Training Files: Conditioning

Some weekend conditioning fun for all.

Ahead of the opening of the Restore/Thrive Gym later this summer, we wanted to give you a glimpse of the type of training we’ll be doing in our gym.

“Conditioning” as a general fitness term, can mean a variety of things to a variety of people. As a primary pillar of training in our gym, conditioning refers to the development of the physical ability to perform primary movement patterns under the strain of increased working volume, intensity, and metabolic demand.

Practically applied, a conditioning day at our gym can look like this:

  • 5 to 10 minutes warm-up
  • 9 rounds for time, 5 Deadlifts at 65% of estimated max, 20 second Airdyne bike sprint
  • Cool Down

Whether you’re a field athlete or a hard-working parent wrangling a handful of kids, our primary goal is to make you more physically efficient and resilient at performing the fundamental patterns of human movement in a variety of contexts. It’s one thing to execute a perfect hip hinge/Deadilft when you’re just training that pattern and giving yourself plenty of rest between sets. It’s a completely different animal when you’re stressed, breathing hard, or thinking about the 12 other things you have to do today and asked to pick up something heavy. The goal of our conditioning program is to hard-wire the most efficient patterns into your brain and body so that when the heat is on in competition or in the kitchen as you wrestle 3 kids and try to get dinner on the table at the same time, you default to the best patterns of movement.

YouTube Update

Five minutes to a better morning

Morning, Folks! We’ve got a new video up on the Restore/Thrive YouTube Channel. This one is for you if you have a hard time getting going in the morning, stiff shoulders, hips, or backs. Try it on and have a great day!

The Training Template

Are you getting the most out of your training or fitness program?

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There are endless iterations of training programs, workout plans, fitness regimens, get-fit-quick schemes and the like littering the internet. While you, the would be consumer and user of said things, may think that the secret to better health, performance, and body composition is hidden within the depths of internet land, there is in fact a very simple way to understand and apply critical reasoning to any program you may be considering starting.

The human body is complex in many regards, but the primary patterns of movement it is capable of do not fit in the category of high complexity.

In terms of human movements we can divide them into a few primary categories. Let’s start with the upper body.

UPPER BODY PATTERNS

  1. Vertical Press
  2. Vertical Pull
  3. Horizontal Press
  4. Horizontal Pull

LOWER BODY PATTERNS

  1. Hip Hinge
  2. Step-Up
  3. Lunge

Perform quick test of these movements and you’ll notice that you can do all of them under a doorway. Hence, the reason we call them “Doorway Movements”. Now, layer on top of these primary patterns of upper and lower body movement, the three primary planes of human movement, pictured below:

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It should be obvious that we can move in more than just the direction straight through the doorway. Moving side to side and rotating are not just available motions, they’re necessary components to train in order to develop well-rounded strength. Being strong in the Coronal (a.k.a. “Frontal”) Plane and Transverse (a.k.a. “Rotary”) Plane actually contributes to better Sagittal (a.k.a. “Doorway”) Plane strength. For you meatheads and bros out there, being strong in all three planes means better bench, squat, and deadlift totals.

APPLICATION

Throughout our warm-up, training, and cool-down, we can apply these primary human movement patterns. You don’t have to focus on just one area per-session. And you don’t need to spend 30 minutes on activating every muscle in your body before you feel comfortable picking up a weight. Your warm-up should look like your workout. For example, if you’re going to barbell back squat, it’s a good idea to do a few body weight squats rather than just bend over to touch your toes or grab your foot and pull it to your butt. The warm-up should send a clear message to your body and your brain you’re about to do something similar with more intensity. If your workout is primarily full of horizontal pressing or pulling (i.e., bench pressing, or rowing variations), mix in a few movements that force your arms to move out to the side, or even diagonally across your body. The cool down should flush your body and your nervous system in such a way that you stimulate the recovery process. Here, once again, body weight movements are a great idea.

Developing better strength, fitness, and athleticism is only possible when employing training that encompasses these fundamental laws of human movement. There is a skill component to these movements, but a quality coach will challenge and improve all of these patterns, shoring up weaknesses and building better depth to the individual’s strengths along the way. Anyone, athlete or not, who employs a plan such as this will experience exponentially better results than someone stuck in a plan that doesn’t address the multi-dimensional character of human movement and performance.

Paraphrasing a popular quote:

“Smart work beats hard work when hard work doesn’t work smart.”

If you need some help figuring the ins and outs of a quality training program, give us a shout here through our “Consulting” page.


