reasons only knew

And I heard everything
Now here I go…

Every 18 months the amount of transistors that could be put onto a computer’s processor would double. Basically that would mean that every 18 months computers performance would double. This has been the case for years.

Along with the increase in speed came the decrease in size, technology getting smaller. Smart phones have been coming with quad core processors for a while now. Recently at CES Intel showcased a system on a chip the size of a shirt button. The device will be used to power wearables along with other devices that need to be on. Computers in a sense are getting smaller and smaller and will continue to do so.

By now you are probably wondering what this has to do with fitness. Or you are thinking that I have totally forgotten that I am supposed to be writing a fitness blog. I’m ok, so don’t worry.

What it is

Just like we have smart phones, smart watches, etc., technology has made its way into the fitness world. Technology has already been there in the sense of heart rate monitors, timers, applications that run on your smart phone to track your runs, etc. But we are getting into a new area where performance feedback will be at your fingertips capturing important metrics, and in some cases capturing these metrics all day.

Clothing embedded with sensors analyzing your body’s metrics, fitness bands that monitor your activity level, and monitor your sleep. Socks that track your run. These devices are getting smaller and less obtrusive to wear. It’s coming to the point that all you need to do is put on a shirt and your vitals are monitored.

The new

Fitness bands. From monitoring heart rate, activity level, to sleep patterns. Personally, I think everyone would benefit from a heart rate monitor, at the least to prevent over training. Heart rate monitors are vital if you are serious about building your cardio or if you compete. It’s an easy way to know you are working at the intensity you need to. If you knew that your performance would increase by 10% in the same amount of time, or your recovery time would be less if you used one, would you? Another benefit of a fitness band is some of them will let you compete with others. You can share your results using social media, or you can compete against others who use the same band. It can be a fantastic motivator.

Sensoria offers socks that have sensors that tell you how far, how fast and also how well you ran. They have shirts and sports bras that will communicate to a heart rate monitor. No more having to wear a strap around your chest to monitor heart rate.

And what about a device the size of a band aid that you can wear 24×7 to provide feedback daily such heart rate, body temperature, exercise load. With this data you can train in the correct exertion zone and also be alerted if you are over training which can prevent sickness and or injury.

 

The road

Where is all this going? I believe that we are on the cusp of technology being integrated into fitness for everyone. Devices and the tech behind them are getting smaller and smaller and this is being done with what we understand about tech and with our current technology architecture if you will. Some people believe we are close to harnessing the functionality of quantum computing which will be the equivalent of moving from horse and buggy to a formula 1 race car. Also we have seen over the last 10 years more and more use of nano technology. I think we are not far from being able to swallow a tracking device that will communicate our performance and vitals to a wearable device.

 

Luddite

Some people may see this as a bad thing, or unnecessary. I guess it depends. If you are training to make gains be it strength and size, or improving cardio fitness, how will you know how you did if you haven’t measured your performance or body feedback? To take something I heard today, “working out is not rocket science”, but it is science especially if you want results and aren’t happy doing something that may hinder your results or slow down the process of getting these results.

How many people stop training due to over training at the beginning? What if those people had the technology to alert them when they hit the level that brought them out of the target area they should have been training? Would they have continued? Maybe.

How about using peer pressure and competition to keep motivated? These devices can give you that.

Choices

Do you need this technology to train? No. Do you need this technology to train smart? I believe so. Think of that red zone on your tachometer in your car. You stay away from that red zone, hopefully, because going into it is not good for the engine. Then why do we let our body go into the red zone.

If you are interested in some of the technology I have listed, decide what it is you want to monitor, or what features you are looking for and see what’s available that meets those needs.

Think of it as a small investment in your health and well-being. Believe me, you are worth it.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

Slow and Steady Wins…

Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Ok, I admit, this is probably not a title you would expect for a post on a blog having to do with fitness and health. Especially today. We live in a society that has a go go go mentality. Fast food, fast internet, texting. We live in a society where we want results now! People get impatient when a web page takes more than a couple of seconds to load, or someone will send a text and wonder why they haven’t had a reply, you know, it’s already been a minute!

Along with all this comes our expectations with fitness, and health to a lesser degree. A lot of people want fast results. Although it took them 1, 2, 5 years or longer to get to where they are today, they expect to be back to perfect health, or have that killer body within a few weeks. It just isn’t reasonable to think these things, especially if you are looking for results that will stay with you a year, 2, or 3 or a lifetime from now. In fact it can be dangerous. If you are looking for fast results, that can lead to people making dangerous decisions, such as drastic calorie reduction changes to their diet that can have long term negative impact. People will get hooked on the latest exercise regimen; Palates, Zumba, px90, etc. By no means am I disparaging these programs. If they work for you, then great! My point is people will look to these programs to get fast results, not always realizing that they are made up of techniques, methods that have been around a long time. Yes, there are methods to exercising that can increase positive results sooner, but you still need to put in the time, and work. I am a strong proponent of exercising smartly, and along with that comes putting in the hard work.

