January 23, 2013

Part 2: Getting into the FLOW state and picking your physical activity

About two weeks ago I wrote a post called the Best Piece of Fitness Advice you will read in 2013: Go with the Flow. In short the advice is choose a physical activity that will put you in a flow state and do it. Flow is the word psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyl used to describe his research on enjoyment, happiness and optimal experiences.

The characteristics of flow are:
1. A task we have a chance completing
2. Must be able to concentrate on what we are doing
3. Task has clear goals
4. Task provides immediate feedback
5. Act with deep but effortless involvement that removes the awareness of worries and frustrations of everyday life
6. A sense of control over their actions
7. Concern for the self disappears but the self becomes stronger once the task is complete
8. Sense of time is distorted… Hours go by in a flash or an instant can be frozen in time

What does a flow state feel like? In one word: SEX. In other words it could be your favourite past time like skiing, reading a book, or knitting a scarf. It could even be your work. It is a feeling of never wanting to stop. It is being so focused that nothing can interrupt you. There is an end line in sight and with each deliberate action you make you know whether you are getting closer or farther to your goal. As you are performing there is nothing else in the world you’d rather be doing.

In Csikszentmihalyl’s book flow he quotes a well known west coast rock climber describing flow and his life:
“It’s exhilarating to come closer and closer to self-discipline. You make your body go and everything hurts; then you look back in awe at the self, at what you’ve done, it just blows your mind. It leads to ecstasy, self-fulfillment. If you win these battles enough, that battle against yourself, at least for a moment, it becomes easier to win the battles in the world.”

How do I get into a flow state? It can’t be forced. It happens when you engage yourself fully in an activity with built in feedback and goals. It takes an activity that you enjoy yet challenges you at the same time. An activity that requires your concentration in order to overcome the challenges presented. The challenges don’t have to be huge, just big enough for you to overcome them, like the rock climber mentioned as you continue to conquer enough of these challenges you will eventually find it easier to overcome other challenges presented to you.

If you can get yourself into a flow state through physical activity you will accomplish one of the most important aspects of making physical change, the overload principle. When you find the right physical activity you will continue to push yourself to find new challenges in pursuit of the flow state, it is very addictive. And this constant pursuit will force you to push yourself to new heights and do more than you did the time before, which is exactly what the overload principle is all about. Your body will have no choice but to adapt to the demands.

Choosing a Physical Activity
Below I have created a list with a number of categories of physical activities and within each category there are a number of specific physical activity options. Print out the list or copy and paste it to a fresh word document and do the following. Beside each category and physical activity choice write: Very Interested, Interested, or Not Interested. After you have gone through the list go back to the top and do the same but this time write: Very Experienced, Some Experience, or No Experience. Using this list as your guide you can select a physical activity that interests you and depending on your experience with said activity you can set small or big goals for yourself. If you are feeling particularly eager you can try out 2-3 activities and try them out several times over a month and see which one you like best.

Physical Activity Categories

Team Sports/Activities
Invasive Games
• Hockey – Ice, Field, Ball
• Soccer – Indoor and outdoor
• Lacrosse – Indoor and outdoor
• Rugby – union, league and 7’s
• Team Handball
• Ringette
• American football
• Australian Rules football or Gaelic football
• Water polo
• Basketball

Net/Wall/Target/Fielding games
• Volleyball – indoor and beach
• Curling
• Baseball – hardball, softball, slopitch
• Cricket
• Dodgeball

Individual/Dual Sports/Activities

Martial Arts/Combatives
• Karate
• Boxing
• Kickboxing/Muay Thai
• Brazilian Jui Jitsu
• Fencing
• Tae Kwan Do
• Judo
• Wrestling
• Sword fighting
• Kung Fu
• Jeet Kune Do
• Tai Chi/QiGong

• Ballet
• Hip hop
• Break dancing
• Classical
• Swing
• Jazz
• Tap
• Zumba
• Salsa
• Tango

Individual/dual Net/wall games
• Tennis
• Badminton
• Squash
• Racquetball
• Table tennis

• Rock climbimg
• Skiing
• Snowboarding
• Skateboarding
• BMXing
• Surfing
• Downhill Mountain Biking
• Obstacle Course Racing – Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, etc
• Adventure Racing

