wash away the rain…

Dedicated to an amazing artist

Today is the Monday following an amazing 4 days with people I train with on a regular basis and people I have trained with over the years in Okinawa Japan, the United States and so on. The reason for this was our 2nd annual Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan camp up here in Canada. An amazing camp and amazing people. Before I get into the heart of this post I want to say the following: I have never met and I don’t think I will ever meet people more special and incredible than people in the Shorinkan. I have had 3 trips to Okinawa with these people where you are spending about 18 hours a day with each other, in the extreme heat, tired most times, hungry sometimes and it’s never been a bad experience. I’ve had people I don’t even know stay in my house, have left my car with someone I met for the first time, have been in various states of inebriation and have always made it home safe and sound. Words cannot express it well enough but I had to say it.

Ok, now onto the post. As with all of our karate camps, there is lots of soreness, bruises, muscle strains from the intense training. You cannot go through the lessons lightly otherwise you will never understand the techniques and how effective they are. It’s not applying techniques at 100% but at a rate that you know the technique has been done to you. And if you are lucky you get to have a technique applied from a Kyoshi who knows the technique very well. I was fortunate this weekend and my right quad is still a little tender. The technique dropped me like a rock but from having that applied I will never forget it.

So what can we do to help heal these pains or just ease the stiffness and soreness? Keep reading to find out.

  • H2O – The preventive measure is to drink plenty of water. Your body is made up of water and not having enough water in your body will prevent the process of removing waste and providing nutrients from and to your muscles running from running efficiently. What colour is your pee? If it’s darker than straw you are not getting enough water.
  • Heat – As long as there isn’t any swelling, apply heat. Heat will help the blood flow to the damaged area and speed up recovery and healing. Apply heat for 15 minutes, than remove heat for 30 minutes. Follow this process for about a few hours. Caution: Keep the level of heat bearable. Too hot of heat can damage your skin and possibly burn you.
  • Epsom salts – Put about 2 cups of Epsom salts into a hot bath and soak for at least 15 minutes or longer if you like. The warm bath will feel soothing and relaxing and will also speed up healing by increasing blood flow to the damaged areas. The adding of Epsom salts to the water breaks down the Epsom salts into Magnesium and Sulfate which is believed to then be absorbed by the body and aid in healing. It hasn’t been proven but who cares, the warm bath in itself is quite relaxing on it’s own and it feels great. Add some essential oils to the bath to add a calming sent. I guarantee you will feel better as the calming sent also calms the mind.
  • Rest – The body needs to recover and rebuild following the abuse you just gave it. Rest helps with this process of rebuilding injured areas. It’s not always easy to get the time to rest but don’t let yourself feel guilty by sleeping in. It’s about balance. If you are someone who trains hard, abuses your body through that hard work and other things such as kumite you have to sleep to recover. If you don’t sleep, you risk over training and all that comes with that. You even risk injury.
  • Avoid Alcohol – Not always easy to do. Who doesn’t want a few beers after a long day of training? That’s when they taste the best and usually after a long day of training is a long night of socializing (there goes the sleep you need). There isn’t anything good alcohol has for our body. Basically it’s a poison. Hops are barely are great for us, right? Ok, I’m trying to justify it as best as I can but even though beer has some great things in it (especially Guinness – lots of heartiness in that stout) it just doesn’t out way the negatives. If you do drink, do it in moderation. Your body will thank you.


That’s about it. I’m sure there are other options out there but I tried to keep the list short and also keep it to natural remedies. The more reading/research I do the more I’m stepping away from chemicals, things that can hurt us more than heal us. Call me a hippie. I’m ok with that.

One final note. This post takes me to just over 190 posts! I’ve had periods where the posts where almost writing themselves, sometimes posting 4 times a week. And I have periods where I haven’t posted in a month’s period.

When I see that I’ve written this many articles it’s hard for me to believe. I’ve never considered myself a writer, never thought I would have a blog and never thought I’d be able to write this many articles. I guess sometimes we don’t know what we are capable of.

Funny how all this started from a Coracobrachialis muscle…

Yours in health,




I don’t know my right from left

Working hard and not gaining muscle? Frustrated? Thinking you’ll never gain anymore muscle? Absolutely it can be frustrating to put everything into your workout but not make any gains. It’s hopeless isn’t it. You’re going to stay at this weight forever. Unless you change what it is you are doing.


