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Power Training - Speed and Weight

Power Training is nothing new.

Soldiers have been doing it for decades.

I will give you an example. Carry a 50 lb backpack uphill at a run. Soldiers do that regularly - see the speed marching training the British marines did during WWII in the documentary "The Greatest Raid of All".

But you probably are not a soldier.

But that doesn't mean you can't use similar training exercises to give yourself more speed and strength.

That is the whole purpose of Power Training - to quickly get from one place to another, often while carrying, pushing, pulling a lot of weight with you. Or sometimes not even weight, but using something to make it harder resistance wise.

Ever bicycled into the wind on a windy day? Very hard, isn't it?

But it is a really good workout because you are pushing your muscles harder than you normally would while cycling - unless you are fan of cycling uphill, in which case keep doing that!

The kind of people who take part in Strongman Competitions also love Power Training. You know who I mean, the type of people who can pull a truck down the street, do an obstacle course while carrying 300 lbs on their back, that sort of thing.

Like in the video below of a Syrian man pulling a train.



But feats of superhuman strength aren't for everyone.

But that doesn't mean you can't use Power Training techniques to give yourself more strength and speed.

THE BENEFITS OF POWER TRAINING
 
Power training exercises often use either the full body, or one limb at a time (unilateral training) to accomplish amazing results. This technique reduces muscular imbalance and is more functional for everyday life. Isolation exercises (like the bicep curl) take a lot of time, and will only focus on one muscle - and achieves very little results that can be measured on real world impact in your daily routine. An exercise like the bench press, using two arms at a time (bilateral training) will always tend to be lifted more with the stronger side and thus a person who trains that way will never balance out the strength in both limbs.

Power training improves athletic performance. Everything from running, dancing, sports and competitive weightlifting.

Increases strength and builds muscle rapidly.
 
Many power exercises have a cardiovascular benefit and double as cardio exercises.

Improves reaction time, speed, co-ordination and agility.
 
Strengthens bones, joints and connective tissue.

THREE EXAMPLES OF POWER TRAINING

Do each exercise explosively. In theory any exercise can be turned into power training by doing as much weight as you can as fast as you can. Even exercises void of weights can benefit from this, such as "explosively fast jumping jacks".
 
1. Olympic Style Lifts

Olympic lifts may seem intimidating at first but they're some of the most effective weight lifting exercises because they tend to work everything, including the core. Deadlifts, clean and press, Good mornings, and snatch pulls are exercises you may want to check out to have an effective power training program. Work on your form first and then learn how to do them explosively.

2. Plyometrics

Push ups, squats and lunges are common plyometric exercises where the exerciser "springs" up out of the form, so just do them super fast instead. You may have witnessed someone doing push ups and clapping in between each one. The hands leaving the ground makes the push up a plyometric exercise.

3. Compound One-Arm Exercises

Squat down, pick one dumbbell up from off the floor, and come back out of the squat while performing a front raise of the dumbbell to your shoulder. This exercise trains the lower body, shoulders, core, and by doing it all quickly, training for power. It's also challenging enough that you know you are getting a great workout.

Crunchless Abs Training

In the photo on the right you seed a "woodchop" exercise designed to work your abs, and the best part is you don't have to be on the ground to do them.

You see many ab workouts involve you sitting on the ground doing situps, crunches and similar exercise. Hence why most ab workouts tress crunches.

Now don't get me wrong, crunches are very effective for abdominal strengthening and toning, but there are also some good reasons to train your core while not sitting on your behind.

FIVE BENEFITS OF CRUNCHLESS ABS TRAINING

1. Crunches are not very functional in everyday life. Whereas balancing exercises which target the core to stabilize the body, will help you out in everyday activities that use your balance.

2. Doing crunches all of the time will put a cap on results. After you have exhausted body weight crunches, weighted, and oblique, your body will no longer have a challenge to adapt to - which is where balance exercises come in. It's a good idea to train your core in other ways, to keep the body challenged and changing.

3. Crunches are isolated exercises that target ONLY the abs. Why just work your abs when you could be working other muscle groups at the same time? An exercise such as the mountain climber for example, works the arms, shoulders, and chest. It also eases stress in the hips and improves range of motion.


4. Crunches are neglected anyway. Not only do many people dislike crunches in the first place, but often place them at the tail end of the workout and then forget about them. Even if they do remember they are not exactly performed enthusiastically or using proper form (which is why some people end up with crooked six packs). Adding exercises that train the abs into the workout such as woodchops (see photo at the top) will allow you to train your abs while doing a more enjoyable exercise.