Strength Training
• Bodybuilding
• Power Lifting
• Olympic Lifting
• Kettlebell Lifting
• Strongman Lifting
• CrossFit

Cardio Endurance
• Cycling
• Swimming
• Running
• Triathlon
• Cross Country Skiing – Classic and Skate
• Snowshoeing
• Aerobics Classes
• Kayaking
• Canoeing
• Hiking
• Walking

• Power
• Hatha
• Bikram
• Pilates

• Gymnastics
• Track and Field
• Equestrian Sports
• Water Sports

Of course there are more options than this but this should get you moving in the right direction. There is one thing all of these physical activities have in common is that they are all easier to perform when your body is moving well and pain free. This is the job of the personal training department at StayFitAnywhere, get people moving as best as possible so they can go and enjoy the activities they love whether it is skiing, horseback riding, or lifting kettlebells. Come train with us and you will find the flow!

Coming soon Part 3: Skill acquisition and improvements are essential to FLOW!
Josh Neumann, BHK
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August 2, 2012

In Pursuit of the RKC

Filed under: All About Exercise,Interesting Read,Josh's Blog — Tags: , , — Josh Neumann @ 8:51 pm

I first heard about Kettlebells in the summer of 2008. I was working at a gym and my manager, Sean Lovell, asked me what I knew about them. I said “nothing”. So he gave me a 12kg kettlebell and asked me to do some research and figure out if this was a good tool or not. I found Pavel’s book Enter the Kettlebell and while I was reading I couldn’t help but think he makes it sound so easy. He was right it was easy to get started; follow his program and you will get the hang of it. At the same time it was hard, in order to get good and really reap the rewards of the kettlebell I would have to spend hours and hours working on my skills.

After 3 weeks of putting in time with the 12kg KB I attended a Kettlebell workshop at a conference. It was packed out and there were only so many KB’s to go around and I saw a 20kg bell sitting on the sideline that no one wanted to touch so I grabbed it hoping not to share so I could get more time with the KB in my hands. Immediately after the session I picked up my own 20kg KB and never looked back.

It wasn’t long after this conference that I changed career paths and started a business of my own and ended up training out of a facility with one of the best kettlebell coaches around, Jim Talo. I watched him with his clients. I watched him work with other trainers. I watched him training. He moved the bells so easily, every movement was fluid. Everyone he coached emulated his skills and confidence with the bell in hand. I continued to work on my skills and finally I got some one on one time with Jim. In the few hours I spent with Jim he cleaned up my skills and now it was up to me to lock them in with practice.

During my first year of practice I kept coming across the RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge); a certification process that involves a 3 day workshop where you must demonstrate your ability to coach and perform specific Kettlebell exercises, abide by a code of conduct, and pass the 5minute snatch test. Pavel was the driving force behind the RKC and bringing Kettlebells to North America. Jim was an RKC and had spent time in Russia. I kept hearing it was the gold standard in Kettlebell certifications. My interest was fully piqued and I knew this was something I wanted to do. Of course there are always challenges when you have a big goal that you want to accomplish and rarely, if ever, does the “right” or “perfect” time come to truly go after what you really want. It took me just over 4 years to finally say “no more putting this off, go do it.” So on August 1st, 2012 I registered for the RKC in February of 2013 in San Jose California.

I had my fair share of barriers to break through before fully committing to pursue the RKC:
• A large financial commitment. I had just started my own business when I learned of the RKC and the cost is what I paid in tuition during my first year of university. My business is running strong now and I have a certain level of financial security but still need to focus funds towards this goal which means saying “no” to certain things.
• A time commitment. I had a number of other goals that were taking up a majority of my time, mostly running a business and playing lacrosse. Again my business is running strong and I’m not currently playing lacrosse. Although lacrosse is always calling my name to come back and play for the time being I am going to have to stay away.
• Location and dates of the RKC. None of the workshops are close and the dates just happened to have always fallen during my lacrosse season. I am not playing lacrosse right now and I am just going to have to travel to get this done!
• Recovering from an injury. I had an injury that was keeping me from progressing my training. I have that injury in check right now but will have to keep on top of things to keep it from coming back.
• It is going to be hard! 100 snatches with a 24kg bell in under 5mins. I know if I train I can do this, doesn’t mean it is going to be easy though. Also going to have to make sure I am mentally strong to tackle the test.