COMMENT RULES: If you are a real person, leave your real name. We are not a clearing house for solicitors so don’t do it here. Criticism and questioning is fine, that’s how we all learn and grow. Personal attacks, name calling, and the like ARE NOT COOL-if we catch you doing it you’re gone. Other than that, have at it folks! We love hearing from followers and newcomers alike and will try to reply to as many comments and questions as we can!

 

YouTube Update

A few thoughts on training

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Morning folks! We’ve got another post up on our YouTube channel. Today we’re talking training. Specifically, how do you improve your conditioning? While there are several ways to do it effectively, the approach we review today is one of the most simple and effective we’ve found to apply. Enjoy!

Why Your Health Matters 

Hint: It’s not just about you.

I’ll get straight to the point: the biggest threat to the national security of the United States of America is the rising cost of health care. Metabolic Syndrome (you have this condition if you have high fasting blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL, central obesity-that’s fat around your stomach-and high blood pressure) and more specifically the diseases that result from it-namely Cancer, Stroke, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s, Type 2 Diabetes-by the year 2040 will cost FOUR TIMES the U.S. Gross Domestic Product to treat.

What does that mean for you, your children, and your grandchildren? There will be no money for anything else. Roads, schools, military, police, fire, food subsidies, all left at the doorstep as we drown in medical spending.

What’s almost as troubling as this news is that there’s not much the government at a federal or state level can do about this problem. The U.S. medical system is a for-profit venture, and we the consumers are going to pay the price of rising health care costs. When the fastest growing cohort of the obesity epidemic in the U.S. is children under 12 months of age, it’s fairly safe to assume that the nation’s spending on health care is not going to regress back to the mean anytime soon. Those fat babies are going to become fat adults, and a childhood spent being significantly overweight exponentially increases the speed at which your body arrives on the doorstep of Metabolic Syndrome.

That’s the bad news. We are not a healthy country, and if something significant doesn’t occur to change the direction of our country’s health and well being, the end isn’t going to be pretty for anyone.

One of the biggest lies you’re most likely to believe is that your life, your decisions, and your daily habits don’t matter to the people or the world around you. If you believe that lie, you’re dead wrong.

Now the good news. YOU can do something about this. As is the custom in most of the discovered world, most revolutions in thought, culture, and tradition begin at the grassroots level. YOU can decide to be the change you want to see. YOU have the opportunity to build up yourself and others every single day.

Every day is Monday. A new day. A new start. So get after it. Dream big and then chase those dreams down until they are the life you’re actually living. Fight the good fight for yourself and the people you love. Speak the truth in love. Don’t stop. Don’t give up. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep believing.

I’ll leave you with two of my favorite quotes. One I used to keep on my desk at my day job until it was burned into my mind. The other I always come back to when I feel like giving up on the venture I’ve begun on this website:

“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”-Edward Stanley

“Never forget, a small group of people can change the world. No one else ever has.”-Micah Sifry


COMMENT RULES: If you are a real person, leave your real name. We are not a clearing house for solicitors so don’t do it here. Criticism and questioning is fine, that’s how we all learn and grow. Personal attacks, name calling, and the like ARE NOT COOL-if we catch you doing it you’re gone. Other than that, have at it folks! We love hearing from followers and newcomers alike and will try to reply to as many comments and questions as we can!

 

YouTube Update

For our golfers.

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Morning, Folks! We’ve got a new video up on the Restore/Thrive YouTube Channel. Today we’re getting after golfing fundamentals. Do you have the requisite mobility and stability to swing the club well, play your most consistent golf, and come out unharmed on the other side? Our quick screen and exercise recommendations will get you headed the right way.

Vision Therapy

A new vision exam for the 21st Century.

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Last weekend I had the opportunity to sit down for some continuing education from one of my favorite providers on my recommended post-concussion rehab team, Dr. John Metzger and the rest of his staff at Kansas City Vision Performance Center. Though I went into the event hoping to further hone my skills as a Post Concussion Syndrome rehab provider, I walked away with much more. Put simply, my knowledge base on vision development, assessment, and therapy exploded. If you or someone you know has visual issues, difficulty reading, focusing, following directions, poor hand-eye coordination, were born by C-section, or motion sickness, it’s a good bet that you may need some vision therapy.

Let’s dig in a little here and talk about why visual skill is important and why functional optometry is the wave of the future (even though it’s a profession over 70 years old).

