Quit Tomorrow – Fight Today

Here is a great article from one of my favorite nutrition coaching sources: Precision Nutrition. I have learned a lot from John Berardi through his lectures, emails, and videos. This is an insert from one of their guest articles. To see the full article, visit their website at: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/motivation-quit-tomorrow

“In Special Operations Forces selection we used to have a saying:
“Finish out today and quit tomorrow.” SOF selection is essentially a system of heavy-duty hazing, ruthlessly tormenting a bunch of people until most of them drop out. During this intensive process, it’s so tempting to tell yourself that The run is too far. The water is too cold. My arms are too weak to do one… more… pushup… unnnggghh. It’s so tempting to tell yourself: It doesn’t matter. It’s not worth it. Nothing is worth this pain or boredom. So what’s the secret to staying the course?

Quitting. Later, that is.

My buddies and I promised each other we’d never quit in the middle of an evolution. At least, we’d wait until the end of the day, when the intensity of the moment had passed. The carrot of quitting dangled enticingly in front of us. A little treat, the promise of eventual relief to keep us going. It was just a little farther away. Of course, at the end of the day, we’d look back on the incident that had made us want to quit, realize it wasn’t so bad – and feel good about our decision to continue. Invariably, this simple trick would pull us through. We didn’t quit today. And every one of us made it through selection.

The Opposite Rule
In our coaching programs, we often like to use the Opposite Rule: If what you’re doing isn’t working, try the opposite. (Ridiculously simple, we know. But it works.) Most of us have told ourselves: I’ll start ___ tomorrow. [Insert one or more of the following self-improvement projects: running, getting up early, eating healthy, being nicer to my in-laws, learning Swahili, etc.] “Starting tomorrow” — while it’s a great way to begin — also often lets us justify poor decisions today. So what about trying the opposite? Instead of “start tomorrow”, how about: “Quit tomorrow”? You’re going to have moments of weakness when you want nothing more than a bag of chips or a package of Twinkies. Days when you can barely drag yourself to the gym. It’s only once. It can’t really hurt. It’s not so bad. The mind is remarkably adept at coming up with justifications. But this decision won’t stand on its own. Every choice you make lays neural groundwork that will bias your future decisions. Eventually, you’re the sum of your habits. No more, and no less.

So, my advice when you want to give up is this: Quit tomorrow.

Nourish yourself with healthy food today. Get yourself to the gym and do that set today. And tomorrow, if you want that Pop Tart or you need a rest, go ahead and take it. But I’m betting the urge to quit will be gone. Instead, when tomorrow dawns, you’ll feel just a bit healthier, a little less dependent on sugar, a little stronger. And you’ll be one step closer to your goals.”

So, let’s fight today and see the results from putting in 100% effort. Tomorrow, you can quit.

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Foundations of Strength – Bear Crawls

It is amazing to watch my son grow and develop movement patterns.  I look at him learning new skills and stare in awe at the beauty of his movements.  They may not be fluid right off the bat, but he begins to build on his foundations to become stronger and more efficient.  Right now, he is in the process of learning to walk.  He is an exceptional crawler and can move very quickly and efficiently.  He is mastering the bear crawl, and performs it better than some of my high school/college athletes!  Here is a video of my son bear crawling (he ends his route with a downward dog- how I wish I could have that flexibility!).

A bear crawl is a great movement prep warm up exercise.  It works the entire body and gets the heart pumping as well.  They are also a great starting point for learning how to perform a push-up.  Once you have mastered a bear crawl for an extended period of time, you can take the next step to standing planks (then eccentric push-ups, then incline push-ups, then full push-ups).  Bear crawls are great for every athlete in every sport because is focuses on the anterior chain (shoulders, chest, trunk, hips, quads, etc).  I use bear crawls with my clients and athletes as part of their movement preparation.  I typically have them perform about 20 yards of bear crawls and once they perform that well, we begin going backwards.  Incorporate bear crawls into your daily workout prep… you won’t be sorry!

