough doses is a cancer carcinogen.  Pepsi products appear to be the worse.  It stays "under" dangerous levels when you only drink one can.  Drink more, your playing with fire.


It doesn't change the flavor.  I'm sure people don't know that their cancer risk increases.  Soda just keeps getting worse and worse for you.  This is the PLOS ONE article:  Caramel Color in Soft drinks and Exposure to 4-Mel:  Risk Assessment. 

This article in NY Time, "The Governments Bad Dietary Advice," sums up what many people have known for awhile, their advice is garbage, and at times dangerous.  They have officially changed position about the evils of fat.  They have relaxed their cholesterol guidelines.  My question is this, how many people have got put on a Statin drug because their Cholesterol numbers were dangerous?

Many of my patients that get put on a Statin have decreased energy and many complain of joint pain.  What happens when you have decreased energy and a joint hurts?  You move less.  What happens when you move less?  You are less healthy!

The only thing I didn't like about the article is that it goes on an anti-carb direction towards the end.  Don't be afraid of carbs.  I'm just a little angry at all the fear put out their in diets and food advice and all the junk that is out there needlessly in our foods.

First move well, then move often.  Eat whole foods, drink water, tea and coffee.  Don't be afraid of any macro nutrient. Eat as many colors as you can, everyday.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Time and Attitude

Just a quick thought on this photo I found.  I've noticed a weakness about myself where I get frustrated when I have to give up my "freetime" to take care of life chores. 

Going to try to just be grateful for the time I get doing things I love, where ever  and whenever they appear. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Good Stuff for the Midweek

This video just makes me want to keep learning.  I must have listened to this 5x.

This is an awesome paper on the importance of the intrinsic foot muscles.  Getting a nice comparison to how our intrinsic back muscles work with lumbopelvic control.  The Foot Core System.

One more reason to be doing kettlebell swings.  They help to improve the stability of the lower back.
The top portion of the kettlebell swing is a standing plank.  Remember that.  Optimizing Back Health with KB Swings. 

"Don't put moral judgements on any exercise."  Dan John.

Monday, February 16, 2015

How to Get Worse Results in Racing

I've been around a few athletes that get afforded the opportunity to cut back on life stress either by working less or a new position that gives a lot more freedom in terms of time.  To a tee, most end up producing less then the results they did when they were working full time.

The thinking goes that if I work less I can train more and get better results.  They look at some sponsored athletes that don't have to do the 9-5/5days a week and think they can produce similar results if they get rid of the 40 hour work week.

It usually doesn't happen.

Here is the thing.  You find the time to train.  You get done what needs to get done.  This then is the trap with more time on your hands.  You train more.  More doesn't equal better.  You are adding to your training stress.

Pro's recover.  Amateurs train "harder."

I first noticed this when I'd go and live at an Olympic Training center in my days with bobsled.  You would literally be so bored that you would wander to the weight room and start lifting.  Instead of combining your lift with your sprint session in an hour 45 min, you would create 2 training sessions just to brake up the monotony of the day.

Some people can't handle the "free time."  They feel the need to be doing more.  When they don't, they feel the stress of inactivity.  They don't really understand or appreciate recovery.  They give it word of mouth, but if pressed, deep down they don't believe in it.

So they fit more training sessions in.

Instead, they should be getting 9-10 hours of sleep per night.  They should be getting 30-90 minute nap in every day.  They should be food prepping so every meal is nutritionally sound.  They should be doing mobility and recovery work.

This is done so that those workouts they were already doing are carried out to the maximal.  They create optimization.  This is how you get better results.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Quality Podcast for the Weekend: Tom Furman Interview

I always enjoy the information that Tom Furman puts out.  I really enjoyed his new book "Bamboo Gods."
Here he was interviewed for the Rob Wolf Podcast.  I like the common sense wisdom, creativity and entertainment he brings.  Enjoy!
Rob Wolf with Tom Furman.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Attitude and Emotion

"I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions.  I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them."
Oscar Wilde. 

I like routines.  I think they make me productive.  I think they give me freedom.  Rules bring freedom.  When you know what you can't do, you know what you can do.  Knowing what you can do allows creativity, fun, enjoyment and variety.

My problem I've realized is that I keep trying to ignore new rules.  This leaves me frustrated and angry. Both I believe lead to self pity.

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.  A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.
D.H. Lawrence

That leaves you weak and stagnant.  Loathing the new rules.  I'm a slow adapter to life change.  I know this about myself.  I spend to much time bemoaning my newest "time stealer" instead of adapting to the new routine.  With my mindset in self pity, I'm also losing all the freedom that can come from playing with the new rules.

