And I tread a troubled track

My odds are stacked…

Primary movers. The muscles we primarily work, and think about when doing a particular exercise. For example, when doing leg squats, we are thinking about our legs, our quads. Same when doing push ups, we are concentrating, or maybe thinking of other things, of working our chest muscles.That’s pretty normal. But, we should realize that there are other muscles at work when doing any exercise. These muscles are the secondary muscles involved in the exercise. It’s good to be aware of this because it can help you.

This is one of the reasons why I’m a proponent of full body exercising and an opponent of exercises that isolate muscles. Let me be clear, I don’t oppose all isolation exercises. Some isolation exercises will involve secondary muscles but some isolation exercises totally isolate a muscle. Look at the preacher curl, or the seated leg press for example. You are leg pressing weight while seated, removing your core muscles from the exercise. How often do we use our legs without using our core? Probably never. So why would we exercise our legs removing our core from the exercise? Personally I think it’s out of fear. People can be intimidated by the squat rack. Or afraid of losing control while doing the exercise. So people then go to the seated leg press to work their legs, and then end up injuring their back while doing something trivial. Why? Because the core muscles have not been built up along with their legs. They still have a weak core. And speaking of core, let’s remember that the core is not only the abs. They are your muscles from the neck down to the knees. All muscles; back, abs, etc.

I often see people put their hands on their knees when doing alternating leg lunges. They just removed their core from the exercise and passed on the opportunity to build their core along with their legs. When doing pushups, often people will let their middle drop. The hips sink below the line from their shoulder to their heal. By not focusing on their core along with their chest, they lost the opportunity to build their core.

Let’s go back to isolation vs full body. How many times in our day to day do we do something where the muscles are isolated? Not too often. Full body exercises, engaging the primary movers AND secondary muscles (stabilizers) help us in our day to day by strengthening the muscles that are involved when lifting something heavy, or doing something of a lengthy duration, such as a long strenuous hike.

Lastly

Remember, train hard but train smart. Training smart will result in benefits sooner, and will result in more benefits. If you are going to take an hour out of your day to exercise, make that hour count. Maximize it and get the most out of it. You are the one who benefits so why wouldn’t you do this?

And lastly, I don’t know how many posts remain in the future. I’m coming up to 4 years of writing this blog. I’m actually surprised that I have written as many posts as I have.

My goal in doing this was to help people. I don’t think it’s working though as you need people to read your blog to benefit from it. Sometimes it feels like I’m yelling into a canyon, my voice travelling far out there, but no one to hear it. Comments are comprised of spam, and nothing more.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

in your eyes I have read

‘And of mountains that burn in the night…’

 

My writing as of late, or more like the last 6 months has to do with attitude, has to do with our mental state. Why? Because I think of all things our mental state is the most important tool we have when it comes to our well being. Our health relies on it. That’s how important it is. I’ve really come to realize this over the last year as I have been struggling with finding motivation and I have been struggling to do the things I used to do. Most people wouldn’t agree with this because most people don’t see that in me. I’m really good at separating what I feel with what I show externally. I have to be. I teach martial arts 4 to 5 days a week to over 125 students and I have to be that motivational force. Teaching martial arts is not only teaching technique but also elevating students to be their best and mentoring our future leaders. But I know what it’s like to have self doubt. I know what it’s like to feel fear competing against others. I know what it’s like to listen to that voice telling you that tomorrow you will do your workout instead of today. If life was easy all of us would excel at it.

What

So maybe that’s why I have been focusing on these things. And it is in my nature to help people. I want to help people. I’m not the best teacher, I don’t have any formal training teaching and maybe my passion to help people makes up for that deficit. This is why I keep writing about this topic. I want you to be the best version of you you can be. That doesn’t mean you won’t fail along the way. We all fail. Failing makes us better, stronger and more resilient. Well, more specifically it’s how you handle your failure. Do you get back up on your feet and try again? I hope so. That’s the part that makes you stronger.

Let’s get to it then shall we?

How

I think inevitably you become more like the people you associate with or you end up breaking away from them. One or the other. Very much like the saying ‘the bad apple spoils the bunch’. Surround yourself with people who have overcome adversity and you will more likely overcome your adversities. Surround yourself with people who complain about how tough and unfair things are and you will become a complainer. You will never come up with a solution but instead live in that world of making up excuses as to why you can’t do this or do that or the world is so unfair. You will never change your circumstances.

