Best Training When Stressed!!!

I’ll never shy away from sharing my love of my family, especially my daughter. She’s the smart one who will support me in my old age, you know, spotting me when doing handstands.

Anyhow, this morning on our way to school she brought up the subject of stress and asked how people should exercise to manage stress. She’s got exams and homework and is starting to get exposed to the kind of baseline stress we all live with. I went on to explain how there is normal every day stress and then those times when we get too stressed, and then balanced off by anti-stress, the things that make us feel good or relaxed.

This got me thinking afterwards about all the times adults want to exercise out their life stresses – is this really the best way to deal with high stress situations?

Before watching the video, here are a few terms for you to read:

  • Baseline stress is¬†all the average, everyday stress we live with and accept. Bills, work, stuck in traffic, cold, heat, regular exercise, the final moments of your weekly dose of Game of Thrones and the silly argument over who forgot to buy the beetroot and almond dip and stuff like that.
  • Stress and excess stress results in a hormonal response in the body that releases more cortisol and epinephrine – the stress hormones that fuel us for fight or flight. This is referred to the Sympathetic nervous system response.
  • Anti-stress or the opposite of high stress is relaxing, chilled out and happy. This is the Parasympathetic nervous system kicking in.

We need to have exposure to both of these to develop as fully capable humans. Indeed, without exercise stress we would not be able to progress, to get fitter, stronger and more intelligent. As a species we have thrived on a finely tuned balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

However, when we expose ourselves to too much stress, things go wrong. We get sick. High stress exercise is the last thing we need to add to our lives when we are stressed. Whilst carrying out the basics of our normal exercise routine is fine, adding more exercise stress in the form of high intensity intervals can be a ticking time bomb on our physiology.

Adding relaxing, resetting practices to our exercise schedule is a must during periods of above baseline stress.

We choose the Original Strength movement system as a way to reset our bodies prior to training in the gym and on recovery days but if you like the idea of yoga, gentle walking or listening to your chilliest of your music collection, do that.

That’ll do me for today. I look forward to my daughters next question but if you have any questions or wonders, please do ask.

Jamie

Thrive to your Final Day

What a title – how dramatic! But if I had to sum up my message with just 5 words, that’ll do it.

Today I want to touch on a subject many cry away from completely or conversely, drive headlong straight into but crash and burn!

Toughness

In a time when we can utilise tech to do lots of the hard for us, when we can have food delivered to our doors within 15 to 30 minutes, when we can outsource many of the mundane physical tasks to others and again, technology, you can see how it could be easy to say it’s not our fault – the system allows us to become lazy.

So much of modern living has done away with having to deal with discomfort. Physical occupations and past times that we had to do up until the 1970s and 80s have now largely been made redundant. You can easily spend a week, a month or many months not having to undertake anything remotely physically demanding or causing discomfort.

You think that’s a good thing? Think again.

For the most-part, most people for most of the time want to avoid physical discomfort. What happens then when a situation arrises that demands just that from us…. gulp!

I am not implying that you should go out of your way to make everything difficult. Don’t. Enjoy the luxury of modern living but at the same time, practice toughening up a little bit.

How?

As you’d expect, my response as a trainer is, well, ‘exercise’. Whilst a lot of our time in the FitStrong gym is dedicated to learning and practicing great technique, there are times too when we program pushing the boundaries of comfort, expanding our comfort zones. This in fact forms the premise of how we progress. We have a session of light stress, a session of medium stress, then a session where we stretch the comfort zone.

Here’s a quick story of member, Michael, who is a champion of toughening up and thriving.

 

Final thought. If we spend our lives wrapping up in proverbial bubble wrap to avoid discomfort and physical effort we will end up frail, weak and feeble in our later years. If we spend a little time every week getting a little out of breath, lifting some weights and moving around to develop better mobility and agility, we will thrive to our final days.

Got any thoughts?

Foot and Knee Width Whilst Squatting

If you frequent your gymnasium every now and again (hopefully more often than not) you may have worked on your legs. I sure hope you do cause these things have to carry us around for a good while yet.

But, so many people do not carry out leg work like deadlifts and squat or their variations due to some prior experience with pain. This does not mean deadlifting and squatting are bad for you, it just means you haven’t found the particular set-up for you.

What do I mean by set-up?

Most times you read about squatting or deadlifting you’ll read about generic foot and knee width or set up. Mostly it’ll say to place feet hip width apart or something like that.

However, it’s just a general statement. We are all special snowflakes and will all have quite different biomechanics.

In the video below I talk about how to find your own ideal knee width, foot width and then foot positioning. Did you know that both of your feet may be angled totally differently to achieve a comfortable squat?

 

Got any ideas? Agree? Disagree? Want further details or advice?

Just get your fingers tapping below.

Bodybuilding and Strength Training… what’s the difference?

At FitStrong we focus on strength training and moving better as adults. Strength training often takes the path of using tools like Kettlebells, Barbells or other ‘stuff’.

But, oftentimes the use of these or even the mention of ‘strength training’ causes some alarm initially to some members. Why? Because they often have concerns with building big muscles.

They Confuse Bodybuilding and Strength Training.

Whilst the tools are the same, the way in which they get used varies considerably. Bodybuilding focuses on maximal muscle fatigue under certain timing protocols or large number of repetitions whilst strength training focuses on short sets, focussed tension and NO fatigue or muscular exhaustion.

For the most part, we work on getting stronger but when the time is appropriate or required, some clients will include periods of the year working on developing some muscle growth.

Typical example would be a young person wanting to get more muscular for their sport. Another would be an older client who needs to work more frequently on maintaining the muscle mass. The process here is less focussed on maximal effort but would use higher repetitions.

For the majority of us though, what we need in life is a stronger more agile body not a bigger body and as such, we prioritise strength and mobility.

Got any ideas or want more to chat more…. get in touch.

‘It’s Too Miserable to Train’!

Today the 24th September 2018 in Brisbane is a dull ‘ol day. This kind of sky is one of the reasons we left Northern Ireland in 2011 for the sub-tropics of South East Queensland.

Anyhoo, a miserable day can really do a number on our spirits, enthusiasm and drive to go to the gym and exercise when alternatively you could go home and binge watch Grand Designs on Netflix.

However, how about just turning up to your place of exercise* and starting…

… just see where it leads to.

 

*On that note of ‘place of exercise’, I did a recent poll and learnt that 34% of respondents exercised at home compared to the other 64% who went to the gym.

Any thoughts?