Staying home to watch the rain

And you are young and life is long

It’s usually the mental aspect of it that gets us. It’s what ends up being our downfall be it that day or worse, our life. Everyone of us is capable of great things but for a lot of different reasons we don’t execute on those great things and end up living a mediocre life. That might be alright for some but for most it means a lost of adventure, a loss of things that ‘could have been’.

I used to struggle with explaining what this meant, what pushing yourself brings to us as individuals. I couldn’t convey it into words. Then I looked into it more trying to understand all things that are rewarded unto us when we work hard, when we push ourselves. I would look back on my own experiences of success and failures and it started to make sense to me. When we push ourselves and work hard towards a goal the end result is the reward. It is what makes us feel alive, feel that we have a purpose and adds a lot of positives to our reflection of what we are as an individual. Self doubt starts to diminish and our confidence starts to grow.

Also, doors may start to open and sometimes those things happen organically. If you are someone who pushes themselves in a group type of environment, maybe you are a competing triathlete, think of all the people you have met along your journey. Coaches, experts in your field, fellow competitors, and so on. You don’t get this exposure sitting on the couch every night and weekend. And then think of the people you meet if you are doing things considered on an elite level. You will be surrounded by people who generally are more positive, outgoing, other people who push themselves hard all the time. We tend to become the people we associate with. Hang out with negative, unmotivated people and you will tend to become the same because those people don’t want to be involved with someone who isn’t: it makes them feel like failures and they will never meld with you if you aren’t also complaining and being pessimistic about things. Surround yourself with positive people and you will tend to rise to that level.

But I digress. This post really is about what can we do to help ourselves do things that are lengthy in duration and can be really mentally overwhelming. What can we do to trick the brain and keep pushing through a long tough event. Here some ideas:

  • Compartmentalize: Depending on what it is you are doing, never, NEVER look at the event as a whole. This will crush you even before you get out the gate. Let’s take a triathlon. 3 major events: swim, bike ride and a run. Depending on the type of triathlon this can take maybe 8 hours. If you think of this at the beginning as an 8 hour event you have already lost, you have planted the seed in your mind that this is going to kill you and you will never get through it. To start, break this down into the 3 events it already is: swim, bike, run. Then, break it down further if you need to: break the swim into half. Break the bike ride into quarters, or fifths, or more. Same with the run. If it’s a marathon length run, break it into quarters and after each quarter mentally check it off – Done, 3 more quarters to go.
  • Distraction: Believe it or not you do not always have to think about what you are doing. Have you ever arrived somewhere and you cannot recall how you got there? You’ve driven the same roads, the same route to work for years and it’s all muscle memory. You arrive at work and you can’t recall how you got there. Same thing here. Let the brain wonder off onto some journey, maybe to Alaska to see the northern lights, or maybe thinking about the last book you read. This happens sometimes to me when I’m running on the treadmill. Your mind comes back and nothing changed, you are still running. The muscle memory took over and you probably were running better because of this. You were probably more relaxed since you weren’t tuned in to every muscle twitch, to every foot step. Give this a try and you will find it tends to make a long event fly by.
  • Hero: Do you have a hero, someone you look up to? Who inspires you, who do you want to be in a sense? Try to be that person mentally. When I run on the treadmill and things start to get tough I think of a person who has inspired me: John Joseph. This guy is the hard ass endurance athlete I would like to be. No excuses get it done kind of guy. John’s first triathlon was done with a fracture in his foot after playing a concert the night before in the band he’s in. Yeah, played a concert (high output as his band is a punk band), fractured his foot, long drive home, little sleep and then completed the triathlon in the August heat of New York. If that’s not inspiring I don’t know what is.
  • Readiness: If you fail to prepare you have prepared to fail. This is so true. Be ready for your event. Of course long term preparedness means getting in the training. Short term are things like testing any fuel you plan to use. There are many stories of people who on the day of their endurance event change their fuel, they try something new like a new brand of glucose gel. These people typically end up in the porta potty due to GI issues. Always, ALWAYS try what you are going to consume at least a few times weeks before so you know it agrees with you be it gels, sports drinks. This goes for quantities too. Don’t just sip the drink you are going to use to replace your electrolytes. Use it in your training so you know how your body is going to react to it when under stress. Clothing, make sure it comfortable and suits the needs of the event and of you. Rest, rest, rest.
  • Mind set: Before your event I want you to tell yourself how amazing you are, tell yourself that you are the rock star you want to be. Because if you are doing this that is what you are! A lot of self doubt exists in us for reasons that don’t hold up to scrutiny. Put there by others, put there by false perceptions of what society thinks we should be. And it’s easy to self doubt. It is so hard to pay ourselves a compliment or two. Try this. The next time you doubt yourself, ask yourself if you would say the same thing to someone else and when you answer no, think about that. Think about why you wouldn’t say this to someone else and then ask yourself why then is it OK to think this of yourself.

Finally

That’s all I have for today. For now. We all have the ability to do great things, if we let ourselves.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise

They decide and the shotgun sings the song.