Crooked Six Pack
5. They are not sport/activity specific - there is no sports that call for only your abs, although there are plenty of sports that call for balance. If you practice a discipline or martial art, it's a great idea to cater exercises to your activity. If you train in martial arts, kneeing a sparring pad while focusing on having the kick come from the core will train your abs for the sport. In yoga, planks are crucial for sun salutations. Train your abs according to your activities.

Crunches have their place so I don't recommend scrapping them all together - especially if you are one of the few who enjoy them. But there are other training options out there for people who want to train their abs differently.

The Benefits of Fresh Air

Lack of fresh air in the human body leads to the following symptoms:
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Dullness of mind
  • Irritability
The simple act of getting up and going outside therefore can do wonders to rejuvenate and motivate your body to keep going outside more regularly.

If a person stays indoors too often they will also get more of the harmful effects of tobacco smoke, city smog, re-circulating air in buildings, improper ventilation, exhaust, and many other pollutants.

Now you may think, wait, city smog indoors? Yes. In fact smog particles collect indoors whereas outside they are blown away on the wind and eventually filtered by rain, air moisture, etc. So since it doesn't rain indoors the quality of air suffers as the smog particles collect. (Which brings up a healthy reason to buy an air purifier.) In cities like Toronto where we have very good air quality the smog isn't such a big issue, but that doesn't mean you won't see huge physical and mental benefits from going outside more often.

However going outside regularly gives you many positive side effects:
  • Reduces depression
  • Promotes healing
  • Sparks creativity
  • Acts as a painkiller
  • Reduces fat by introducing more Vitamin D into the body
  • Boosts brain power (more oxygen to the brain)
  • Less Fevers
  • Less Colds
  • Less Lung disease
A lot of this is because the air outside has a higher concentration of oxygen in it. You could try and fix this by having more plants inside your home, to give you a higher oxygen level, but the quick and easy solution is to simply go outside more often and breathe deeply as you go for a walk, jogging, walk the dog, nature hike, bicycle ride, etc.

Fresh air due to its higher oxygen levels helps with many things.
  • Fresh air purifies the blood more.
  • Fresh air soothes the nerves, stimulates appetite, helps digestion, and induces more refreshing sleep.
  • Fresh air invigorates the vital organs and aids the body's defense system in getting rid of an accumulation of impurities and toxins.
  • Fresh air brings life to your skin, and a healthy tan doesn't hurt either.
  • Fresh air influences your mind, imparting a degree of composure and serenity while simultaneously acting as a natural painkiller.
  • Fresh air, especially when we exercise outdoors, will stimulate our appetite, and greatly aid and improve digestion of food.
  • Exercises performed outdoors in fresh air offer increased aerobic benefits. Taking in more clean air helps improves your breathing technique. Better technique increases stamina. More oxygen to the muscles reduces the lactic acid build-up in the muscles which leads to cramping and pain.
  • Oxygen electrifies the whole system, causes the body to be strong and healthy, and will refresh the system.
  • Oxygen has negative ions that are useful in giving electrical energy to the body, especially the nervous system. This will give us a sense of well-being, serenity, and composure.
  • Oxygen kills bacteria as it strengthens your immune system. When the white blood cells are called upon by the immune system to destroy germs, bacteria and viruses, they need much more oxygen than normal.
CONCLUSIONS

More oxygen to your brain, more oxygen to your muscles, more oxygen to all your vital organs, more oxygen to your skin, your blood, everything. Everything benefits from fresh air and boosts your health dramatically.

Balancing your Mirror Muscles

 Body symmetry is exceptionally important for bodybuilding and weightlifting - but what many people don't realize is that body symmetry also effects many other things too.



MUSCLE IMBALANCE = BACK PAIN

For example, did you know that pregnant women develop overly strong back muscles during the pregnancy? The reason is so they can support the extra weight of a baby and all the extra water weight, and that with time this leads to back pain - even after the baby has been born.

Now you might think, wait, why would they have back pain if their back is STRONGER? Shouldn't a strong back eliminate back pain?

Nope, and therein lies the problem. Many people don't realize that the primary source of backpain is a loss of balance between front mirror muscles and their back muscles. Often it is directly connected on a lateral level.

Examples

Small pectoral muscles = upper back pain.

Small abdominal muscles = lower back pain. (Especially since people often have weak lower back muscles in the first place.)