It took a lot of self analysis and discovery to break down these barriers and make the RKC a priority. Once I made the commitment I had to sit down and do a self assessment. My self assessment was to figure out my strengths and weaknesses in terms of kettlebell lifting and coaching and what lifestyle changes I am going to need to make for the next 6.5months. This is what I have come up with:
• I generally feel pretty good about all of the exercises required but I have weaknesses in each.
o Squat: Tspine and head position needs work
o TGU: On the right hand my overhead position isn’t as good as I want it and it needs to be better for my snatches
o Clean: Need to be better on my dropout on both hands
o Press: Stronger on left, and clean up right overhead lockout position
o Swing: Left grip especially at the bottom of my swing
o Snatch: By working all of the above I will address the weaknesses that are present when I am currently snatching. Specifically for the snatch I need to clean up my overall technique and conditioning, simply put it just isn’t good enough right now
• I have put a lot of time and energy in figuring out the best way to coach the Kettlebell lifts, and I am going to have to continue to focus as much time as possible on perfecting my assessment skills (knowing when to progress and when to regress) and finding the cues that go hand in hand with my explanations.
• Tighten up my schedule, meaning I am going to have to say “no” to a lot of social events.
• Create a solid training program for myself. I have outlined a tentative 3weeks on 1 week off plan, with a few gaps due to previous commitments. I will also be seeking the help of my colleagues, training partners and of course I will be seeing Jim for coaching.
• As soon as September rolls around get my act together with nutrition… no summer style eating and celebrating in the fall and winter!
• Sleep – Bed before 10pm during week nights.
• Recovery – continue to see Sherri (my RMT), get into the pool/hot tub/steam room 2x a week minimum, and stay on top of my mobility work.

A big part of me being successful is going to be having a strong support network. I have great family, friends, training partners and clients that are ready to pump my tires when I am doing well, pick me up when I fall down and kick my ass when I am slacking off. I am ready to do what it takes to earn my RKC and join the ranks of other Kettlebell instructors and enthusiasts around the globe. Now it is time to move some bells!
Josh Neumann, BHK
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July 15, 2011

Whistler Fitness Vacation Cont.

Filed under: All About Exercise,Josh's Blog — Tags: , , , — Josh Neumann @ 3:01 pm

If you haven’t seen my first post about my quick vacation to Whistler last weekend and what I got up to, check it out here. I made another video with some of the training I did outdoors while I was up there, hope you enjoy it and let me know if you like the song!

Josh Neumann, BHK, PTS, TSCC-1
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July 14, 2011

Whistler Fitness Vacation

Last weekend I spent a few days in Whistler on a mini vacation with Robyn and our dog Max. We made no set plans for the trip besides doing what we wanted when we felt like it. So as soon as we arrived in Whistler and we unpacked the car I did this…

Just because I was on vacation didn’t mean it was time to stop training. Our friends at Eat Play Love specialize in fitness vacations, yes it means go on vacation and be active. It is more than just going away and working out, it is go somewhere where you are surrounded by opportunities to be active (hiking, swimming, sports, fitness, etc) and at the same time eat amazing food! At the end of a vacation like this you come back recharged, you won’t need a vacation from your vacation.

I want to share my fitness vacation with you.

Thursday Afternoon – Arrive in Whistler and get started right away with a training session. Warmed up with some mobility drills and Indian Club swinging. Had no set plans for what I wanted to train so I did a few swings, some presses, some snatches, some carries, play time with Max and of course what you saw in the video above. To cap off the training session I did a 6 minute timed set of 5 swings and 3 clean and presses. After that went for a walk with Robyn and Max and picked up some groceries.

Thursday Evening – Make dinner: Chicken Kebabs, boiled baby potatoes, sautéed broccoli, and wine. Finish off the night hanging outside on the patio with Robyn, music, more wine and Max. Right before bed quick stretch and roll for 15minutes.