I think it’s safe to say most of us believe what we believe due to what we constantly hear. What we hear on the radio, on the internet, what we read from news sites, blogs, social media sites. And what we hear from people that are influential in our lives: friends, family. For the majority of us what we hear from these sources can dictate how we live our lives from simple things such as a movie we choose to see or major things that can directly impact our lives like the foods we choose to eat. And the ironic thing about this last sentence is most people will not consider that a major choice that will impact our lives.

Impact

But the food we choose to eat has a major impact on our lives. Having finished a certification in plant based nutrition run by the leading medical experts in heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and so on, my  belief about this was confirmed, and reinforced. Did you know the only diet to reverse heart disease is a whole foods plant based diet? This is only one of the many benefits of following a whole foods plant based diet. I’ll be posting more in the future but for now, lets get on with the subject of this post.

Protein

I’m sure if I were to take a quick survey on how much protein people thought we need we would get answers such as 20%, 30% or even higher. If you are trying to add muscle, or are an active body builder you are probably consuming levels higher than 30%. And for the vast majority of these people their protein is coming from animals, not plants. Is that an issue? Absolutely. Read the China Study or watch Fork over Knives to see the direct impact on cancer tumor growth when consuming animal protein at levels above 20%. To summarize IGF-1 (Insulin growth factor 1) is in high levels in animal products and IGF-1 is responsible for cell replication, which is ok when you have a cut that the body needs to repair but when in your body at high levels due to consuming animal protein it impacts the growth of cancer tumors. And a high protein diet damages our cells and accelerates aging. It makes our kidneys work so much harder as it has to process all this protein and this can lead to kidney stones.

Why

protein
Plants have all the protein you need

Are we obsessed with protein? Yes. Recently I saw on a person’s computer monitor an image of all the logic fallacies such as straw man fallacy, appeal to authority, etc. I told this guy what a cool wallpaper and I could relate since a lot of the videos I watch having to do with veganism has examples of these as people use them to defend why they continue to eat animals. So, he said ‘Wow, I didn’t know you were vegan’, and then a look on his face of deep thought appeared and he asked me ‘Where do you get your protein?’ I’ve heard this so many times it didn’t phase me , but it speaks to my point. Why are we obsessed with protein? I think for a few reasons.

Here’s a bit of a history lesson. In 1839, protein was first isolated by a Dutch chemist, Gerhard Mulder, then named from the Greek word, proteios. Protein was isolated from meat, leading to the idea that meat and protein were the same; another mistaken belief that still survives for many people. Carl von Voit, a prominent German physiology professor recommended 118 g/day for an adult man of average weight, even though he had determined that 52 g/day was enough (later research showed even lower levels were enough). By the early 1900’s the link between meat was firmly established in the minds of men, the link that eating meat was macho, and not eating meat meant you were a wimp and through the years the stereotype has grown to political views – vegan = left leaning communist or socialist, terms used in the derogatory sense. Real men eat meat!

Eating meat, or protein, was also a status symbol as only the rich could afford it. But let’s look at another angle, the marketing angle.

It’s easy to market meat with these associations we have with meat, protein. The social statuses that come with it. The peer pressure. Riding on the belief that we need a lot of protein it’s so easy to add that to the sizzle of the commercial showing you the slab of beef grilling on the bbq, ‘get the protein you need from our grade A Alberta beef, only the best’, or ‘we have the juiciest chicken breasts for you to enjoy’. How do you do that with broccoli or spinach? ‘Our broccoli is super dark green and our spinach leaves are the finest and smoothest’. It just doesn’t sell does it.

Then we have the fitness industry pushing supplements. You are told by your trainer, the gym where they sell the shakes, by your friends and so on that you need to supplement with protein to ‘make those gains’. Of course they tell you that because that adds to their bottom line. It’s all about the dollar bills y’all. In 2016 the protein supplement industry size was at 12.5 billion expected to rise by 6%! These industries do not want you to understand that the notion that you need to supplement with protein is not true. And this is true for any protein supplement, plant based or not.

Robert Cheeke

Let’s look at Robert Cheeke. Adopted a vegan life style in 1995 at the age of 15. A two time natural body builder champion, Robert does not supplement with protein. Not since 2011. Robert was like most of us, he bought into the lies that you need to supplement with protein, branch chain amino acids, etc. Then in 2012 after educating himself and digging deeper into the whole protein thing he decided to change it up. No more supplementing, nothing. Nothing but a whole foods plant based diet. So what happened? He lost 60 lbs and no longer competes. NO! This is what the industry would want you to believe! Robert MADE gains in both strength and muscle growth. Was it a fluke, a short lived benefit? No. Even to this day Robert is the strongest he has ever been. No supplementation and no focus on protein rich foods. In fact, his focus is on complex carbs because as we know, we need complex carbs, it’s what fuels our body. It gets you through those workouts. Yams, brown rice, lentils, leafy green veggies, fruits. All these gains while consuming only 10% – 15% of calories from protein. How is it possible? The meat industry, the supplement industry, the bro that pumps iron and has smelly protein farts would tell you different, ‘bro, you need to load up on protein, you better get a Casein or Whey shake from the counter or you won’t be making those gains!’.