When you go in for your standard eye exam, your provider is looking at two things: eye sight and eye health. Though important, these are just two of a multitude of factors that determine the true fitness of your eyes and vision. However, even if eye health and sight check out, there are several other factors that are equally if not more important. Generally categorized those factors are as follows:

  1. Eye coordination
  2. Eye tracking
  3. Focusing
  4. Visual Processing

In the medical community, we have been consistently taught that sight is one of our five senses (along with hearing, smell, taste, and touch). What has been largely ignored related to vision, is that this “sense” is actually more of a key factor in motor development than we previously thought. Think about it, what would poor visual skills do to your ability to learn to walk, talk, write, and perform math? The Optic Nerve, the nerve connecting your eyes to your brain, has more sensory fibers than all of your other senses combined. Another True Fact: 20-percent of Optic Nerve Fibers go to areas in the brain outside of the visual cortex in your Occipital Lobe. Meaning, your eyes do a lot more than tell your brain what’s in front of you.

Dr. Metzger and his staff gave several examples of pediatric patients who have struggled academically, behaviorally, and even in sports, who benefited tremendously from the in-depth vision screening and treatments they perform at their clinic. Kids who were previously diagnosed with learning disabilities, ADD, ADHD, or dyslexia, were found to have fundamental vision skill problems that were hindering their learning and behavior.

Take Aways

So what are you to do with this info?

First if you have children who struggle behaviorally, physically, or academically, I urge you to schedule an appointment at Kansas City Vision Performance Center as soon as you can. They offer screens for kids as young as Pre-K to make sure they start off on the right foot as they reach school age. What’s my angle? I get absolutely no kickbacks, I just want all of our kids to feel better and do better. This is a big step in the right direction to feeling and performing your best, regardless of your age.

For you do-it-your-selfers, I’ve got some goodies for you, too.

Check out Bal-a-Metrics (www.balametrics.com) for a variety of products you can use at home to promote better visual skill and sensory integration.

This 30-question predictive checklist, from the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, can give parents a quick view of a potential vision problems that would be appropriately treated with vision therapy.

Do yourself (and your family) a favor, and go a little bit deeper to assess your true eye fitness. The difference vision therapy could make could be life-changing.


COMMENT RULES: If you are a real person, leave your real name. We are not a clearing house for solicitors so don’t do it here. Criticism and questioning is fine, that’s how we all learn and grow. Personal attacks, name calling, and the like ARE NOT COOL-if we catch you doing it you’re gone. Other than that, have at it folks! We love hearing from followers and newcomers alike and will try to reply to as many comments and questions as we can!

 

YouTube Update-How We Fixed Me

We’re all about self-help here.

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Morning folks! Hope everyone in the KC-area is getting out and getting after it in the sun and warm weather.

This week’s drop on the Restore/Thrive channel is a quick run down of what my PT friends call “treatment for cervicogenic headache pain”, or what normal folks would call “how to fix a stiff neck and that pounding headache that won’t quit”. Either way you put it, I was in that spot a week ago. But with some time, thought, and the help of a very special friend, I was able to kick a day-long headache and the accompanying neck stiffness it brought in less than 20 minutes.

It’s that approach we’re sharing with you all this week. Enjoy!

The Keto Challenge, Part II

How much bacon can one man eat?

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About four years ago, in mid-2013, I was a younger middle-aged man. JC and I had one child (the advantage was still ours). I was active and apparently healthy, lifting weights 3-4 times per-week, doing some sort of cardio another 2 days a week, eating a generally clean diet, but splurging when I wanted to. Except there was one problem. I was getting heavier. And less healthy. My cholesterol numbers in particular were headed the wrong direction. I had resisted taking drugs (statins) that my doctors had recommended for the last 5 years. Eighteen months before this point I finally gave in and started taking the statins, and though my cholesterol numbers started to lower, I was not well. My energy levels were in the tank. And my testosterone levels were tanking, despite a vigorous exercise routine and a low fat, multi-grain, lean protein dominant diet.

I was desperate, to be frank. I felt like my youth was escaping me and I had no idea what I could do to reverse this train that seemed to be leaving the “Health” station and heading on to “Fat, Sick, and Slowly Dying” town.

And then, I came across an article from a blog I had been reading for the past 6 years, The Art of Manliness. This particular post was written about increasing testosterone without drugs-a big selling point for me as I wasn’t wild about the idea of taking more pills to fix problems that I had a sense of having deeper causes. Within this post there was a link to another blog post (see Internet rabbit hole: enter here) titled “The Straight Dope on Cholesterol”. This 2-part series that took me less than 2 hours to read, and in that time taught me more about the role of cholesterol in human health than I had learned in 4 years of undergraduate studies as a science major, and 3 years of graduate work in the field of medicine. The author of this series, Dr. Peter Attia, wrote a larger, multi-part series on the nuts and bolts of cholesterol metabolism and it’s relation to human health and longevity on his own blog, The Eating Academy.

