Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cold Water Dousing

Cold weather is here. Sick / flu season is here too. A friend of mine uses cold water dousing to stay "sharp", and sick-free. He claims he hasn't even had a cold in years. 

Last year, with much of his encouragement, I gave cold water dousing a try. Well, first I researched it to see if it would (a) kill me, and (b) help keep me well. I couldn't find too much information about it but I did find that it supposedly raises body temperature to about 108 degrees thus killing any bacteria or viruses that might be inside of you. One reference I found said that dousing raises testosterone levels (cool) and other hormones. Oh, I also found out that it could kill me too, if my heart was weak. 

Anyway, I will never forget the first time I doused. I had a bucket filled with ice water and I stood in the shower as scared as I could possibly be. It felt like I stood there holding the bucket for 10 minutes trying to get up the courage to pour it over my head. Finally, I did it. It was not as cold as I thought it would be, it was worse! It was also euphoric. I felt invisible. I also thanked God several times for not letting it kill me. The cool thing about dousing was that at that moment, I knew then that I was crazy enough to do anything. 

My friend was proud of me but I didn't do it right. He said to truly do it, I had to do it outside in the cold. So, with his prompting, again, I did it a few days later outside at about 6 am in the dark (didn't want the neighbors to see). It was 15 degrees outside and I had a bucket of frigid water. I poured it over my head and again, I felt euphoric. The water actually felt warm, for a second. 

I doused everyday after my first douse last year. In fact, I doused until July. I eventually stopped then because It was so hot here, my refrigerator couldn't make enough ice to get my water cold enough. Whether or not dousing boost the immune system, or whether or not it raises testosterone levels, it doesn't matter. I believe it does make you tough. A person that can could water douse in the middle of winter, is a capable person. 

The cold weather is here. It is time to douse! I'm not telling you to give it a try, I'm just telling you to entertain the thought. It can be a powerful tool. If not for the body, for the mind.   

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

You Can Learn from Training

It is amazing the things you can learn by doing something. Most people probably agree that experience is a good teacher and that is one way to learn. From experience, or through participation, you can learn new skills and you can also glean bits of wisdom.

For example, I learned a lot about myself through my training session today. I have often thought and believed that the body will go where the mind takes it. Today, I learned that a person can be led by their body or they can be led by their mind. We choose which one does the leading.

In today's play / training session I set out perform a brutal workout that John Brookfield has been encouraging me to try. Anyone else know John Brookfield? His workouts are utterly miserable! (out of respect for John, i removed the information about this particular workout.)

Anyway, when I started this "play" session, I was ready to tap out inside the first minute. My body was screaming; letting me know that I was participating in madness. My body wanted to quit. My mind was starting to listen to my body. But for some reason, my mind kept saying "do a few more. you can make it a few more" So, I continued. Much to my bodies' displeasure, I performed a few more, then a few more, then a few more. Eventually, and much to my complete surprise, I completed the workout with John's prescribed target. I was completely miserable about one minute into it, but I lasted a whole 16 minutes. John would be proud.

The point is, I learned something today. It is not always the engine that matters, sometimes it is the governor. The body wanted to stop, the mind wanted to go on. I chose to listen to my mind and not my body. It would have been much easier to stop, but that would have bothered me later. My mind was on a mission. Was my performance great? Probably not, but then I don't know. I do know, if I ever set out to do this again, I have already done it once. It will be easier the next time.

I think we sometimes take for granted what we can accomplish. Maybe sometimes we don't accomplish much because we don't believe we can. I know. It is funny the things my training sessions make me think about.

That's all I got!

Have a great week.


Friday, October 21, 2011

How do You Run?

Have you ever watched people run? You will see all different kinds of things. Some people run as if they are being tortured, some run as if their body is just a collection of disintergrated parts, others run like they are being chased by slow bears, and some people run like they are chasing something - they run with purpose.

I am not here to debate foot strike. While I do have my own opinion about how the foot should grace the ground, that is not my focus for this post. I am refering to arm swing. Watch people run as you drive through your neighborhood, or go check out a local 5K event. You will see thousands of arms doing all sorts of things. Most people run as if their arms are just loose attachments that serve no purpose. Maybe you run this way too. But what if you ran as if your arms were just as important as your legs?

What I mean is, what if your arms were just as important for running as they are for crawling?
Crawling is the foundation for our gait pattern. It teaches our shoulders and hips to work together. Running is the ultimate expression of our gait pattern. In running, our shoulders and hips should still work together.

What if instead of letting your arms flop by your sides, or let them shuffle side to side infront of your chest, or even letting them bounce up and down towards your ears, you purposefully drove them foward and back to match and equal the drive of your legs? What if you ran with a tall spine, the crown of your head to the sky, breathing deep into your belly, and your drove your arms forward and back from your shoulders.

Again, I believe running is the ultimate expression of our gait pattern. Running should look graceful and powerful, not like an explosion of body parts. How much more efficient could our running be if we took advantage of the contral-lateral, cross-body, energy sling system that we are designed to travel by? What if we ran intentionally and with purpose? What if you used your arms like they mattered when you ran? Because they do.