Friday Morning – Slept in til 9am, this is a huge sleep in for me! Ate a banana while taking Max for a quick walk. Brought him home and Robyn took him on a 13km run while I had a nap. When they got back we made eggs, homemade hash browns and tomatoes.

Friday Afternoon – Hike at Nairn Falls with Robyn and Max, did some Indian Club Swinging by the falls, it was beautiful, peaceful and relaxing. Ate leftovers from the night before. Returned to our place and hang out at the pool, bouncing back and forth between hot tub and pool. Had some Greek yogurt, berries and seeds then took another nap… this was my lazy recharge the batteries day.

Friday Evening – Read a good chunk of the book 100Mile Diet by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, not quite done yet but so far it is a fantastic book! Made dinner: chicken breast, corn on the cob, baked yams/squash and a few beers. Long walk with Robyn and Max capped off with ice cream cones from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Treats are allowed as long as there is no guilt and you really really enjoy it… and I most certainly did. 20minutes of stretching and rolling right before bed.

Saturday AM – Again sleep in til 9am. Max and Robyn went for a run again while I made eggs, hash browns and tomatoes for breakfast again. Then I did a quick 30minute training session with Indian club swinging and lots of double bell work. Ate some more Greek yogurt, berries and seeds.

Saturday Afternoon – Hike to lost lake with Robyn and Max. Played at the dog beach with Max and walked through the water at waist height a bunch, Max does not like the water. Hiked back to our place and felt like playing with some bells some more so I did a 6 minute timed set of 5 swings and 3 snatches. Ate leftovers from the night before. Robyn and I played volleyball on the grass for an hour while Max tried his best to interrupt our rallies.

Max after playing at Lost Lake

Saturday Evening – Read more of the 100Mile Diet. Made homemade hamburgers with avacodo, tomato, pickles, sautéed onions and mushrooms on a multigrain bun with a few beers! They were fantastic burgers take a look.

Homemade Burgers

Saturday Evening Continued – After that Robyn, Max and I walked into the village to watch a free reggae show at the celebration plaza, great place to watch a show. The highlight was the Redeye Empire doing a cover of Ramble on by Led Zeppelin… Max really enjoyed the show!

Robyn, Max and I enjoying Ramble On Cover!
Max Like Reggae
Sunday Morning – Went for a trail run as with Robyn and Max… of course I was in bare feet. I rarely run so after we hammered all the fun trails I wanted to go on I let Robyn and Max continue on for a longer run and I turned around to head home to make our usual breakfast of eggs and hash browns (I had a baked yam instead this time). After eating we packed up and hit the road back to the city.

It wasn’t a long vacation but it was perfect I came back fully recharged and my fitness and diet didn’t suffer one bit. Hope everyone else has an opportunity to get a way on a great vacation this summer and if you need any tips for keeping your health and fitness on track don’t hesitate to ask!
Josh Neumann, BHK, PTS, TSCC-1
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March 10, 2011

Dan John’s 55s

About a month ago I was reading some posts about teaching the metabolic swing, the goblet squat, and how to be strong by strength coach extraordinaire Dan John and he reminded me of a fun training protocol called 55s. 55s are basically a pyramid where you pick two exercises to alternate back and forth with. 55s start at 10reps of exercise A, then 10 reps of exercise B, 9 reps of exercise A, 9 reps of exercise B… all the way down to 1 and 1, which equals 55reps of both exercise A and B. The specific 55 Dan John wrote about was to pair Kettlebell Swings with Kettlebell Rack Squats. What makes this such a great pairing is that it flows very nicely, you can swing for 10reps, then clean the bell and squat for 10reps, switch hands and do the same thing on the other side… so if you are conditioned enough you can do the whole 55 without ever putting the Kettlebell down! So on Wednesday February 16, 2011 I was pressed for time but still wanted to get something done so I decided to give this 55 a shot. DJ said that whatever weight you think you can do this with take a step down so I decided to err on the side of caution and chose a 16kg bell to use. I am a competitive guy so I decided to time myself.

Feb 16, 2011 – 16kg Kettlebell 10:30secs and I put the bell down 3 times.