The last of humans freedoms -to Choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstance, to choose one's own way. 
Viktor E. Frankl

An awesome therapist in Canada named Jeff Cubos put up a quote by Viktor E Frankl last week and it reminded me of his great book "Mans Search for Meaning."  This book I think should be read every couple years for the simple reminder about choosing your attitude.  If there ever was a man to be angry about circumstance and right fully so, he is on the list.  A Holocaust survivor.  That should explain most everything about what he had to endure.

"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."
Viktor E. Frankl

I'm not sure if I will ever be great at the whole concept of the quotes I posted.  That's probably not the point though, it is to be better today then yesterday.  To dominate emotion, choose my attitude and play within the rules.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Some Random Awesomeness

This is a cool podcast interview.  Chris Duffin seems like the real deal.  Enjoyed this.
The Mad Scientist of Power lifting.  This was brought to you by Super Strength Show.

We need to invest in our kids ability to play and have genuine recess again.  Great article.
How Schools Ruined Recess.

The more I learn about Finland, the more I want to visit.  Sisu is a theme I've explored before.  Say what you mean, don't fake small talk, enjoy your coffee.  5 Bad American Habits. 

Greg Nuckols wrote more about women athletes and the menstrual cycle.  The Menstrual Cycle and Athletes. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Advice to the Young Chiropractic Student

This is a pep talk for all the young chiropractic students out there.  Stuff I wish I had been told or had realized at an earlier time.

If you were like me, you went to chiro school because you had a great experience with a chiropractor and wanted to do the same for other people.  There was the bonus of being your own boss and not taking orders from someone.   You go to school and quickly realize, what is all this science stuff?  Histology, embryology, what the hell man.  This stuff is stupid.  Man teach me to move some bones around!

Your first year is crammed with classes you find useless.  You take them to learn stuff for a board exam.  The stuff on the board exam is so out there, the chances of you needing that information are few and far between.  What is the rate limiting step of the Krebs Cycle?  All you want to do is learn to move a bone.

So you join every stupid club imaginable.  2nd trimester students spending their free time setting up on people and learning about different techniques.   You feel like your falling behind because your buddy adjusted C2 before you and your other buddy is taking an extremity seminar.  Your still having trouble palpating C2 in your spare time.   Man will I ever move a bone?

By the time chiro school is finishing the science is behind you.  Your working on people and still worried your not going to be able to move bones well.  What if I can't move a bone and people are paying me?

During this period, you yourself are getting adjusted by every other person in school.  You probably are getting adjusted 3x a week.  If you didn't have a neck problem going into school, you have one now.

A funny thing happens from first day to graduation day though, the value of an adjustment goes down in your thought process.  You get it for free, constantly.  It is being devalued.  Don't let it get devalued to you.  A proper adjustment when needed is still a powerful tool.  It is worth paying for.

You graduate school and wonder if your good enough to start a business.  Will people really pay me to work on them?  How does this insurance stuff work?  What if no one shows up?

You decide to take an associate job.  You will make 30,000 dollars working 45 hours a week, making your employer 100,000 dollars.  Don't take an associateship.  Don't be fooled about the 25% bonus after you see 100,000 of net income.  Don't take an associateship.  But, there are two reasons to take one, you don't know if you like the city and want to see if you like living there.  Reason two, the guy you would be working for is a great teacher and you will leave or stay having learned a lot of stuff.

Learning.  School is all backwards.  They should teach you how to adjust from day one.  That is all you care about anyways.  Bring the science later on.  When you care about why things are working.

Don't worry about grades,  A's or C's.  Pass your boards, but learn your craft.  Learn.  Invest in your learning constantly.   You may not have a lot of money, but their are so many free things out there now that it is not an excuse to not be learning.

Having your own business isn't easy.  You are often the marketer, the biller, the scheduler, the janitor and insurance rep all rolled into one.  You have to hustle to meet people.  Sitting in your office hoping people show up generally doesn't work.  There is no security in owning your own business.  Hence, the associateship path many take, but there is freedom.  Don't trade your freedom for security.  Two years down the rode you will be like, why am I still here.  It is scary opening your own business, but nothing great was ever created without overcoming fear.

Give people your best.  Have great intention.  You got into chiropractic to help people.  Not sell them a health plan. Speaking of selling a health plan, don't get involved with those chiropractic business advisors.  Why pay someone 600-1000 dollars a month to tell you your worth it, go ahead and charge 3-4 grand for insurance plan.  Come on man.   Would you want your mom treated that way?

Get a great accountant.  Let them do the taxes and tell you what to save and when to pay.