I have the answer

Do you want to add strength, and muscle growth? It’s easy, it really is. Follow a whole foods plant based diet. And, eat as much as you want, don’t go hungry!

Most people, or really everyone who follows this diet and is not gaining strength and muscle mass (the assumption you are working out properly) are not eating enough calories. You need to consume enough high quality, nutrient dense calories so your body can grow.

Save your money! You worked hard for it! Don’t spend the $60 on the tub of cancer inducing protein powder because it’s going to end up in the toilet anyway! You are literally shitting your money away! Stop listening to uneducated people who are doing the things that another uneducated person showed them. It’s your body and what you put into it will directly impact your health.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

 

 

Oh yeah Alright

Feels good inside

For the last maybe 5 years, or maybe longer than that a new term arose, superfoods. What does that mean, superfoods. Does it make you superhuman? Probably not. Personally I think the term gets overused and also I think there is the potential for damage in that just like vitamins people will consume superfoods in place of foods they should be consuming on a daily basis.

plant based foods
Plant based foods

First and foremost everyone should be eating a whole foods plant based diet. Not sure what that is? It’s not being vegan for one thing. Veganism is a moral position that has much more to do with the foods consumed. It includes this but also reaches beyond to what you put on your body be it hygiene products, clothing, make up, etc. It can also extend to activities such as not patronizing zoo’s or circuses or other places animals are exploited for our entertainment. If you want to find out more about a whole foods plant based diet I suggest you start with reading the China Study or another option is to watch Fork over Knives.

Back to my point, consuming a whole foods plant based diet should give you all the nutrients you need.

But, if you are looking to increase certain nutrients, not replace eating well then below I’ve listed some foods you might want to add into your daily eating.

What

Chia seeds: Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, protein fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and antioxidants. Easy to use. I recommend grinding the seeds first as this is easier for your body to digest. Add a tablespoon to a smoothie or shake, to a salad, or a sauce. You can add it to almost anything.

Flaxseed: Also high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Also high in lignans (a powerful antioxidant) and fiber, can be used to improve digestive health. Just like Chia seeds, you can grind up your flax seed and use it the same way; shakes, etc.

Spirulina: Once called ‘the best food for the future‘ by the United Nations World Food Conference. Extremely digestible and contains every natural known antioxidant a healthy body could need. Rich in vitamins, reported to correct anemia, reduce radioactive damage and lower cholesterol. Some studies have shown that because of it’s high anitoxidant properties athletic endurance becomes enhanced significantly increasing the time it took people to become fatigued. Do your homework when buying spirulina. It’s an organism that grows in both fresh and salt water so be sure you are not buying it from a source that has grown it in heavy metal dense water or radio active water.

Hemp Seeds: Also known as hemp hearts. Also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids but also a great source of protein. 3 tablespoons provide 16 grams of protein! That’s huge! Let’s look at the following example: Women usually need 1,600 to 2,400 calories a day. Your protein consumption should be about 10 – 15% of total calories.  Let’s use 2,000 calories as an example, and we’ll also use 15%. 15% of 2,000 = 300 calories. There are 4 calories per gram of protein so 16 grams X 4 = 64 calories or 21% of your daily need! Quiet a bit from a small amount. Lastly, you are probably thinking that my numbers for protein requirements is quiet low. It is by what everyone else is telling you or you have been hearing. If you follow the recommendations that are communicated by the industries that are funded by the industries that sell protein – fitness industry, food industry, the dietitians industry, etc. of course they want you to spend your money on protein powders and supplements – processed protein.

If you follow a whole foods plant based diet you will be get all the protein you need. More on that in another post

Oats: When eating oats be sure to get the steel cut, lesser processed oats. Again, a whole foods plant based diet should minimize as much as possible processed foods. Why do I look at Oats as a superfood? High in complex carbs, fiber, maganese, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, B vitamins, and more. A half cup of oats contain 51 grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of fiber. A very nutrient dense food. Oats also have  soluble fiber called Beta-Glucan. Beta-glucan partially dissolves in water and forms a thick, gel-like solution in the gut giving you that satiated feeling helping to prevent unnecessary snacking.

Finally

I’m sure I could have added more things, things such as Tumeric, Garlic, Ginger, etc. all good things. Sometimes I find when coming across lists like these you get overwhelmed in the things you need to eat and then you just give up. I hope my list is simple and something else about my list is it also promotes an easy way to get Omega-3 (DHA) into your diet daily without having to consume pills and without having to consume animal products.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Two Sides of the Coin

What will your day be like?

Heads

Sunday, my run was awesome. Probably the best run since I’ve gotten back to running. Sundays are my days for my long run trying to increase mileage and of course duration. I woke up early, trying to do that more frequently and made myself some steel cut oats with mixed fruits. This is also working out well as I’m finding eating this is helping in providing that energy needed for the first bit of the run.

