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Body Awareness

Body Awareness involves Body Image as well as Proprioception.

Body Image,
is the picture of yourself you see in your head. The majority of people need to work on creating a healthier body image. It is unfortunate but we live in a society where ‘Image’ is important. I agree it is, but a “Healthy” body image is what we are after.

Proprioception,
is your physical body’s ability to feel. People often need work with this too, much of balance comes from your ability to ‘feel’ your centre of mass over your feet.

Improving these,
will enhance your life. Realize ‘You’ are your body & mind. Health in one carries benefits over to the other. Strengthening your proprioception and body image will lead only to a better You.

HOW?

  • Body Scan
    – scan your body head-toe, joint by joint – – just ‘feeling’ what state your body is in right now.
  • Visualization
    – imagine standing in front of a mirror, or imagine a specific body part. In your mind, You are in control – shape your image to reflect your goals.
  • Ideally Both Together!
    – imagining performing the movement while actually performing the movement …. very Meta!

This is an important topic, but very rarely talked about.

The truth is, with as little as 5 minutes of practice a day, you can make huge strides in improving your movement and your quality of life.

All it takes is actually doing that ‘practice’!!! = You must COMMIT to it.

There are just over 90 days left in this year, what are you going to do with them?

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Keeping The Blade Sharp

“Keeping The Blade Sharp” is a practice I embrace as a StrongFirst Instructor.

  • It means practicing what I preach and not letting my own training go to the wayside as I get busier with new clients.
  • It allows me to stay in touch with the experience that I am putting my athletes through.
  • It holds me to a higher standard of strength and conditioning.
  • It provides me with the opportunity to learn from the struggle – for strength is made only in the forge.

This commitment keeps me healthy.

YOU TOO should make this commitment!

I am not saying drop everything and become a StrongFirst Instructor (not against the idea either) – but what you should do is make a commitment to a movement routine.

In previous posts I have discussed what type of exercises you should be focusing on and talked all about functional movement, so I won’t go into it now.

All this is to say that you need to be continuously practicing these functional exercises, and using a corrective movement strategy if you have any weaknesses / asymmetries.

Why? Simply because:

If you don’t use it,

You lose it.

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‘MED’s 4 Sleep

These are your Sleep MED’s …

Sleep Factors :

  • Dark
  • Cold
  • Quiet
  • Duration
  • Timing of:
    • Movement
    • Nutrition
    • Supplements

Jet Lag :

  • Light
  • Movement
  • Nutrition

Mindset :

  • Reduce stress-stimulus
  • Prime mind for your morning / positive affirmations
  • “Remembering” to help fall asleep

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Sleep Factors for setting up a Sleep Factory

Keep your bedroom as dark as possible.

  • Dim lights as evening progresses
  • Reduce exposure to Blue light during evening
  • Get Sunlight in the morning

Keep your bedroom cool.

  • Body temperature of 60C
  • Hot / Cold exposure (shower)

Keep bedroom quiet.

  • White noise

YOU NEED 6-9 hours

  • Yes there are outliers
  • Below 6, above 9 = higher risk of disease and all-cause mortality

YOU NEED to exercise

  • Not too close to bed (2-3 hours before bed)
  • Overtraining can cause insomnia

YOU NEED to eat properly

  • Not too close to bed (2-3 hours before bed)
  • Avoid stimulants & depressants in the afternoon (6 hours before bed)

You MAY need SUPPLEMENTS

Remember to cycle your dose over/under the recommended dosage:

  • Melatonin
  • CBD
  • GABA
  • Calcium & Magnesium + Stack
  • Vitamin A
  • Valerian Root
  • Tryptophan

JETLAG

= adjusting your circadian rhythm to match your geographic location

  • Expose yourself to hormetic stress first thing in the morning
    • Sun light
    • Exercise
    • Eat  

MINDSET

  • You MUST ACTIVATE your Parasympathetic Nervous System
    • Breath work
    • Essential Oils
    • Gargling / Hand warming / Tummy Rub / Palming
  • You MUST DEACTIVATE your Sympathetic Nervous System
    • Reduce exposure to stress
    • Reduce stimuli in general
    • Journaling
  • Prime your Mind
    • Positive self talk / Mantra
    • Imagine your ‘best possible morning’
    • Remember peaceful moments in your past.

YOU MUST HAVE CONSISTENCY

  • In your light / dark cycle
  • In the hours you wake & fall asleep
  • This is the only way for a human body to synchronize wakefulness & sleepiness to the appropriate times of day. (I.E. adjust external conditions and force your body to adapt.)
  • Consistency is the key to many things – including health, strength, and intelligence.
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‘MEDs’ 4 Mindfulness

MINIMAL EFFECTIVE DOSES that will keep you healthy and happy

1. Movement

2. Nutrition

3. Mindfulness


MINDFULNESS

  1. ’Super’ Mindful Breath
  2. Identify Your Emotion
  3. Check-In With Your Future Self
  4. Smile, Move, Talk or Try Something New

The term Mindfulness is thrown around a lot these days, but what does mindfulness even mean?