Favorite Equipment

Since moving to Hawaii I have met many people.  Inevitably, when talking with someone new the topic of jobs arise and when they find out I am a personal and athletic trainer, they usually ask me my favorite exercise or piece of equipment.  My go-to response is the TRX suspension trainer.  It is easy to hang in a home or outdoors, it can easily fit in a suitcase, and you can workout your entire body using just this one piece of equipment.  The TRX suspension trainer uses gravity and your own body weight for intensity, and allows for many exercises to be performed.  This morning, I did most of my workout on the TRX: hamstring curls, oblique planks, reverse flys, rows, atomic pushups, 1 leg elevated squats, 1 arm pull and rotation, pikes, and tricep extensions.  It felt great!  The company is a great resource for exercises and they even have a yoga exercise set.  It is pretty incredible.  So, if you are looking for just one piece of equipment, whether its for your home gym or something to travel with, I advise you to pick up a TRX suspension trainer.  Great quality and excellent rewards!

Take Control

There are so many things in our lives that we cannot control, but conversely there are many situations that we can influence for our benefit.  One of those situations is school and another is sports.  In school, we cannot control what information we may be tested on but we can control how much we study and the amount of effort we put into our studying habits.  In sports, we cannot control what the other team or opponent will do, but we can prepare through diligent practice sessions, stretching and recovery, and proper nutrition habits.  Take control of your personal responsibility and rock it in school and sports!  Be determined, dedicated, and diligent.  Set your goals and reach them weekly.  What are some ways you take control of your lives?

Pool Therapy

In college, I was an athletic trainer working with the soccer teams. My head trainer introduced me to teaching our athletes exercises in the pool for rehabilitating ACL injured athletes. These exercises can be completed by everyone, even non-injured athletes. I swim at least twice a month and I usually end my lap swimming with these exercises. Sometimes people look at me funny, but they are great and usually people end up doing the exercises too!

Get into the pool so the water level is between your waist and your chest. You may want to wear old tennis shoes or water socks to protect your feet. In addition to the exercises listed below, you can also aqua jog. You wear a belt and can hold onto weights, you “run” in deep water and can get a great cardio workout aqua jogging. If you do not have a belt, and want to keep things simple, here are some exercises to try.

1. Forward running
2. Backward running
3. Side shuffles fast
4. Side shuffles slow (in a low squat position, so you will need to get to a more shallow area)
5. High Knees
6. Jumping Jacks

Perform at least 2 sets of each for approximately 15 meters each direction. Most public pools have 25 meter lengths, just ensure that your pool depth is the same for the whole length of your workout. Have fun and try a new workout to keep your body injury free!

Breakfast: what do you eat?

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but do we all follow by that guideline?  Whenever I ask my students or my clients who ate breakfast that day, they usually answer by putting their heads down implying that they did not eat the most important meal of the day.  Many people fail to eat breakfast due to 1) lack of time, 2) the fact that they are not hungry, or 3) simply because they do not have anything they want to eat.  Here are my responses:

1) Lack of time: Over the weekend or in the evening one week night, hard boil a few eggs to have for the week.  Keep them in their shells in the fridge until you are ready to eat them.  Put a piece of toast in the toaster or oven and while it is toasting, peel 1-3 eggs.  Put them on (or on the side) your toast with some avocado, salt, and pepper, and enjoy.

2) Not hungry: It is easy to ignore your hungry cues early in the morning so make sure you “break your fast” within one hour of waking.  Make a protein smoothie and drink your breakfast.  It will not feel like “food” because although it is filling, it is not heavy on your stomach.  Mix water or milk with rice/pea protein powder.  If you have a little more time, blend water or milk with rice/pea protein powder, a banana, kale or spinach, and ice.  You can get as creative as you want with your smoothie mixtures.  I will post more recipes in the near future.

3) Nothing desirable: Go shopping over the weekend and buy enough breakfast foods for that week.  Get a variety so you are not stumped with what to eat.  Yogurt, protein powder, eggs, oatmeal, granola, are a few options with which to start.  Add fruits, veggies, and make breakfast creatively delicious.  If all else fails, eat your leftovers from dinner the night before!

What are your favorite breakfast foods?  What gets you out of bed and moving in the morning?  I would love to hear your favorites.  Remember, in order to get better every day, you need to start with by breaking the fast and eating breakfast!

Squat Technique