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,



consumed by my quest I am blind to all obsticles

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.

We work out for a number of reasons. To feel better, for our health, because it feels good, to change and shape our body much like an artist works with clay. Whatever the reason, whatever goal we are trying to achieve cannot be achieved by only working out. Rest, nutrition, and training smart.

We do all these things. We are keeping on top of what needs to be done. But for whatever reason we have had to take a break from our work outs. Maybe an injury, maybe other priorities came up and you have been out of action for about a month to six weeks.

The time has passed and you are ready to start training again. You’re going to jump right in there right were you left off, right? Don’t be so quick. It might not be a good idea.

You aren’t what you used to be

We want to jump right in right where we left off. But of course that’s not possible. During your time off your muscles have not been challenged, your cardiovascular system isn’t what it used to be. If you have had time off you are probably already aware of how fast we lose our cardio performance. The cardio vascular system is quite robust. It takes about 7 hours for your cardio system to recover from a workout. But the flip side of that is we lose cardio performance quickly.

The risk

If you try to work out at the same intensity as you were before you had a break you risk a number of things; sickness, injury or putting yourself right back where you were. It’s a tough thing to do. It’s hard to face the realization that your performance isn’t what it used to be. But we have to put that aside and ease into it.

The good news is if you already have a solid base, you have been working out for about 6 months or more, you will get back to you were quicker than it took you to get there. You just need to be patient, and take your time knowing you will get there.

The things you can do

Ease into it. If you were working out 5 – 6 days a week before your layoff, start off working out 3 days a week for the first and second week. The following 2 weeks add another day or two. Listen to your body and understand where you are. If you are excessively tired, or feeling exhausted then pull back a bit.

Don’t be so competitive. If you work out in a class or group environment, don’t get caught up in what others are doing. The only person you need to compete with is yourself.

Rest. Be sure to get an adequate amount of sleep. The body needs this to recover and repair the body.

Eat properly.  You should already be doing this. Be sure to properly replenish your body after a workout. Try to consume a ratio of 4:1 of carbs and protein for the post workout meal.

Don’ worry. Relax and enjoy the fact that you are back! In the big picture, 6 weeks is nothing, a miniscule slice of your life.

Congratulate yourself. You made the decision to continue working out instead of turning that short layoff into a long layoff, or a permanent layoff. You should feel really good about that! Sometimes something like this is the catalyst of the decision to no longer work out. But you are here! You are one of the few.

It’s all good

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to take it easy and gradually ease back into things. I’m guilty of this myself. If you are the same, look at that as a positive and not a negative. To me, it means you have a heart full of passion and you know what it is you want and nothing is going to get in your way. I’d rather have these traits than the alternative.

Embrace it. Try to temper it if you can. But, never let that part of you go. It’s part of what you are.

Yours in health,