I was pressed for time, I had 30minutes to get something done so I spent 10mins warming up, did the 55s, and had another 10minutes or so to do some Indian Club swinging and some presses. It was a great training session that didn’t take long but I wasn’t completely happy with my performance during the 55 (I put the bell down 3times, gotta suck it up), so I decided that this would be my Wednesday training session until I was completely happy with it. So here are my last 3 attempts at this 55.

Feb 23, 2011 – 16kg Kettlebell 8:05secs and I put the bell down 2 times.

Mar 2, 2011 – 16kg Kettlebell 7:00secs and I didn’t put the bell down.

Mar 9, 2011 – 20kg Kettlebell 7:50secs and I put the bell down 2 times.

This particular 55 includes 55 left handed swings, 55 right handed swings, 55 left rack squats, 55 right rack squats, and 20 cleans (gotta get the bell in the rack to squat it)…. that is 240reps of movement. It is tough both physically and mentally. As you can see by my results I improved from week 1 to week 3, and was able to progress the exercise to a new level in week 4 and still post a great time. Of course I can’t give all the credit to the 55s I was doing other training, playing squash/lacrosse, and riding my bike around town but it presented me with a measuring stick that was quick, fun and challenging. Anyone can benefit from using 55s by picking two of their favourite exercises and doing it once a week and recording their times so they can see how their fitness levels are improving from week to week!

I am still not happy with the above 55 so I will continue to do this every Wednesday until I am… but as I get fitter my expectations will continue to grow and I will continue to find a new way to challenge myself!
Josh Neumann, BHK, PTS, TSCC-1
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January 27, 2011

Tabata Training

By now you’ve had the chance to try 3 separate training sessions: The VancityBuzz Burner, High Intensity Interval Training, and Low Intensity Interval Training. I would like to give you one more training session that combines resistance and interval training into one gruelling session. Meet Izumi Tabata the lead author in a study that showed individuals could improve VO2 max by performing an exercise for 20secs, resting for 10secs and repeating this for 4minutes (or 8sets). This is an incredibly simple method of training, all you have to do is pick your favourite resistance training exercise and perform it at high intensity for 20secs, then rest for 10secs and repeat 7 more times! That is it work for 20secs, rest for 10secs. By training like this you are killing two birds with one stone (resistance and cardiovascular training) all the while ramping up your metabolism to consume a ton of calories! Sounds like fun right?

Points to consider when doing Tabata Training:
• Can’t stress this enough: warmup is essential, prepare your body for what is about to come next
• Pick exercises that you can perform with perfect technique, you are going to be doing tons of reps if you are doing the exercise poorly you risk injury and you can’t train when injured
• During the 20seconds of work you need to be pushing yourself and working hard, again you need to be getting close to complete fatigue at the end of 20seconds
• Do not sit down during your 10seconds of rest, keep your legs moving
• If you are doing an exercise with an implement (dumbbell, Kettlebell, Medicine Ball, etc) be sure to select a load that you can complete all 8 sets with
• If you feel pain during an exercise stop
• This is meant to be a challenging and exhausting but know your limits, if you need to take a break take a break

There are plenty of exercise that can be used when doing Tabata training, pick 4-6 from the list that you are comfortable doing and go to work after a good warmup!
• Forward Lunges
• Lateral Lunges
• Bodyweight Squats
• Deadlift
• Pushups
• Split Stance Row
• Split Squat
• Lo to Hi Chops
• Pickup Press
• Squat to Press
• Squat to Row
• Kettlebell Swings

Your options are endless with this type of training! Get creative with your training sessions and have fun.
Josh Neumann, BHK, PTS, TSCC-1
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January 14, 2011

Friday Fun with Rob D

Rob Daly was one of my very first clients and over the past 5 years we have continued to push each other as we both strive to achieve our personal best: being as fit as possible for Rob, and for me the ability to deliver the greatest exercise programs for any individual. Rob was only in town for a week so over the past 4 days we trained hard and I had the opportunity to introduce Rob to a few new exercises and clean up his technique on a few of the existing exercise we had been training. Today was our final day of training before he headed back to work in Los Angeles so I thought it would be nice to have some FUN (as you can tell from his pic above he likes to have FUN) and see what he was capable of!