Today's Training looked like this:
Crawled in a circle like a lost spider-man for 20 minutes.
Ran like the hunter, not the prey, for 10 minutes.

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Farmer Strength

When I worked as a firefighter, if someone was really strong, freakishly strong, we would call them "farmer strong". Have you ever met a farmer who wasn't strong as an ox? Most farmers I can think of, or that I ever knew, were average sized guys and they really didn't stand out much. At least until something had to be picked up, carried, or moved.

I have seen wirey looking farmers out work and out lift (basically out perform) very lean, muscular men who spend there time in the gym. Farmers are not genetic freaks. They don't have special powers that other people can't possess. Farmers are just so strong because they work. They perform "real world" tasks that requires them to use their bodies the way it was intended.

Farmers have real, "functional" strength. They have this strength because they use their bodies daily. Their lives consist of picking things up, moving things, throwing things, etc. They may not look the healthiest because of their diets or because they are out in the sun all day, but they are by far capable of out working most people in the modern world.

This is just an observation I have. I could be completely wrong, but If you want real strength, or you want to be able to improve your performance, you could learn a lot from a farmer.

Today's training session was kinda cool and fun:
1. Beat the crap out of a tire with a 10 pound sledge hammer for 10 straight minutes. I've never done this before. It was pretty fun. Do farmers do this?

2. Battling Ropes for 10 minutes (velocity). This I have done before. It gets the blood flowing.

3. Ran for 10 minutes. Focused on driving my arms. Trying to really make the shoulders and hips work together like they are designed to do. This was a good run. About 1 1/2 miles in 10 minutes.

That is it. Have a great week!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Its All in Your Head

Becoming Bulletproof is more than a "physical thing". There are other variables as well. Today, I want to touch on the mental aspect of becoming bulletproof. Your mind runs the show. You will never know what you are physically capable of doing or becoming until you set your mind on your desired goal. 

Remember in Becoming Bulletproof I mentioned when talking about rolling, where the head goes, the body will follow. You've probably heard this most all of your life  in dealing with athletics, martial arts, or whatever. That is physical phenomenon. We are wired that way because our vestibular system, is tied to our entire body. That, and our big melons effect our center of gravity. 

"Where the head goes, the body will follow." is also a mental phenomenon as well. Before you can ever accomplish a physical goal, you have to decide and choose to accomplish that goal first. In Proverbs 23:7, there is a verse "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he." If you don't believe you are capable, then you are not. IF you believe you can and will succeed, then you probably will. You must set your mind and heart on your desired outcome. If you don't believe in yourself, how can you achieve anything? 

If you have a goal of becoming bulletproof, weekend proof, office proof or whatever, you must set your mind on your desired outcome. If you want to lose 30 pounds, set your mind on it - believe you can do it. Losing 30 pounds could seem like an unclimbable mountain to some people. But to the person who believes he can lose 30 pounds, that mountain becomes a mole hill. We are all good at turning mole hills into mountains, but how many of us can turn mountains into mole hills? 

Becoming Bulletproof is a journey. Your physical goals, whatever they are are also journeys within your life story. If you approach your journey with the right mental attitude you will find that there aren't many mountains that you can't climb. Your daily attitude, the mental decision on how you approach each day, will greatly effect whether you see Mount Everest standing in front of you, or an ant hill. 

If you have a goal, a journey you want to embark on, choose to KNOW that you can achieve it. IF you want to be successful, believe in yourself. As a man (or woman) thinks in his heart, so is he....

Today's play session looked like this:

Dead lift to catch to press with a 24K kettlebell and burpees:
1 and 1, 2 and 2, 3 and 3, ....10 and 10, 9 and 9, 8 and 8, ....1 and 1 = 100 reps of each

Farmers walks with 2-32K kettlebells while wearing an X-vest: 105 yards x 3 trips
Suitcase Carries w/ 32K kettlebell while wearing an X-vest: 105 yards each arm 
Bottums Up Carry w/ 24K kettlebell: 50 yards right arm, 50 yards left arm
Overhead Carry w/ 24K kettlebell: 50 yards right arm, 50 yards left arm x 2 trips

That's all for now. Have a great day!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Do You Know How Capable You Are?

I've got a client, I will call him "Sam" to protect his identity. When Sam first came to see me, he just wanted to improve his blood pressure and decrease his risk of diabetes. He really didn't have a physical weight loss goal or anything like that. He simply wanted to improve his insides. 

One of the first tools I introduced Sam to was the Battling Ropes. I started Sam out with 30 seconds of velocity waves. After 30 seconds, Sam was whooped. He was exhausted, sweating, out of breath and a bit bewildered. If you've ever done velocity training, you know how Sam felt. Anyway, I told Sam "I know this is hard to believe but in a few weeks from now, it won't be anything for you to be able to last 10 minutes without stopping." For some reason, Sam liked the sound of that. I think it gave him a challenge that, in his mind, would be an amazing achievement. 