In defining something it is often helpful to define what it is not:

  • Mindfulness is not judgement
  • Mindfulness is not attachment
  • Mindfulness is not an escape from reality

Now let’s look at what it is:

  • Mindfulness is paying attention
  • Mindfulness is learning
  • Mindfulness is observing the ‘present’ / current reality

 

Before we go into how mindfulness can help us cope with stress, it is important to understand that a ‘mindfulness practice’ is simply a habit of paying attention, learning from and being aware of the present moment –  and then responding appropriately.

That being said, we believe it ‘appropriate’ to equip you with some information on Habit Formation….

Ever heard of that it takes 21 days to form a habit?

Unfortunately, this statement is not exactly true… In general people overestimate what they can accomplish in one year and underestimate what they can do in 5 years.

In fact, this research states that it ranges between 18 and 254  days to form a habit!

(depending on one’s motivation / how much you enjoy the habit you are trying to form)

An expert in motivation and habit formation, James Clear, sites this research in one of his articles. He states that it actually takes about 66 days to form a new habit.

 

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Now let’s get back to the topic at hand = ‘How To Deal With Stress In The Moment’

I.E. How to use Mindfulness as a tool to cope with stress!

Here are 4 tricks, or ‘minimal effective doses’ of mindfulness that you can use when faced with a stressful situation.

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  • ’Super’ Mindful Breath

 

      • Just 1 breath, in and out – but do it like you really mean it. Momentarily distracting yourself from the stress at hand by focusing on this single breath not only feels good, but reduces anxiety in the brain because the human brain can only focus on one thing at a time! *, *, *.

 

  • Identify Your Emotion

 

      • Name which emotion you are currently experiencing. Simply saying to yourself ‘I am Angry,’ when you are upset will help you catch yourself from doing something you might otherwise regret. * Furthermore, doing so has proven to increase the density of grey matter in your brain! *, *.

 

  • Check-In With Your Future Self

 

      • If you know your angry, and stressed, and maybe a little hungry – a good practice before making any decisions is to take a second and think how you will look back on this decision in 5 minutes, 5 days and in 5 years. Will you still have the same conviction you do now?

 

  • Smile, Move, Talk or Try Something New

 

    • If you are feeling anxious and don’t have to interact with your stress face to face ‘right now’ – doing something as simple as going for a walk, or whiching to a task that you know you enjoy, will help reduce stressful feelings. Smiling and raising your gaze (not your head) up to the ceiling will release endorphins and boost your mood. Talking to a friend helps put things into perspective by getting you out of a self-induced negative feedback loop. Novel experiences have a similar effect as #1 – i.e. distracting you from your current mental state.

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One final note:

Don’t Expect It To Work Every Time!

    • Don’t expect mindfulness to be a cure for your stress. Conditions are never really right for being in the present moment. You can be the most mindful person in the world and still act out. You can practice conscious breathing all day and still feel negative emotions. Mindfulness and meditation should be done for their own sake and not for their results. In the long run it has proven to improve longevity and quality of life, but until then – practice makes perfect.

 

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Do you think it will be hard to implement this stuff?

If you feel daunted by this information – then let’s set up a consultation,  and we will help you figure out how to implement this stuff into your schedule.

Remember this for whatever habit you want to start (i.e. any New Year resolutions).

All Habits have a 3 part cycle:

  1. Reminder / trigger
  2. Routine / the habit of choice
  3. Reward / every new habit requires a reward for it to stick

Up to 40% of our daily activities are done habitually. They are context dependent and often occur at the level of our subconscious – that is, we don’t even realize it is a habit!

If you want to understand more about habits and how they affect our daily life check out this book by Charles Duhigg: The Power of Habit

  • Here is an interview with the author.

If you want some help in beginning your mindfulness practice feel free to contact Martin or Tyler any time, or follow the steps laid out from the link below:

5 steps 2 Making Meditation a Habit

  1. Schedule it
  2. Dedicated a space to it
  3. Keep it simple (just breathe)
  • Calms and clarifies / creates base-line / super easy
  1. Keep it short (with 60 seconds)
  • Or even just a single (super) mindful breath!
  1. Bring your seated practice into your daily life
  • Walking / Driving / Eating etc…

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Martin Colangelo : “The Better Movement Specialist”

Brought to you by:

 

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Principle Based Training: Strength

1) Safety First (2) Strength has a greater Purpose (3) Tension is Strength (4) Relaxation is Strength

5) Perfect Technique (6) Long Rest (7) Simple (8) Sinister


Strength Principles

If you follow these principles you will ALWAYS progress.