The reason is because the pectorals and abs are also used for balance, and if those muscles are smaller / weaker the back muscles in the corresponding mirror muscles have to work twice as hard in order for a person to maintain their balance and posture. A person with really lax muscle mirror muscles is going to have really bad posture and lots of back pain.

It is possible to have overdeveloped front torso muscles, which is exceptionally rare for the common person, but more common for bodybuilders who place too much emphasis on their front muscles because they want large pecs and abs. Since humans use their backs for so many things it is usually the back muscles which become overdeveloped and the front muscles which suffer.

AESTHETICS

Training for muscular balance is important is also important for aesthetics. Visually people are just not attractive if they have one part of their body that is abnormally large to the point it becomes grotesque.

For example people who don't exercise properly often develop a "crooked six pack" in their abdominal region - like in the photo below.



So basically there is many ways a person can screw up the symmetry of their muscles - both front and back, and also side to side.

It can be fixed with time fortunately, but it is best to take preventative measures while you are exercising so you use proper form. The use of proper form during each exercise means you won't be sloppy and then overusing one muscle compared to the other - the constant use of one muscle and ignoring its mirror muscle will always result in an imbalance over time.

On an aesthetic level bodybuilders can see their front muscles in the mirror easily, and exercises wise it is more fun to do bench presses and bicep curls. For most people however it is the opposite. They use their back for lifting things regularly, whereas weightlifters have been taught proper form and to lift with their legs more so they don't injure their back - and thus training their backs becomes a problem.

The end result is that aesthetically different people need to do different things to correct their muscle imbalances.

STABILITY / PREVENTS INJURIES

Having strong and well balanced front and back muscles means you will have better balance and stability - which is important while lifting heavy weights as you will be using your muscles both to lift the weight and to maintain balance. Having the extra mirror muscles will take up some of the effort of maintaining your balance while the other muscles do the job of lifting the heavy object.

Trying to lift the heavy object AND maintain your balance with just the one set of muscles is going to lead to injury over time due to bad posture. In my head I see a cartoon of a man falling over and the box landing on top of him because he can't maintain his balance, but this is only a literal interpretation. The reality is that overuse of one set of muscles will cause them to eventually rip - ripped muscles is normally a good thing in bodybuilding - but in this case a rip could mean ripped ligaments, which is exceptionally painful and sometimes untreatable.

Common injuries like hernias for example can be prevented by developing better mirror muscles. It is well worth it to make the effort. Do a google image search for hernia sometime and that should scare you into exercising your mirror muscles more to correct your imbalances.

FIXING MUSCLE IMBALANCES

Overdeveloped Back

The majority of you are probably reading this because you are an average person and have back pain. So the quick answer is for you to work on your pectorals, abdominal muscles and even your oblique (side) muscles.

This means doing exercises like push ups, sit ups, and side twists to build up pecs, abs and obliques. It is a relatively easy fix, takes you about 5 - 10 minutes every day and keep doing that for several months and you should have a lot less back pain as those muscles grow. (Unless you have chronic back pain caused by something else, like a slipped disk in your spine. In which case see your doctor.)

Overdeveloped Front

If you are the opposite however, someone who has been weight training for a long time and has developed overly large front muscles and neglected your back then there is a variety of exercises you can.

#1. Take up archery (archers tend to develop overly large back muscles, so this is a quick solution to your problem if your front muscles are currently overdeveloped - see Mirror Muscles for Archery).

#2. Use any kind of pulling machine in the gym. Rowing machines work well too.

#3. Be creative and use dumbbells in pulling exercises. Exercises like reverse flies. Make sure the weights are heavy enough to challenge you.

#4. Body weight exercises that use your back muscles. Pull ups, chin ups use your back shoulder muscles and your back muscles for balance.

#5. T Flies - Bend forward at the waist so that the back is very straight. Look down and with straight arms, slowly flap your arms. You may feel silly doing this at the gym so do it at home. Each time your arms come up to as high as they can go, really focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together. When they come all of the way back down, focus on stretching the back and shoulder muscles forward.

#6. Yoga - Hold the poses for longer periods of time to stress your muscles more. Try
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga to get a more powerful workout.

OTHER WEIRD IMBALANCES

Biceps Vs Triceps

Pain in your biceps can mean you are overusing your biceps in your effort to get bigger - a common problem with newbs at the gym. This affliction is rare because the triceps are used in many exercises so the good news is you can easily fix it by doing more triceps exercises regularly.

Biceps may get more attention, but anyone who has been concerned over the back of the arm being flab, or just having nicely toned arms in general, will have trained their triceps.