Five pounds. Five pounds of muscle in 4 weeks. How would you feel if you added five pounds of muscle onto your body? I’m thinking you’ll feel awesome and you’ll be surprised that you were able to add muscle.

It can be done. It’ll be hard work, dedication, and sticking to a schedule but I know you can do it. And the four weeks will go by so fast it won’t seem like an inconvenience at all.


So what can be done in four weeks? What needs to be done that I haven’t already been doing? Let me lay it out for you and see if you have been doing some of these things that have been negatively impacting your growth.

Reps. How many repetitions are you doing when working out? 10, 15, 20? Are you doing so many reps because you want to work harder? That’s ok, but by doing a high amount of repetitions, your body will not add the muscle you are looking to add. Instead of doing higher reps, lower the amount of reps and increase the amount of sets to add muscle. Stick between 4 to 8 reps and increase the amount of sets to 4 – 8 based on the number of sets you would like to do. Higher reps do work your muscles but it will not facilitate the adding on of muscle.

Failure. Are you stuck in the world of numbers? The program says to do 8 to 12 reps, and you get to 12 and stop. Could you have done more? Yes? Than you need to add weight so when you get to the maximum rep you are fatigued and have to reach in deep to pull off that final rep. Your muscles respond better and will grow when worked to failure.

Progression. Try to add weight every workout. It can be a small amount of weight; 2.5, 5lbs based on the activity you are doing. Let’s look at the bench press. If you are benching 100lbs, 5lbs is 5% of the weight you are currently using. The benefit is it’s a small increase, your body will respond due to working harder to work with this weight and you are making gains! If anything it’s a boost to your self esteem and could help keep you motivated.

Sleep. What is the easiest thing you can do to add muscle? Yeah, sleep. Although it’s easy to do, it may be hard to get it. But let’s try for four weeks. Shoot for 8 hours every night if you can. During sleep your body produces more human growth hormone then during the day when you are awake. This is also when your muscles are repairing from the stress you’ve put them through during your workout.

I know it can be hard to get eight hours of sleep. We have to work, than we have things we need to get done when we come home from work. And what if you can’t get to sleep? Try these things and see if it helps. Leave your electronics out of the bedroom. Just the light off of electronic devices can interfere with sleep. If you tend to snack in the evening, snack on something that is high in protein such as almond butter, peanut butter or have a protein shake. This helps to regulate your blood sugar and could lead to a deep sleep. Breathe in deeply through your nose then release by breathing out of your mouth. This should help in calming the body and mind. But there is one thing you don’t want to do, don’t stress out if you are having troubles sleeping. Stress if not released is not healthy for us as it produces cortisone, the stress hormone. We need this hormone for the fight or flight reaction when the situation calls for it but if we don’t react either way, our body will continue to produce cortisone which is detrimental to our health.

Eating. I’m going to call this the second easiest thing to do. And who doesn’t love to eat. How many calories are you consuming daily? Don’t know? You need to find out, and write it down. Keep track over a couple ‘normal’ days to see what your caloric intake is. Then add 500 calories to your day. Ideally you want to consume these calories by eating protein rich foods. Peas, quinoa, tofu are foods all high in protein. If you think about the process of adding muscle by breaking down the muscle you have, and then the body repairs the muscle adding to it, how would it do this without the adequate amount of protein? Also, if you have been maintaining the same body weight even though you are active, adding 500 calories should result in weight gain regardless. And that’s the whole idea of this post.

What you don’t want to do is snack on processed carbs. Eating processed carbs will increase your blood sugar causing your body to create more insulin to counter the increase in blood sugar which can lead to disease due to inflammation. If your 500 calories are going to be partially comprised by carbs, stick to complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, whole fruits, or whole grains.

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I don’t know what else to say other than that’s it. Low reps, more calories, sleep, overloading.

Four weeks. 28 days. How fast did your last four weeks go by? I’m thinking fast. Look at each day on it’s own. Live only in that day. For four weeks take each day as a separate unit. There is no tomorrow, there is only today. Then deal with tomorrow tomorrow. Then do the same. That’s all you can do. By living in each day you will find that tomorrow doesn’t matter and you will achieve what you wanted for that day. If you look too far ahead it can become overwhelming and you could lose focus.

Tomorrow will always be there.

Yours in health,