I see a lot of this at work. I see people who have been at the same position for a number of years and complain about people who make more then them because they moved forward in their roll. One person I was in a meeting with had a perfect opportunity to grow in their roll by playing more of a manager roll but refused to asking me to instead. Why? Because they said I’m good at it and have been doing it for a long time. I tried to encourage that person to take on this roll, since they are the ‘lead’ on this item. It was a good opportunity for this since it was myself, a representative from a company on the phone and this person. No real pressure at all. It wasn’t like we were in a room with VP’s and a bunch of people. But they refused. They wanted to live in that comfortable world of theirs refusing to push on the walls to expand. I ended up being the manager on that call and that person lived in the safe, comfortable world they know and probably will always live there never grasping as to why they don’t move forward. And the continue to complain.

You have to get out of that comfort zone. Your comfort zone. You will never grow as a human being, as an individual if you don’t. As much as it sucks thinking about it at the time you have to tell yourself to get over the fear and do it. How else do you know what lies on the other side? How else will you become what you want to be?

I did this myself about 2 months ago. I was given the opportunity to train at an MMA club that trains amongst the general public, UFC fighters. Every week I go and every week I get my ass handed to me. This is top level grappling and wrestling. I expect this to happen but when it does it sucks. Sometimes I win and I have to remind myself not to make a big deal out of it, I have to keep it contained. But mostly it’s dealing with defeat. But I know I am getting better each time and I know if I don’t do this I’m living in that comfort zone I talked about. I’m not growing as a martial artist and I’m not growing as a teacher. How can I sincerely tell my students that they have to suck it up and deal with the defeat when I put them up against a stronger student? How can I tell them it will help them grow when I’m not willing to do the same?

Why

You become what you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with negative people and you will become negative. Have you ever been there? Something really good happens to you, something that is extraordinary and instead of support you get made fun of or the significance of that event is downplayed? They want to bring you back to their level because you just make them uncomfortable. You scared them because you may not be one of them anymore and that scares them. If you listen to them you will get sucked back in, you will continue to develop and reinforce your self doubt.  My dad was like that. As a kid I was constantly reminded how stupid I was and everything I did was wrong. It wasn’t until I was in my adult years that he was able to come to terms with what he did to me and my siblings and apologize for how he was back then.

It can be your dad, your mom, your best friend, your husband, your wife. It can be anyone. It can be you.

Change

So what can we do to change it? First you want to have to change it. You have to want it. That’s the start because you need to believe in it. You need to believe in yourself. Believe you can do it. You can follow on social media people who inspire you. There are many out there. Rich Roll, John Joseph, Paul de Gelder, Jack LaLanne, Nick Diaz and so on. There are many people who have faced adversity in their lives and have accomplished amazing things. If your friends are people who hold you back, don’t support you then they are not your friends. They only keep you as a friend to reaffirm their negative thoughts about themselves. Start surrounding yourself with people who believe in you, people who support you and say ‘you got this’, ‘you are awesome and can do it’. Those are the things you need to hear.

Stop listening to words of doubt. ‘You’ll never be able to do that, your too soft’, ‘You’re a woman, you can’t do that’, ‘You’re too old to do that’, ‘You suck’, ‘You’re an idiot’, ‘Why do you want to do that, it’s stupid!’, ‘You’re crazy, you’ll kill yourself doing that’, ‘You can’t do that, you’re not cut out for it’. We hear it in many forms, from many people.

Ask yourself this: What makes you different from anyone else who has done amazing things? What makes them so special? Are they different from you? Are they super human beings? I hope you came up with the right answer and if you didn’t you need to reevaluate. Just like those seeds of doubt were planted and were nurtured and grew, so can the seeds of positivity.

Free the mind and the body will follow.

I read this in a book and it really resonated with me. I think it speaks a lot to how we are afraid to break away from what is the norm and feeling accepted by our peers. If this happens to you then you might want to find new friends:

“There was once a beloved king whose castle was on a high hill, overlooking his shire. He was so popular that the nearby townspeople sent him gifts daily, and his birthday celebration was enjoyed throughout the kingdom. The people loved him for his renowned wisdom and fair judgments.
One day. tragedy struck the town. The water supply was polluted, and every man, woman, and child went insane. Only the king, who had a private spring, was spared.
Soon after the tragedy, the mad townspeople began speaking of how the king was acting “strangely” and how his judgments were poor and his wisdom a sham. Many even went so far as to say that the king had gone crazy. His popularity soon vanished. No longer did the people bring him gifts or celebrate his birthday.
The lonely king, high on the hill, had no company at all. One day he decided to leave the hill and pay a visit to the town. It was a warm day, so he drank from the village fountain.
That night there was a great celebration. The people rejoiced, for their beloved king had “regained his sanity.”
I want you to ignore that voice you hear telling you you can’t do it. I wan’t you to ignore that voice telling you that you are no good. I want you to listen to the voice you know is there. The voice telling you you can do it. That voice is the voice you need to hear all the time The other voice needs to be suffocated and distinguished.
I see it in you, I know what you can do, why don’t you see it?
Yours in health,
Darryl