So, twice a week Sam showed up, and we worked for about 20 to 25 minutes with the ropes. In less than a week, Sam was at 1 minute intervals. Fast forward about 4 weeks and Sam was performing velocity for 10 straight minutes at about 90 waves per minute. If you know anything about velocity, that is amazing. But while it is amazing, it is also doable. It was doable because Sam believed he would eventually be able to do it. Sam had faith, and he set his actions to line up with his faith. There is a Bible verse in there somewhere...

Anyway, many of us will never know what we are capable of because we don't really believe in ourselves. Others of us never try to tap into our potential because we fear failure, or we're just too lazy to engage. Whatever the reason we fall short of our goals, or our dreams, we don't have to. 

Know this: You are CAPABLE of anything. When it comes to success, the only thing that stands in your way is you. The only thing that stands in my way is me. 

I know 10 minutes of performing velocity waves may not seem like a significant life changer, but let me tell you what it has done for Sam: Sam's blood pressure is now normal. His blood sugar levels are also normal. His blood cholesterol is now great. He is down 25 pounds. He is looking for 5k's to run, something he has never done before. Sam is confident, he has a new life. Sam also knows he is pretty much capable of anything as long as he engages; he has tasted victory. 10 minutes of velocity waves can be a life changer, a world changer even.

Do you have a health goal? It is yours for the taking if you engage in it. You are capable of achieving your goal. Just engage. Take charge. Engaging is simply the difference between watching your favorite sport and playing your favorite sport. Let's assume your sport is life; be a player. Don't sit on the sidelines and watch it go by. You are capable of anything. You decide if you are able.

Today's workout: I covered a lot of ground today...
Spider-man crawl: 80 yards x 2 trips
Farmers Walks with an X-vest and 2 -32k kettlebells (180 lbs): 80 yards x 4 trips
Suitcase Carry w/ an X-vest and a 32k kettlebell (110 lbs): 80 yards each arm
Sled Drag w/ 200 lbs: 80 yards x 2 trips
Sled Push w/ 200 lbs: 80 yards x 2 trips
Over Head Carry to Dbl Rack Carry w/ 2-24k kettlebells: 80 yards x 2 trips 

Yep, a lot of ground --> 1,120 yards 

Have a great weekend.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Its More than a Physical Thing

When Mike and I set out to write Becoming Bulletproof, we had been living out our ideas for over a year. We were pretty confident we had found something quite wonderful. About half way through the process of writing the book, Mike suffered an unfortunate accident. With over 300 pounds on his back, he fell through a floor and tore all the tendons off of both his knees, and his right knee cap was broken. His knees were pretty much destoyed. As horrible as this sounds, I think Mike was quite remarkably spared from a terrible spinal injury. At any rate, Mike suffered a horrific physical injury, one in which he was told he would never be able to walk without the use of a cane.

Mike has a passion for health, fitness and all things related to exercise. He was a competitive bodybuilder and a competitive strongman, as well as a phenomenal trainer. When he was injured, all of those things were taken away from him. Or so it seemed. Mike suffered more than a physical injury, Mike suffered from a huge mental injury. Mike's heart and passion were ripped away along with the tendons around his knees.

Becoming Bulletproof is more than just a physical journey or a physical state. It can also be a mental journey as well. We can not control all the many things that life will throw at us, if not hurl at us. But we can control how we will respond and react to the things life lays at our feet. I will not lie, Mike was wounded. His spirit was crushed and he will tell you himself that at times, he seriously contemplated ending his life. But, he didn't. He fought. Each and everyday, Mike made the decision to keep fighting. Each day, he tried to regain a little mobility and strength back in his legs. Each day, Mike held on for another day, a better day.

It was not easy, but Mike, through his will and determination, has rehabbed his legs back beyond all his doctors and therapists expectations. He did not let their prophecies limit his potential. He refused to yield to their expected limitations. Instead, Mike daily practiced the principles that we laid out in Becoming Bulletproof. But more than that, he daily practiced the decision to engage and fight for another day.

It has been a little over 6 months sense Mike's injury and today he can spiderman crawl, squat with well over 235 pounds, and perform glute-ham raises again; he can do the things he loves. In fact, Mike is determined to compete again in strongman competitions and he is well on his way. He has no doubt that he is closing in a 400 pound-plus squat again. I know he is right, he will do it. He is mentally bulletproof.

We all have our own issues and face our own challenges. It is what we decide to do and how we decide to react to those challenges that determine our potential. We are not limited by our circumstances. We are only limited by ourselves and the decisions that we make. Nothing in our lives is set in stone.

If becoming bulletproof is your quest, remember, it is a journey and you are the navigator. Remember too, that becoming bulletproof is more than a physical journey. It is a mental and spiritual journey as well. Where the mind and heart go, the body will follow.

Whatever your quest, fight the Good fight.

Have a great weekend.