That’s one point I wanted to make about how ‘fast’ is not always the best approach to your health and fitness. The other point is how speed plays a role in our actual workout. I want to talk about how this applies to resistance training, and cardio training.

Resistance Training

Lets look at common goals and benefits of resistance training; increased strength, increased muscle size, improved coordination, increased bone strength, increased resting metabolic rate. There are more, but lets stick with these ones. Excellent goals. So in the spirit of this post, how do we get there sooner? Let’s start by not getting caught up in numbers. Getting stuck on numbers when resistance training will impede us reaching our goals, and can also be dangerous. By getting stuck on numbers I am referring to how much can I bench press/squat/etc? How many pushups can I do? Why is my friend using more weight that I am? Why am I always the last in my class to finish the pushup challenge?

Why do we do this? Because we are human! By nature we are competitive. No one wants to be last. We all grew up being told not to be last whether in sports, class, etc. Let’s look at a quote from a famous football coach:

Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

To me, this quote means something different than how it has been used over the years to motivate people, teams. I’ll tell you what it mean to me at the end of this post. But, back to the whole speed thing.

Why is getting caught up in numbers bad? Because most times it means we sacrifice technique, because to get those numbers we end up rushing through our pushups, not using full technique, we add more weight to the bar, speeding up and sometimes swinging the bar to pull in other muscle groups to help with the lift (this is the dangerous part). Ultimately we end up increasing the time it will take to reach our goals. Unbelievable isn’t it, we end up sabotaging ourselves, not even realizing it.

Slow down

Instead of worrying about numbers, let’s slow down and use proper technique. If you aren’t sure or have questions about technique for any exercise, talk to a personal trainer. A great way of slowing down is to adopt a cadence when doing your exercise. I recommend the following cadence: 2:1:4:0. I’ll explain this using pushups. Let’s start our pushups with our body on the ground. Now slowly raise your body using the first number of our cadence 2, for the count to reach the top of the movement. This is the concentric movement of the exercise. Hold for one second (2nd number), then lower for 4 seconds (the third number) being sure to lower until your arms are bent at 90 degrees. This is the eccentric movement of the push up. Now, do not rest, that’s why the last number is 0. Right back into your next push up.

A lot tougher isn’t it! I have no doubt that you will find your pushups much harder to do, and you will not be able to do as many. But that’s awesome! That’s why you do resistance training. You are training smart, and enabling yourself to get to your goal sooner! The slower pace is working your muscles harder, and it is much easier to execute proper technique, and not get injured. Try this with other exercise such as squats, lat pull downs. Remember the formula though, and which number is for the concentric and eccentric part of the exercise. If you aren’t sure which is the concentric movement, and which is the eccentric, consult with a personal trainer, and they can help you.

Cardio Training

The same principle can be applied to cardio training, such as running, cycling, etc. As I mentioned in another article, you don’t want to train cardio at the same pace, all the time. You need to mix it up. HIITS, slow long runs, tempo runs, hills, etc. But, keeping in mind that speed can be bad, when doing faster runs as an example, do not sacrifice technique for speed! You may get injured immediately, or even worse is ending up with an injury down the road due to repetitive strain because of improper technique. When you are not able to perform the proper technique, other muscles will be recruited to meet the demand, muscles that typically are not used for this purpose, thus risking injury. Posture will get compromised, excessive loads can be placed on your joints. All bad things.

When speed is ok

I love talking about training smart. The more we understand about training, the better we become, and we win! Less injuries, obtaining our goals, feeling better. Let me use my own experience as an example on when speed is ok. If you have read my bio, you know I spend time studying and practicing Karate. One of the kicks we work on is called a round house kick. A very common kick, but like anything, it can take a long time to get it to work well. A technical kick that a lot of things have to work together to perform it well. So we spend a lot of time focusing on the technique of the kick. Breaking it down into individual elements. When practicing this kick for technique, it’s a slower kick.

In my Saturday combat fitness class, we will take that kick and speed it up and get probably 3 to 4 times as many kicks on the heavy bag than when I practice this kick as a Karate student. Why? In this example from my Saturday’s class, it’s more a cardio drill than a technique drill. The purpose is to exhaust you, to get you to that point that you are so tired you may only be able to get in one more kick. So as a student in both classes, I have to understand the purpose of the drill, or exercise. This is training smart. It’s understanding the goal of the exercise.

Be slow, be smart

“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” I said earlier that I would explain what this means to me. To me, winning isn’t how I do compared to others, it’s how I do compared to the Darryl from the last workout. Did I do the best I can do? It doesn’t mean I had to perform more pushups, or do more superman squats, or more round house kicks. It’s did I do the best I can do.

You can’t expect to always do better number wise (remember, don’t get hung up on numbers) because your body just doesn’t work that way. You may not have enough energy stores in your body for this workout, you may be having a stressful day, and you may not have had adequate sleep. But what you can do is do your best, everytime!

I think that’s a fair thing to ask of yourself, don’t you? You know why? Because you owe it to yourself, and don’t let anyone tell you different!

Yours in health,

Darryl