I created this training session for him using 13 playing cards. Each playing card represented an exercise and he had to pick 6 of the 13 cards and do the exercise in the order he pulled them.
Ace – Plank Row with Pushups (12kg KB) x 8reps
2 – Kettlebell Slap Catch (12kg KB) x 15reps
3 – Skipping x 30secs
4 – Jump Pullups x 15reps
5 – TRX Pendulums with Pushup Knee Tucks x 20/10reps
6 – Kettlebell Swings (12kg KB) x 20reps
7 – Russian Twist (Heavy Band) x 10reps
8 – Deep Squat Push Press (12kg KB) x 15reps
9 – Turkish Get Up (8kg KB) x 3reps
10 – Flexed Arm Hanging Leg Raise x 10reps
Jack – Medicine Ball Lo to High Chop (6kg MB) x 15reps
Queen – Skipping x 30secs
King – Kettlebell Swings (12kg KB) x 20reps

Following is what he pulled and how long it took him to complete each one.
First Pull: 4:50
7 – Russian Twist (Heavy Band) x 10reps
Ace – Plank Row with Pushups (12kg KB) x 8reps
9 – Turkish Get Up (8kg KB) x 3reps
Queen – Skipping x 30secs
2 – Kettlebell Slap Catch (12kg KB) x 15reps
3 – Skipping x 30secs

Second Pull: 6:10
2 – Kettlebell Slap Catch (12kg KB) x 15reps
6 – Kettlebell Swings (12kg KB) x 20reps
4 – Jump Pullups x 15reps
Queen – Skipping x 30secs
King – Kettlebell Swings (12kg KB) x 20reps
9 – Turkish Get Up (8kg KB) x 3reps

Third Pull: 5:25
Queen – Skipping x 30secs
2 – Kettlebell Slap Catch (12kg KB) x 15reps
4 – Jump Pullups x 15reps
9 – Turkish Get Up (8kg KB) x 3reps
6 – Kettlebell Swings (12kg KB) x 20reps
8 – Deep Squat Push Press (12kg KB) x 15reps

Fourth Pull: 6:00
5 – TRX Pendulums with Pushup Knee Tucks x 20/10reps
Ace – Plank Row with Pushups (12kg KB) x 8reps
9 – Turkish Get Up (8kg KB) x 3reps
8 – Deep Squat Push Press (12kg KB) x 15reps
Queen – Skipping x 30secs
10 – Flexed Arm Hanging Leg Raise x 10reps

Fifth Pull: 5:44
9 – Turkish Get Up (8kg KB) x 3reps
7 – Russian Twist (Heavy Band) x 10reps
Ace – Plank Row with Pushups (12kg KB) x 8reps
King – Kettlebell Swings (12kg KB) x 20reps
8 – Deep Squat Push Press (12kg KB) x 15reps
10 – Flexed Arm Hanging Leg Raise x 10reps

Sixth Pull: 3:47
3 – Skipping x 30secs
7 – Russian Twist (Heavy Band) x 10reps
Queen – Skipping x 30secs
8 – Deep Squat Push Press (12kg KB) x 15reps
10 – Flexed Arm Hanging Leg Raise x 10reps
5 – TRX Pendulums with Pushup Knee Tucks x 20/10reps

Seventh Pull: 5:55
Jack – Medicine Ball Lo to High Chop (6kg MB) x 15reps
King – Kettlebell Swings (12kg KB) x 20reps
7 – Russian Twist (Heavy Band) x 10reps
5 – TRX Pendulums with Pushup Knee Tucks x 20/10reps
6 – Kettlebell Swings (12kg KB) x 20reps
3 – Skipping x 30secs

Eighth Pull: 5:00
10 – Flexed Arm Hanging Leg Raise x 10reps
Ace – Plank Row with Pushups (12kg KB) x 8reps
3 – Skipping x 30secs
Queen – Skipping x 30secs
10 – Flexed Arm Hanging Leg Raise x 10reps
9 – Turkish Get Up (8kg KB) x 3reps