My long run this Sunday was 2 hours in duration. Started the run feeling really good almost like it was effortless. 45 minutes in I consumed my first gel pack – still feeling good. 90 minutes in, keeping my pace and consuming water with electrolytes every 20 minutes and have my second gel pack. I tell myself 30 minutes more but I’m not doing it in a reassuring way, not saying it in a manner of ‘Come on, you can do this, only 30 minutes left!’ more just for information to gauge when I should take my next drink. I’m at an hour and 55 minutes and I feel great! I’m thinking do I keep running? Maybe I can hit 2.5 hours but I real back the enthusiasm and remind myself that I’m not even a month into this and I don’t want to injure myself. Doing what I planned to do is enough. I’m trying to be smarter with my training. These long runs are to get the body and the mind used to the constant repetition that comes with running, strengthening the tendons, the muscles, ligaments and so on. I know I made the right choice Monday when I could feel the tightness in my hip flexors. Next Sunday.

But I felt so strong and relaxed I know I could have continued.

Tails

Then there’s today. I didn’t sleep well, woke up 90 minutes before I usually do. Might have been the wind crashing into the window as the winter has turned nasty this last day. I got up feeling alright, cleared my drive way and headed off to work. A couple hours into work I started to feel tired, yawning a lot and feeling somewhat lifeless. Stress started to weigh on me too. I have a hard time  separating stress from what I need to accomplish. I find it can take away what motivates me and it gets flipped, reversed and I then have to fight with my mind to do what I have planned to do.

I went down to the gym telling myself that I have to do this. My fast runs, interval runs through the week are what helps me when I have my slow run on Sundays. I have to tell myself if I’m going to run that marathon I have to do this. But it’s tough. My enemy brain is working overtime to have me turn around and head back up to my desk. ‘Skip today’, ‘You’re tired’, ‘You’ll never do this anyway’, ‘What does it matter?’, ‘Just quit’.

Yeah, those and other things is what my enemy mind tells me. I’m sure you are probably the same, we all have that enemy mind in us. The mind that knows what to tell us to get us to quit doing the things that are good for us, flips the switch so we start doing the things that destroy us slowly or destroy us in a minute. I fought with that voice today and I’m not going to say I won. I’m not going to be that arrogant or cocky. I did do what I set out to do – I did my interval running and got cleaned up and went back to work. Done.

Heads/Tails

Am I stronger today for this? I really don’t know. I think all someone can do is handle each day as it comes. I know I’m not always going to come out of it the way I did today. I don’t think that is a realistic way to look at it.

I do know my enemy mind will always be there tempting me to fail again. Not every day. It’s kind of like that neighbor that for the most part is quiet but some days…

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

Winding up the spring

Explosiveness

If you are the competitive athletic type, maybe you are a martial artist and are always trying to be quicker or you might be looking for explosiveness when it comes to running, a lot of us are looking for the explosive edge.

Or you might not be that type. Most of us are content with our normal workout routines. We have goals of losing weight, adding muscle mass making our bodies more firm and that’s enough for us. But if you fall into the other percentage you might be looking for that explosive edge.

Plyometrics

What

Plyometrics are doing short bursts of exercise with maximum force. Here is the definition from Wikipedia: “Plyometrics, also known as jump training or plyos, are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power (speed-strength).” Basically what makes a Plyometric is a stretching, or lengthening of the muscle followed by an explosive contraction of that muscle. Think of a jump squat, box jump, or burpee. To do this correctly to get a Plyo benefit, squat down to maximize the stretch of the quads and glutes then explode into the upright position. This is the explosive contraction. Makes sense?

Why

Lets look at the word Plyometric: Plyo, meaning more (Greek) and metrics meaning length (also Greek). More length. Just as I explained above, the muscle being worked is first lengthened, kind of preparing it to explode like when you pull in a tree branch and you can feel it stretch, you can feel the tension build up. Then, after a second, the muscle is contracted and that’s the explosion, like when you let go of the branch. This technique has been around for years used by Eastern Bloc and Soviet trainers back in the 70’s and 80’s. Probably one of the reasons these countries were winning track and field and weight lifting competitions.

Plyometrics also use a key principle: A muscle that is contracted in a short amount of time as possible is a stronger contraction thus producing more energy than a slower contraction. Also, when lengthening the muscle before the explosion more energy is stored in the muscle, like pulling back the string on a bow. Think of it as loading the muscle with energy. Then, the brief pause of a second or just under stores the energy and the energy grows as the muscle is held. That brief pause allows for max storage of energy and also usage of energy.

Options

Most people when thinking of Plyometrics think of box jumps or Plyo Jumps. But you can do Plyometrics anytime where you can lengthen a muscle then explode for the contraction.