Keep your overhead ridiculously low.  No one cares if you have the latest gadgetry.  If your table has more bells and whistles then your car you have a problem.  Chiro means, by hand.  Get good with your hands.  At the end of the day, realize this, with a small room and a simple table I can help people and practice my craft.   The rest is just frosting.  No one stays for the frosting.

If you are bored you are doing it wrong.  Don't be a widget guy.  You invested to much time and money to become a widget guy.  Anyone can screw a screw into the widget.  Everyone is unique, develop your tool box so that not everyone gets the same treatment.

Develop your treatment philosophy.  This is much different then a "treatment plan."  The philosophy should be what you want to accomplish with everyone that steps into your doors for help and how you go about evaluating that.  Have a system.

Enjoy your time in school.  It goes fast.  Learn as much as you can about as many different things as you can.  When you start your own place, try not to worry about the patients you don't have, create the best possible interaction with the patients you do have.  Be a problem solver.  It never gets old and never goes out of style.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Restoring Occipital Glide

One of the main things I see common with neck pain and lack of movement in the neck is the loss of occipital glide in the cervical spine.  If we view the Occiput as the top, C1 is a circular ring of bone that sits underneath.  When there is no longer free motion of flexion, extension, rotation and lateral bending, motion has been compromised.

The ability to have the combination of these movements becomes apparent when you passively move the occiput back and forth.  There is often a restricted side and loss of flexion is the norm now with staring at computer screens and smart phones for hours a day.

When true motion becomes restricted we start to have to much rotation at segments below.  This can create muscular attachments at these segments to become tense.  Think levator scapulae and scalenes.

Restoring Occipital glide in many instances neurologically relaxes these muscles.

For the person being treated, working on keeping flexion in the occiput becomes something that should be focused on.  Picture a string that is being pulled straight up from the top of your head with a very slight chin tuck.  After you hold that position for a few minutes, keep that tall spine and slightly rotate about 20 degrees back and forth.

Occipital freedom plays a big role in how the cervical spine moves.  Address it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Learning to Eat Color for Your Mitochondria and Brain

These are some of my notes from a lecture from Dr. Deanna Minich, Phd.  "Brain Nutrition and Mitochondrial Health."

Foods have energy that we use.  Healthier foods give more.  Eating sub quality food will lead to premature aging.  These are the signs.
1.  Inflammation.  Any type is considered aging.  New term, infla-aging.  Many times undetected.
2.  Pain.  Inflammation has to be present for there to be pain.
3.  Not able to eat foods you used to be able to.
4.  Lack of energy.
5.  Muscle mass loss.
6.  Muddled thinking and lack of concentration.
7.  Worsening eyesight.
8. Loss of elasticity of tone in the skin.
9. Graying, lackluster hair.

Put a lot of focus on eating "Color."  Most people have a phytonutrient gap.  It's not all about the macronutrients.
69% fall short in GREEN
78% fall short in RED
86% fall short in Purple/Blue
79% fall short in YELLOW/ORANGE
The average person consumes only 3.6 servings of fruits and veggies per day.


Phytonutrients have physiological location and specificity and have both structure and function. For example, Lutein for the macula and vision.  Anthocyanin's for brain and cognition.
Phytonutrients communicate messages to cell networks.  They protect the brain with antioxidants.

It's not all about the Carbs/Fats and Protein.  Focus on getting quality/diverse/frequent color and most diets clean right up.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fun Videos with Quality Information

Movement with Ido Portal.

Strong women doing Strong "men" lifting.

STRONGWOMEN from bammlondon on Vimeo.

Fungi kingdom is amazing.  Looking forward to learning more about this in 2015.

Friday, January 9, 2015

How to Keep Your Fascia Healthy

How To Have Healthy Fascia: Anatomy Trains Austra…:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Breathing, Health and Headaches

I've taken two of the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) seminars last year.  I really like some of the concepts that are covered and valued how they made me look at things at a different angle.  Each course has close to 100 different exercise and variance of a concept.  One of the exercises I continually use is blowing up a balloon.  It's a nice external cue for using your diaphragm and abdominal wall and creating a full exhale.

I'm continually surprised at how some people have the inability to actually blow up a balloon.  They haven't breathed properly in years.  They mouth breath.  Taking air in through the mouth is junk air.  It's the equivalent of eating junk food.  You can survive, but you will get sicker/weaker over the years.

One of the correlations I see with the inability to breath well is a propensity to headaches, whether of the migraine or tension related type.  Now, I'm at all saying learning to breath will get rid of migraine headaches.  Please don't read into that.  But, it's a been an interesting observation.  There has been a reduction of the severity and frequency because of better breathing though.

A few reasons for the potential improvement.