We both had a great time during this training session not knowing what was going to come up next and then working together to make sure it got accomplished without sacrificing technique and safety. Rob and I often joke that he is “training for life” but by doing something like this where you have to put together a plan on the spot and then go out and do it you are preparing yourself for whatever life may throw at you at any given moment. Give this training session a shot or create your own using the idea and have some fun while training hard!
Live to Move, Move to Live
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September 15, 2010

Deadlift: An Essential Building Block

If there is one exercise that should be included in every single person’s exercise program it is the deadlift. A deadlift can be performed in a variety of ways: from 2 feet, 1 foot, stiff legged, bent legged, etc and of course pretty much any object can be deadlifted but most commonly Olympic bars, Kettlebells, and dumbbells are used. According to Paul Chek there were 7 primal movement patterns that were necessary for primitive man to survive, simply put if you couldn’t perform these 7 movement patterns it was unlikely that you would be able to eat, find shelter or protect yourself. Of course the Deadlift is one of the movement patterns Paul Chek outlines; now these 7 movement patterns aren’t absolutely necessary for survival in today’s world but they are absolutely essential if you want optimal health and fitness.

Following are the three reasons I put so much emphasis on the deadlift when training my clients. You will notice that each of the three reasons has one thing in common the deadlift requires the use of your entire body in order to perform the lift perfectly.

1. Excellent for Correcting Poor Posture – Approximately 90% of North America’s workforce is employed at a desk job, which translates to most having poor posture. Prolonged sitting during the day leads to poor hip and shoulder mobility along with a weak (sleeping) transverse spine and glute region. By performing the deadlift you “wake up” all of these spots, and begin to connect the dots from the bottom of the feet to the top of the head. With each deadlift my clients perform they make forward progress in correcting their posture. If you sit all day long or you have poor posture than deadlifts are the exercise for you.
2. Develops Full Body Strength – Most consider the deadlift to be a leg exercise, more specifically a glute/hamstring exercise. This is true but it is so much more than that and thus shouldn’t be classified as such, your entire body is necessary to properly pick something up off the ground (especially if it is HEAVY!). You won’t be able to deadlift to your full potential without a strong back, shoulders, or grip and you most certainly won’t be able to deadlift if you can’t link your lower and upper body movements together (remember technique is King!). The regions of your body required for a deadlift are: your legs (from the bottom of your feet to the top of your bum), your core, your transverse spine, your shoulders, and your head (need to be thinking about this exercise). If you are an athlete or a weekend warrior who is looking for total body strength or power than the deadlift is the exercise for you.
3. Burns tons of Calories – Full body movement! Full body movement! Am I sounding like a broken record yet? I hope so I really want to drive this point home, you need the use of your entire body to deadlift. Any exercise that requires your entire body will require tons of energy (calories). You will burn tons of calories while performing deadlifts and because the deadlift is a resistance exercise you will see an elevated calorie burn for the next 24-48hours after your training session. Can it get any better, you burn tons of calories during your training session and continue to burn calories after your training session. If you are looking to release weight/fat from your body than the deadlift is the exercise for you.

Video of Double Kettlebell Deadlifts and Squats

Deadlifts will help improve your posture, increase your strength, and melt calories. With all of these great benefits how can you not include the deadlift in your exercise program? I’m worried I will hurt my back. I don’t know how. Both valid answers but I have the solution for you: StayFitAnywhere’s Building Blocks Program. Learn to deadlift safely and properly and how to implement this essential Building Block into your current exercise program from a qualified and experienced personal trainer. This essential Building Block exercise is one of the cornerstones to achieving any health and fitness goal, purchase the Building Blocks Package before September 30th, 2010 and we will pay the HST for you. There are no excuses anymore, get off your butt and start lifting!

Live to Move, Move to Live!
Josh Neumann, BHK, PTS, TSCC-1
Monday and Thursday #FitTip at http://twitter.com/stayfitanywhere

September 8, 2010

Achieving FLOW through SFA’s Building Blocks Program

I recently read a book titled “Fatal Tide” written by David Leach. The story is about an adventure race (Run/Mountain Bike/Sea Kayak) that goes wrong in New Brunswick and more specifically the Bay of Fundy. If you are into adventure racing or outdoor activities in general this is a fantastic read. I want to share a paragraph describing the idea of FLOW in movement.