Here are some examples:

  • Explosive pushups: Lower your self down just till your chin touches the ground. Hold for  a second. Now explode upwards! Your hands should come off of the ground if you really exploded.
  • Explosive tricep dips: Lower yourself so your tricps are well stretch. Hold for that second then explode upwards.
  • Overhead throw: Standing facing a wall, hold a medicine ball above your head with both hands and bring the ball behind your head feeling the stretch. Now explode as you throw the ball towards the wall. This is great for lats and core.
  • Pull Ups: This is a tough one as you need to have strong back muscles to do pull ups. Holding the bar, let you body relax and stretch. Then, contract your back muscles and explode upwards so much your hands come off the bar. Yes, it’s tough.

And the more obvious ones:

  • Frog jumps or box jumps: just like a frog squat down, pause for that moment, and then explode up and forward. Awesome way to work the quads.
  • Alternating lunges: alternate which leg is forward on your lunge pausing briefly and then explode for the switch.
  • Burpees: Of course burpees, a staple in any full body exercise routine. Think of it as a stationary frog jump. Squatting down and when in that squat shoot your feet behind you like you are in a plank, then shoot them back so you are in the squat position then explode up. Many Plyo’s in this exercise.

Finally

Add Plyo’s to your exercise schedule. A great way to increase fast twitch muscle fiber and a great way to add speed to your body. You’ll be glad you did as you start to see the benefits.

Yours in health,

Darryl

I can lock all my doors

It’s the only way to live

It’s time to embrace the things that help you and the things that enable you to reach your goals and still feel human. I’ve been there myself and from my own hard learned lessons I hope you are able to take some information from this post and make your journey a more comfortable one. If your goal is lofty one, it’s still going to suck but it will help you get through it and come out achieving that goal at the end of the day.

What

As I said earlier I’ve been there myself and I look back at my younger self and I think ‘how stupid was I?”. I was stupid. But I didn’t know better. I’ve always kind of had a bit of a hard head mentality, a ‘I’m going it alone and will get through this’ mentality but that doesn’t always help you. When I used to do a lot of distance running, I would go sometimes 23, 24 miles and replenish only by drinking water. No sports drink, no fuel, just water. Not a good idea especially as I’m a heavy sweater, losing lots of electrolytes. I look back at that and no wonder sometimes I felt like death warmed over when done. But that was then.

Now I’m trying to train smarter. It doesn’t mean you don’t train hard it just mean you don’t feel like yesterdays garbage when doing it and when done.

But I digress. The focus of this post is on using technology to help you achieve your goals and become the athlete you want to be.

How

By taking my knowledge from getting my personal trainer certification it helped me to understand the fuel the body uses and when it uses it. The main source of fuel our body uses is glucose. Glucose, or sugar, is in our blood and is used by our muscle cells for energy. We have only so much glucose and when we use that up, our body converts glycogen into glucose to keep us fueled. This isn’t only when exercising it’s everything we do from breathing walking, and even thinking. Our brain uses a lot of glucose just to do what the brain does. And where do we get glucose from? Carbs baby! That’s just one of the reasons why a low carb diet such as a keto diet is a really bad idea. We need carbs (high quality carbs). Keep it carbed.

So when does this happen, our body running out of glucose and then glycogen? It’s not that long. Looking at the science the recommendation is to consume 60 grams of carbohydrates every hour. To play it safe, if your event is longer than an hour, you probably want to start consuming at the 45 minute point. This will help prevent you from running out of fuel near that 60 minute mark and start to feel the physical fatigue and mental fatigue set in. Think of it as that saying that when you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. And it’s in your best interest to not hit that mark where you feel lethargic. Because what happens? The body is tired and then the mind starts to go. And then it’s an uphill battle, a struggle to get through it.

Endurance sports can be very demanding

Have you heard of the term ‘bonking’? The first time I heard it is when looking into marathons. People ‘bonk’ or ‘hit the wall’ and it’s a struggle to continue. This is the body running out of fuel (glucose). And what does the body do when it has no fuel? Not what you think. Typically when in an endurance event you are working hard because you are competing be it in an event or even against yourself. So your heart rate is not in the ‘fat burning zone’ but in the cardio zone so fat is not an option for fuel. Your body turns on you and starts to metabolize muscle tissue into carbohydrates. You are consuming muscle tissue to fuel your body to complete an event that is to make you a stronger person. When blood glucose gets really low, you may experience hypoglycemia. This is the feeling of extreme tiredness, a near complete loss of energy, the ‘bonk’. When in this state, the body will begin producing cortisol. These hormones break down muscle tissue in order to convert the proteins within to glucose. This will provide the energy to continue exercising, however, cortisol also suppresses the immune system. There goes the muscle mass you worked so hard to add.

No one wants that to happen.

Guide

I’m going to refer you to a web site that has a good guide on how to fuel for your event. I’m not endorsing this company but they do sell the fuel you need. It’s up to you if you use them. This should give you a good idea on what you need for your training or event. Let’s look at an example.