Armed with more information than my primary care doctor could explain or put into context, I immediately decided to do two things:

  1. Fire my primary care physician.
  2. Eat a ketogenic diet.

Brief primer: ketogenic diet= 60-80% of calories derived from fat, 10-15% from protein, 10% or less from carbohydrates. I know, it’s crazy. Hang in there, I’ll explain.

Point #2 is what brings us to the reason for this blog post today. When I switched to a ketogenic diet a funny thing happened, I had to buy new pants. Smaller pants. Like 2 inches smaller. In 3 weeks. I was 18 pounds lighter. And all the weight I lost was around my stomach and waist.

Before you run off and start eating keto to fit in those pants you haven’t worn since high school, let me finish the story.

Six months later, I was cruising along not missing bread, pasta, rice, or any other carbohydrates, as I stuffed my face with bacon, eggs, cheese, heavy cream, full-fat milk, and meat, meat, meat. I was nearly 20 lbs lighter than I was a half-year earlier, I hadn’t lost any of my strength or stamina in the gym, and my mind was razor sharp from the time I got up until the time I went to bed. I could go 16 hours without eating, then go lift heavy weights for an hour, and slam down a “Fat Shake” (8 oz. heavy cream, 8 oz. half & half, scoop of protein powder), and be good to go for another 16 hours without feeling one pang of hunger.

Yet beneath this dramatic change, was a lingering concern. My libido had left town and hadn’t left a forwarding address. I didn’t get it. I was living each day like my hair was on fire but felt flat emotionally. Depression set in. Deep, anxiety-inducing depression. The kind that people can’t talk you out of, cheer you up from.

It was time to stop playing doctor and ask for some help. To turn the ship around, I turned to the good folks at the University of Kansas Integrative Medicine Department. And I learned a few valuable lessons.

First, no matter what you think you know about yourself or how to take care of yourself, you need an objective 3rd party to help you sort through your health concerns. I say it to my patients and clients all the time: we all need a coach. You’re not objective enough or smart enough to handle everything on your own.

Second, test, test, test, and test. And then re-test. You have to have some objective data to make important decisions about your health and figure out if you’re headed the right direction. As it relates to diet, it is extremely helpful to have advanced cardiovascular, micro-nutrient, and genetic testing done to figure out exactly what the proper air/fuel mixture is to help your body perform its best. For me, when I got those tests done we found out a few key things:

  1. Wheat, gluten, and dairy don’t agree with me (goodbye, Fat Shake) in such a way that they actually were the cause of my tanked testosterone levels.
  2. I don’t metabolize certain vitamins and minerals efficiently, and in some cases, at all. Supplementing to help support my crappy genetics was actually one of the big keys to helping me feel my best.
  3. My risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease is somewhere between 10 to 20 times higher than a person who doesn’t have my specific genetic characteristics (in this case, I am a member of the rare ApoE 4/4 allele) .

Which brings us to our conclusion. After all the testing I switched from a true ketogenic diet to a low-carbohydrate cousin of it. And for the better part of two years, I’ve motored along pretty well. But as of late, I’ve been a little less than my best, mentally and physically speaking. I can’t tell you exactly what is off, except to tell you I’m just not as sharp as I previously have been.

And so, I’m back in ketosis. But this time, we’re being a little smarter about it. No dairy fat. More mono-unsaturated oils. More non-starchy veggies. Paying more attention to the lifestyle details: good sleep hygiene, dedicated stress-relief work every day, and (gasp!) no alcohol.

You may ask me, “Won’t you miss the fruit, the sweets, the booze?”.

And I will tell you this:

Compared to living long enough to walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding, teaching my boys to be real men, and growing old with the love of my life, no food or drink holds a candle to them.


Post-Script

If you’re curious to hear more about this story, please feel free to e-mail me directly at restorethrive@gmail.com and I’ll fill in the gaps and give you the road map I followed. And if you want to learn more about yourself before you start making dietary changes on a whim because some yahoo with a blog told you about how you could fit into your high school jeans, please get some help. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my colleague and friend Robyn Johnson is one of the premiere integrative dietitians in the country. Click on the link, get the help you need.


COMMENT RULES: If you are a real person, leave your real name. We are not a clearing house for solicitors so don’t do it here. Criticism and questioning is fine, that’s how we all learn and grow. Personal attacks, name calling, and the like ARE NOT COOL-if we catch you doing it you’re gone. Other than that, have at it folks! We love hearing from followers and newcomers alike and will try to reply to as many comments and questions as we can!

More YouTube Goodness

Your warm-up and cool-down routines need an upgrade. It’s here.

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Morning, Folks! We’ve got another video up on the Restore/Thrive YouTube Channel. This time, we’re tackling the concept of “stretching” and expanding your mind on what warming up and cooling down is all about. Enjoy!