The concept comes from the research and writings of American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who described Flow as an elusive mental state, a kind preconscious harmony of mind and body that comes with intense psychic focus, physical mastery, and the ideal balance between skill and challenge. It can be found at work. It can be felt in sex. It can be experienced through art. The human activities most associated with Flow tend to be sports and games. Csikszentmihalyi’s earliest research studied rock climbers, and his theory of Flow, which has been embraced by dozens of researchers, echoed the concept of “peak experiences” articulated by psychologist Abraham Maslow. A competitive outdoor event such as an adventure race seems purpose-built to manifest moments of Flow. “When a normal physical function, like running, is performed in a socially designed, goal directed setting with rules that offer challenges and require skills, it turns into a flow activity,’ Csikszentmihalyi argued in Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, his 1990 popularization of the theory. “Whether jogging alone, racing the clock, running against competition, or-like the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, who race hundreds of miles in the mountains during certain festivals- adding an elaborate ritual dimension to the activity, the simple act of moving the body across space becomes a source of complex feedback that provides optimal experience and adds strength to the self.” Flow, he emphasized, is not some drug-like stopper or escape from reality. Rather, it is that state of joy that arrives when body and mind work as one to control the chaos of our environment. Flow isn’t a means to an end, to a future reward. It is, like children’s playing, its own reward.

What activities do you associate with this description of flow? Can you remember the last time you experienced flow? If you are perplexed by these questions you probably haven’t found an activity that you truly enjoy or you haven’t been able to connect your mind to your body during movement. StayFitAnywhere’s Building Blocks Program is designed to teach individuals the essential movement patterns necessary to achieve any goal imaginable. By learning primal movement patterns you will connect your mind to your body and have the opportunity to experience the joy and pleasure of flow.

A perfect example of this is the Kettlebell Swing. Kettlebell swinging requires mobility and stability throughout the body especially at the hips and shoulders, the two areas of the human body that are “asleep” due to excessive amounts of sitting. When performing this movement you must consciously be aware of exactly what your body is doing, and due to the ballistic nature of swinging a Kettlebell every rep must be executed with perfect technique, there is no taking a rep off. Take a look at the following video and watch as the entire body is used to move the Kettlebell around the hips in an arc shape, with each rep flowing one after another.

Kettlebell swinging is one of many ways to experience flow, take part in our Building Blocks Program and start reaping the rewards of enjoying movement as if you were a child again!
Josh Neumann, BHK, PTS, TSCC-1
Monday and Thursday #FitTip at http://twitter.com/stayfitanywhere

August 30, 2010

Mitsubishi CityChase Vancouver

This past Saturday the sun was shining and the Mitsubishi CityChase took over the streets of Vancouver! Myself and Joe had the pleasure of preparing a bootcamp ChasePoint for willing participants to complete along their route to being crowned champion. The teams of 2 were given two options and had to complete one of the tasks as fast as possible before moving on to their next challenge. Check out the challenges below.

Complete 150 pushups between you and a partner (each person needs to complete a minimum of 50pushups). Only one partner can perform pushups at a time. Example – Partner A starts doing pushups and Partner B can only start to do pushups when partner A has stopped. Pushups can be done from the toes or knees, but elbows must create 90 degree angles.

1. Run through 2 ladders that are 50meters apart.
2. Run 50 meters to the Kettlebells, Partner A picks up ONE Kettlebell and carries it 50meters to the cone and back. Partner B holds a plank until Partner A returns and then you switch. Partner B carries the Kettlebell to the cone and back and Partner A takes Partner B’s position.
3. Run 50 meters to the ZIG ZAG agility course and run through touching each cone with your hand.
4. At the end complete 5 Burprees each and you are finished!
We had a great variety of participants through our ChasePoint and they all did a fantastic job. Even though our ChasePoint provided a great physical challenge everyone who came through completed their chosen challenge with a smile on their face, eventually! Big thanks to the organizing committee and Urban Rec and to all the other volunteers that made this incredible event happen.
Which challenge would you chose? Leave your comments below!
Josh Neumann, BHK, PTS, TSCC-1
Monday and Thursday #FitTip at http://twitter.com/stayfitanywhere

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