For this example I have chosen an event that takes 5 hours. Here are some of the things they recommend:

  • 2,500 – 3,500 mg’s of sodium
  • 1,500 – 2,000 calories (glucose)
  • 100 – 150 oz of fluid
  • 15000 – 25000MG BCAA (branch chain amino acids)

That equates to 5 gel pouches, 2 energy chews, 2 stroopwafels, a hydration energy mix, 2 energy drink mixes and so on. Go hear to check it out and you can go to the main planner and look at requirements for other events.

Does this seem a lot? It does to me, for sure. Maybe it’s heavy on the requirements because it is a company and they have to make money but they have been around a long time and are well known within the endurance athlete communities. I’ve started using gels myself and I’m going to continue and add more as I go seeing the impact. How do I feel, did they work, did I feel stronger, is my mental will strong and not foggy.

endurance training can be hard

But don’t dismiss this. I’m not getting into science of how our body uses fuel; fatty acid oxidization, aerobic glycolysis, ATP, etc. but this is based on science. Why is it professional athletes and amateur athletes on the olympic level do the same thing? Because it works and it helps them to succeed. That’s how Gatorade came to be. The University of Florida Gator’s head coach went to their team of scientists to address loss of body fluids during football games. This concoction of water, electrolytes, flavour etc. was credited for the Gators Orange Bowl win in 1967.

Finally

It makes sense. Let technology help you. The technology that allows us to no longer have to eat oranges, bananas and other foods to keep fueled during an event. It’s so easy and so much better now and there is no reason to not do it.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

first

Don’t waste it

I was reminded by a few people over the holidays that I’m not big on new years resolutions. It’s true. And it wasn’t until I really thought about it that I realized I’m not a fan because typically new years resolutions don’t last. I read recently that only 8% to as high as 20% of resolutions end up being successful. Not really good numbers. But, what are the changes that people resolved to follow through with? How many of those were to quit smoking, drinking, cutting out junk food? If these are things you do on a regular basis, habits, than the difficulty in following through on them is much higher compared to things such as I’m going to walk for an hour once a week.

Major changes in life style can be hard to accomplish. I think it comes down to the want. How bad do you want it. Do you really want this change. That can help out a lot. I think that’s why people in general are more successful when they are guided along and goals are set for them. Let’s take stretching as an example. I promise to myself to stretch after every workout. Not may people do that. But lets say your workout takes place in an instructor led class. If you are forced to stretch because the instructor includes in it the program than you are almost guaranteed a 100% success rate. But not all of our goals can be addressed this way. So what do we do.

Force the issue

Can you sign up for an event that if you don’t follow through with your goal you will fail or be forced to drop out? If you have read my last couple of posts you see that I have registered for my first marathon. So I know when those days come where motivation is thin (those days will come) I have that reminder, that commitment to follow through on the event.

Letting friends know can have it’s benefits. I bolded the word friends because I want to emphasize that it should be true friends, people that you can count on for support when you have those moments where you feel like you are going to slip. A good friend can help you get past that hump and back onto track. Motivation can also be fear of failure or wanting to prove others wrong. So you can use those people who aren’t really friends too by telling yourself that they will not win, they will not see you fail. For some people this can be a huge motivator. I’m leaning on this a bit myself because I have a point to make that you can do incredible things living on a whole foods plant based diet. Part of my motivation is to prove those people wrong, be a voice for the silent, I already know there are doubters out there and I’m looking forward to crossing that finish line.

Another motivator can be to put yourself in positive role model role. Can your resolution be used to motivate others or be used to show the benefits of doing this? We need good, positive role models out there and you may not realize it but you probably have a large influence in the lives of people you know. Be it that you are around certain people every week or you have a tight bond because they are family can result in a much larger impact. You have more of an influence on these people than some instagram influencer. Hopefully.

You

Why is it you want to do this? Feeling fat, or maybe you are fat? Is there a time where you are at your worst because of this? Then do what you can to remember those things. Put on the clothes that don’t fit any longer. Take pictures of what you look in clothes and what you look like in underwear. Don’t like doing this? Don’t like the fact that you no longer look like what you want? Good! This is your motivation! Use this when you struggle to make the change and keep working on it.

Is there a video you can play that gets you pumped, gets you energized and reminds you of what’s possible? I have one. Watch this if you want some motivation when things get tough. It doesn’t even have to be relative to what you are doing. Two people who could have easily given up on life but decided not to and faced the challenges realizing growth comes from struggle.

It’s up to you. Your destiny, your success lies with you and only you. It’s true! Don’t let the evil part of your mind tell you different. And it will.

All of us have the ability to be what we want to be. You just have to cut out the bullshit and do it. The video above could have easily ended up different, it could have been a whole different story. Write your story the way you want to.

Yours in health,

Darryl

perspective is relative

The journey is about to begin

My last post talked about a goal I have set for this upcoming year, 2019. I’ve committed myself to this goal be it a good idea or a bad idea but I feel it’s time. It’s time I’ve challenged myself because without challenging yourself you don’t grow, you become stagnant, and that’s not good.