1.  Reduced tension throughout the scalene musculature.  There exists an anterior, middle and posterior scalene.  These are accessory breathing muscles and stabilizers.  When we shallow breath, read breath up, (take a breath in and shoulders raise towards your ears) these muscles get chronically tight.  Imagine doing a bad repetition of an exercise 20,000 times.  This tension can create a lot of compression on the brachial plexus underneath the scalene.  It can create stiffness in the front/side of the neck that makes movement much more difficult.

2.  Reduced oxygen consumption at a chronic capacity.  Never really read about the rate of decreased O2, but I rationalize that chronic decrease has to have a detrimental effect on tissue quality and well being.

3.  Rib rotation occurs with breathing.  Inhale has internal rotation, exhale has external rotation.  We breath in better then we breath out.  In the west we don't measure or teach a long exhale.  Because of this we have locked internally rotated ribs.  This can lead to ribs that jut towards the ceiling when laying on your back instead of pointing towards your pelvis.  Weaker anterior core strength which potentially can create more psoas tension.  Psoas tension has tremendous attachments into the diaphragm.  Now we start a negative feedback loop of tension and breathing.

Breathing ladder type exercises after you have established a diaphragmatic pattern are an excellent tool to cement this in.  My personal favorite are kettle bell swings.  Swing it, set it down and take one breath in and out.  2 swings, 2 breaths.  Work up to 10 and back down to 1.  You will be tempted to really grab some quick cheap air, resist this urge.  Only through the nose and out through the mouth.  Can make this how you recover between your different sets of exercises as well.

Commit to breathing well and see how your health improves.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Book Review: freestyle

I was somewhat skeptical when I had heard about the book "freestyle" by Carl Paoli.  I assumed it was just another book about some "crossfit" style stuff and would lack much substance.  I was wrong.  Freestyle is a very good breakdown of a few basic moves.

Carl builds the book on 4 basic movements.  The pistol, the handstand push up, the muscle up and the  burpee.   Where I think the book shines is several different progressions for each.  Some are very creative and I can't wait to try them out.  For example, the use of bands around the waist to take some bodyweight off as you proceed to attempt a handstand off paralette bars.

I believe the book "Overcoming Gravity"  does a little better job of breaking down some progressions for things like front levers better, but this has better visuals in terms of real human pictures.  The book is massive.  I think there is to much writing.  That may be more my "pet peeve" then anything though.  I just want the info.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  This book, you get the picture and the thousand words.

If your goal is to master one of these four moves or you want to be able to help someone achieve better movements in these 4 exercises, then it's worth your money.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Mushroom Power

Paul Stamets talk really blew me away.  I've always known that mushrooms are healthy for us.  Anti viral, anti microbial and anti bacterial.  The info at the end about its power against the flu, brings real interest that in the future this may indeed be a real flu solution.  This is pretty amazing talk.  Now, if there was only a way I liked eating mushrooms!  I've tried blending them up into shakes with some pretty dire outcomes.

Friday, January 2, 2015

What is an Athlete?

I'm a big believer that everyone at the heart of it can be an athlete.  Obviously, not everyone can be a great athlete, but everyone can use their body.  That is my definition of an athlete, "The ability to use the body you have been given for the physical task at hand."

Everyone has a different task perhaps in mind.  I always correct people when they tell me they are not athletic in my clinic.  Do you enjoy doing things with your body?  Running, walking, biking, playing with your kids...that is being an athlete.  You don't have to compete at a sport.  You don't have to break world records.

One of my favorite things is helping someone that never considered themselves to be an athlete, discover the love of doing something with their body.  Lot of times, I meet them after the fact.  They have discovered the enjoyment of pushing themselves physically.  (They pushed to hard, or didn't have a clue on training)

Helping them get back to doing what they have a new love for is very satisfying.

Part of the process is though is getting them to understand that this is part of being an athlete.  OVERCOMING.

It's great to line up for a race feeling perfect, having had perfect training, perfect weather.  This is few and far between though.  When the stars align as I say.

Most of them time, you have had to piece meal training.  Injuries, sickness, family, work stress all take a toll. Sometimes you line up with so much doubt about your physical self.  Will my knee hold up, will my calf make it, will that pesky low back keep quite?  It's to cold, it's to hot, it's to windy.

This is also part of being an athlete.  Dealing with the unknown.

Embrace it all.  Embrace the rehab.  Fighting to get back to doing what you love.  Doing boring and monotonous drills.  Resting.  How hard is it for some people to rest!  Rest takes discipline.  If all this is done correctly you can actually come back stronger, better.

You will never regret exploring your athletic side.  It will require a price.  But, that price is far cheaper then leaving that athletic side on the shelf, rusted and never used.

"A ship is safe in the harbor, but that is not what ships are made for."
William G.T. Shedd

This year I hope you explore your athletic side.