Because you will always have in the back of your head the reason you are training – making motivation a non-issue.

These principles should help construct your notions of how you workout (i.e. hardstyle, long rest),

and also guide you to a more holistic way of training and care taking of your self (relaxation/recovery).


 

1) Safety First

  • This includes personal space, choosing the appropriate weight, location and equipment.
  • It also means not training yourself to a point were the risk of injury becomes greater than the benefit received from the exercise.
  • Pain = NO gain (usually) – I am always reminded at this point of some Paul Chek says : “Train, don’t Drain”

 

2) Strength has a greater purpose

“Sparta, Rome, the knights of Europe, the samurai… worshiped strength.
Because it is strength that makes all other values possible.”
(Enter the Dragon)

  • Strength is a SKILL; that means it can be TAUGHT, and that you are either GOOD at it or BAD at it – you are either strong, or weak. Being GOOD at something is valuable, but aspiring to be better is even greater.
  • Train strength because it carries over into everything else you do in the world : be it physical or mental.

 

3) Tension is Strength

  • This means HARD STYLE : you must learn how to utilize your bodies tension in order to improve your performance. This is achieved through certain tension techniques.
    • including: 1) make a white knuckle fist
      2) drive heels into floor
      3) crush a walnut between your Glutes
      4) squeeze the Abdominals
      5) utilize power breathing
    • the next step is knowing when to use them, that involves some strategy on your part.
  • Without proper abdominal bracing (tension) your risk of injury increases.
  • With proper abdominal bracing you can literally do anything you want (except fly).

 

4) Relaxation is strength

  • The other side of the coin of tension is relaxation and thus also the other side of Strength.
  • This includes proper rest between sets and appropriate recovery between workouts.
  • If you CANNOT relax (if you CANNOT exhale with an audible sigh of relief) you need to figure it out… Without Relaxation you will always have elevated cortisol and low testosterone levels (which is harmful over long periods of time).
  • Relaxation is also a Mobility Principle: along with breathing and patience; if you lack either of these it is now wonder why your strength and mobility goals seem so unattainable no matter how hard you try. You are trying too hard!

 

5) Perfect Technique

  • Every Rep. Every Set. Every Time…. technique, technique, technique : when you start a new training program or learn a new skill the first few weeks of improvements is predominantly NEUROLOGICAL. Only then will muscular adaption starts to occur.
  • Similarly once you train yourself past the stage of muscular adaption, almost ALL progress becomes neurological and technique based again.
  • Attention to technique while training (and having a coach provide correction/feedback) will fast track your road to strength – all the while SAVING YOU FROM INJURY.
  • INJURY PROOF YOURSELF by training with good form. The human body CANNOT perform perfect reps while under a high amount of metabolic fatigue – which brings us nicely to our next point….

 

6) Long Rest

  • Proper rest intervals are critical : serious strength training requires 3-5 minutes and even up to 15 minutes rest between near maximal lifts.
  • I go deeper into this subject in a previous post entitled : ‘Training Considerations: Rest, Set Type and Mental Management’
  • Pavel confirms everything I mention in his article ‘Long Rests: Russian Science to the Rescue’
  • A final reason to rest long and to keep the sets short (20-40sec max), is what Al Ciampa says in the above article, namely :

    “If you let the “burn” in the muscle rise too high, you literally destroy the mitochondria, the very thing you tried to build”

  • the last tip I have for you comes from a source I cannot remember but it goes:  “Don’t confuse Strength and Conditioning with Conditioning and more Conditioning”

 

7) Simple

  • For building impressive strength use the KISS principle.

Check out StrongFirst Simple and Sinister: a strength and endurance program that will prepare you for literally ANYTHING

  • Simple because the exercises themselves are easy to learn
  • Simple because you use only a hand full of exercises and you get really good at them.  Furthermore, as your technique improves, the greater the training effect becomes.

 

8) Sinister

  • Sinister because training for strength is HARD WORK!
  • The individual movements themselves may be ‘simple’ – but the combination of maintaining technique and speed while fatigued (and still using heavy weights) demands that your body adapt.

check out Simple and Sinister at the StrongFirst website:

Kettlebell Simple & Sinister

Remember,

If you follow these principles you will ensure progress.

Have fun with this information and explore what works best for you.

If you get confused or just don’t know where to start / what to do  –  that is when you need to get a coach.

These principles are useless unless there is a goal or end product in mind.

 

> if you enjoyed this post, share it with someone who you think would benefit




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Martin Colangelo

“The Better Movement Specialist”

Stay Strong my friends!