And I love a challenge. Years ago I went through basic training and spent 3 years in the military. During that time I volunteered and completed the ships diver course, an intensive physical course that has a drop out rate of 60%. I went back to school in my mid twenties to get  a degree in computer science, not an easy thing to do going back to school as a mature student. Took up running, running long distances but never in an official event. Started training in Karate and received my black belt in under 5 years. Went back to school sort of to become a certified personal trainer. Recently started my course on plant based nutrition from Cornell University. And now I’ve signed up for a marathon at the end of April, my first ‘official’ marathon.

Why?

I’ve been asking myself that question. It wasn’t a compulsive decision, sort of. Because of my roll at the dojo, teaching all ages and being in a somewhat of an influential position, be it that I bring this on myself or because it’s been bestowed onto me, I am a believer that if you talk the talk you need to walk the walk.

I don’t bring up my position on eating a whole foods plant based diet when I am teaching unless I’m asked for nutrition advice, or it somehow comes up otherwise for numerous reasons. But, I’ve been feeling that I’m not a good role model in this regard. I want to be that person that when someone comments that a whole foods plant based diet is incomplete, that you can’t perform at your best, that you ‘need meat’ I’ll prove them wrong. I’ll show them what can be done eating nothing but plants. But I need a point of reference.

But I’m not doing this for me. This isn’t to stroke my ego, not a fan of ribbons, this is to help people become more than they are, to become the best they can be. I can’t do that right now because for too long I’ve neglected the physical side of my training.

Now

I’ve completed all of my physical accomplishments before following a vegan lifestyle. At this point I have no reference for comparison. But that is about to change.15 weeks of training and than time to run 26 miles fueled exclusively from plants.

It’s going to be tough, it’s going to suck. I’m not going to lie and paint this as a walk in the park. I’m heavier than I should be,  too much heavier. Too much beer and potato chips have added the pounds to my frame. But I’ll do it. I have to.

I want to do something that can make a positive change in this world. I want to be leading the 5 mile run on May 4th for our next group of future black belts. I can’t influence everyone but if I can show a few people what eating only plants can do than maybe they’ll see through all the lies perpetuated by the media and society, that we can’t survive without killing animals and consuming them. I know this. More will find out. I’m going to draw a picture the size of a mountain.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Check back here frequently for updates on my progress. This just might become a mini story.

There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker

or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.

I think it’s time.

I first set out to do this back in 2013. I had planned to run a marathon later that year, October in fact. Then, I broke my foot. The break happened the Thursday of Easter weekend. How do I remember that? I remember because I had all of Friday to ice it. I didn’t know it was broken. I iced it through Friday and the weekend thinking it was only heavily bruised. Then Monday still having a large amount of bruising I thought it’d be best to go to the hospital. So I did and I was told of the break. I left the hospital with a removable cast. Did it stop me? Honestly, no. I still trained at the dojo with the cast, going through a couple. Saturday’s work outs were brutally hard being given ‘alternative’ exercises. When I wasn’t at the dojo I would go to the rec centre to get in some laps in the pool. I had to work hard. I was grading for my Nidan (2nd dan black belt) this year and I knew what I was in for.

So I had to do what had to be done to get ready. Didn’t bother me though. I actually kind of loved it. Never really felt like I had to drag my ass up to do these things. It’s just what I had to do and I was going to do it.

I graded and it went well. I went to Okinawa and graded again, and again it went well. But I never did run that marathon. I trained hard that year. A couple times running more than 23 miles at a time, almost a marathon, but not and it really doesn’t count unless there’s a ribbon, right? But I never did the marathon. I think breaking my foot scared me. It made me nervous about a future injury as this was my first break ever.

I haven’t been that Darryl for a while now. And I don’t know why, I really don’t. I can blame work. Work has been consuming a lot of my time, especially the last 2 and a half years. I’ve been teaching a lot more too, but I should be making up that lost time some other way. But right now I’m not the best role model for physical health, I’m not. But that’s changing. I’m going to become the lesson.

I mentioned that I have enrolled in Cornell University’s plant based nutrition certification course, right? I’ve already completed my first segment. So I’m really getting more serious about proper nutrition. I can talk the talk and soon will back it up with proper credentials.

But I want to walk the walk. I want to be that guy. Yeah, I want to be ‘that guy’ but in a good way. I want to the one that people look to and say ‘he’s a machine’ and then they will be even more amazed when they realize that I am doing incredible things AND EATING ONLY PLANTS! NO MEAT, DAIRY, EGGS, FISH.

Then ask the 5 year vegan where he gets his protein. Burpee challenge? I’m in and I’ll kick your ass.

I’m going to be that person who breaks the stereotypes.

Fragile and weak? Nope! No one will be able to tell me that a whole foods plant based diet, for me a vegan life, lacks what we need to be awesome!

ALL ON PLANTS, 100%. NO ANIMALS.

I’m gonna prove it. Watch me.

April 28, 2019 – RACE INFO: ST. JOHN AMBULANCE WATERLOO MARATHON AND ED WHITLOCK HALF MARATHON (ID: 19891)

 

I’m gonna change this world

 

the bridge came up short

Abdominals

Understanding how muscle contraction works can greatly help you in working the muscles you are trying to work. As an example let’s look at the bicep muscle. The bicep muscles (there are 2, hence bicep) originate at the coracoid process (part of the scapula, the shoulder blade) and has an insertion point of the radius bone in your lower arm. To work the bicep muscles we grab an appropriate weight be it a barbell or dumbbell and starting with our arm straight we then bend our arm, bringing the weight up towards our shoulder. Most muscles are worked this way. The muscles will typically cross a joint (the elbow in this example) and we work that muscle by using the joint it crosses. The same with the tricep muscles originating from the humerus (upper arm) and having an insertion point of the ulna (lower arm) crossing the elbow joint. We work the tricep muscles inversely to how we work the bicep muscles. Makes sense.

So knowing this can help in how you work the muscles as the primary movers or secondary movers or stabilizers. Our abdominal muscles are a good example of this. Our abdominal muscles are comprised of the rectus abdominis and the transversus abdominis. The rectus abdominis is what we all understand as our abs, this muscle group is what we see when we have an 8 pack (tough to get, most only achieve a 6 pack). The transversus abdominis we don’t notice that much as sits just below and beind the rectus abdominis but also behind the external and internal obliques. It sometimes is referred to as the girdle muscle as it wraps around transversely. Connected to our illiac crest (pubic area) and the cartilage of the lower ribs it does look like a girdle. With this large muscle having fibers running transversely it is a key component of the core. No joints being crossed.

The rectus abdominis originates at the pubis and inserts on the 5-7th costal cartilages (ribs), and on the xiphoid process of the sternum. No joints being crossed.

So here we have 2 muscle groups that don’t cross any joints in our body. How do we contract the muscles if they don’t cross a joint? Think of that when doing exercises such as leg raises. If the motion of raising and lowering our legs does not cause the concentric or eccentric contraction of our core muscles because those muscles are not connected to our femur (upper leg) bone then how is this an exercise for the core?

This is where it’s up to you. These abdominal muscles will play a stabilizer role in this exercise helping you to keep you core stable as you keep your back on the floor. But, you have to actively think of this, you have to focus on these core muscles engaging and stabilizing your body, your core. What also helps with this is using the isometric contraction to contract the muscles.

planking
planking comes in many ways

Isometric contraction is contracting the muscle without lengthening (eccentric contraction) or shortening (concentric contraction). How can you do this with the abs? Think of tightening your abs as if someone was going to punch you in the gut. The muscles are contracting but not lengthening or shortening. You can also do this: Suck in your abs drawing in your lower abdomen below your naval, and hold it. This is referred to as hollowing or vacuuming. You can do this, and isometric contractions anytime; sitting, standing, working, etc. Do this and hold it for 10 – 15 seconds to start, and be sure to continue to breathe. Then increase the time to 30 seconds, or a minute. Be sure to incorporate this into workouts when planking, etc.

Let’s look at some exercises we can do to strengthen these muscles:

  • Russian twist: Starting seated with knees together and bent, raise your feet about 6 inches off of the floor and lean back slightly. Twist from side to side keeping your core tight in that vacuum state and as you twist bring both hands over try to touch the ground.
  • Plank: Staring laying down on your belly lift your body up onto your elbows and toes. Keep you hips up imagining a line from your shoulders to your ankle and your hips intercepting that line. Keep the belly sucked in actively engaging the transversus abdominis. To add difficulty lift a hand up straight out ahead and to add even more difficulty do the same with a leg lifting the opposite foot off of the ground  keeping the leg straight.
  • Crunches: If is very important to keep a neutral spine while doing crunches. This means not pulling on your head and curving the spine while crunching. Most people do this because it makes it easier and makes us feel like we are being successful. Doing more of something that can hurt us is not being successful. Keeping your spine in a neutral position put your hands by your ears and look straight up. Now, bending at the hips, contracting your abs, lift your shoulders up off the ground. Now, lower back down but don’t let your shoulders touch the ground! Keeping the load on the abs by not letting your shoulders touch the ground thus eliminating the rest is really hard but this is what will get you a strong  transversus abdominis and will help prevent back injuries and will also help in giving you that flat stomach most people are looking for. Technique is key as always

Working muscles that don’t cross a joint is harder as it requires much more concentration and focus since it’s not as easy as moving a limb. YOU HAVE TO ACTIVELY ENGAGE THE MUSCLES BY ISOMETRIC CONTRACTION OR BY HOLLOWING. Not doing these things will result in putting in lots of time but not getting the results you want and need.

This post is just the beginning of building a strong core. My plan is to break it down even further in upcoming posts. But this should get you started and covers enough to give you a strong back supporting core.

And remember, if a muscle does not bridge a joint, bending a joint does not work it directly.

Yours in health,

Darryl