The triceps are easy to train with exercises such as dips, overhead extension, and skull crushers but also shows results really quickly because the triceps build bulk muscle faster.

Lower Back and Abs

The lower back is probably the least trained muscle group of all. If any muscle should be trained, it is this one - but you need to exercise your abs too so you correct the imbalance without making a new imbalance.

I recommend doing abs and lats exercises FIRST during a workout so you get it over and done with. Many people do these exercises last and sometimes forget to do them. Or skip them entirely. This doesn't help them since the lower back and abs is used for core balance, and injury prevention.

Nobody is ever going to compliment you on your toned lower back, but the muscles there are exceptionally important for balance, posture and injury prevention.

Try doing alternating back extensions, either on all fours or on your belly. See photos below.




Another good one is Superman Pushups. They make look easy but they are harder than they look because most people have weak lower back muscles.



Hamstrings

Many people neglect to exercise the back of their legs. But there are man common exercises that build muscle there.

Squats
Bicycling
Lunges
Standing Leg Curls
Straight Leg Deadlift
Snap Kicks
Sprinting (especially on a sandy beach, because it works them harder)

CONCLUSIONS

Mirror muscles are exceptionally important for aesthetics, sports training, balance, strong core muscles, pain prevention and preventing injuries. I cannot emphasize the importance of Mirror Muscle Training enough. For whatever exercise goals you have set forth for yourself, you should do complimentary Mirror Muscle Training to give yourself a physical edge.

Mirror Muscles for Archery

Many archers over time develop really strong back muscles because they are using the back muscles a lot for pulling and steadying their bow.

However the problem is that as time progresses their back muscles becomes overdeveloped, their form deteriorates and they can't balance properly while performing a shot.

There is however a solution.

Push ups.

Just good old fashioned push ups targets the Mirror Muscles for archery - which in this case is the pectorals or "pecs". Push ups also build shoulder and triceps, muscles archers also use a lot, so it is ultimately a very good exercise for archers to be doing on a daily basis.

I recommend 100 pushups per day. Either 5 sets of 20, 10 sets of 10, however you get them done so long as you can do them and build up the corresponding muscles and mirror muscles.

The problem however is that many new archers don't know this - often because they're new to the sport and no nothing about sports conditioning. So they are operating under the illusion / myth that they don't need to do push ups and don't know the benefits that stronger mirror muscles will give to their form.

And this is true for many newcomers to sports. Many people who take up boxing for example don't understand why boxers often train by skipping rope - because it builds endurance, balance and feet coordination, all of which are important during a boxing match.

It is purest simple minded thinking (combined with a dose of laziness) that causes amateurs to think they don't need to do something to reach their goal. It never occurs to them that to reach (a) goal, they have to (b) train regularly and (c) do complimentary exercises. Or even (d) eat a healthy balanced diet.

Other complimentary exercises for archery...

#1. Yoga - builds balance and core muscles. Also boosts mental acuity and concentration. 20 to 30 minutes of yoga every day can give an archer a serious edge.

#2. Situps - builds abdominal muscles, which also boosts balance and is a mirror muscle for the lower back. 100 per day is a good number.

#3. Squats - builds leg muscles and boosts the balance in your legs. 100 per day.

Basically archers use almost all their body in performing a shot because they need better balance so they can steady their shot. It is true that certain muscles, like the back, shoulders and triceps are used more - but overdeveloping those muscles will cause their form to fall to pieces.

Revamping Your Workout

Every winter I change up my exercise routine.

2 winters ago I was doing lots of situps, pushups, jumping jacks and a variety of body weight exercises for building core strength. Because I love using traditional exercises.

Last winter I was focusing on upper body muscle gain - shoulders, triceps, biceps, etc.

This coming winter I want to focus on my abs.

Which means a combination of cardio exercises (likely utilizing the Afterburn Effect so I can shed a few extra pounds and avoid the post-Christmas paunch) and ab workouts.

I also want to focus on upper body strength again this year, but this time doing more pushups to target my pectorals, triceps and back muscles.

However knowing how to revamp my workout in this way takes years to determine what "B" exercises I need to do in order to get "A" results. (And what kind of "C" diet I should be eating.)

And this is just one of the many services a personal trainer can help you with. (Hint hint, hire me!)

So what are the results I am looking for? Nicer abs and pecs. I am easy to please that way. But it will also up my archery form by giving me better mirror muscles - right now I have overdeveloped back muscles and I need to fix this by working on my front muscles more, namely the abs and pecs. The overdeveloped back muscles is because I have been doing archery almost every day this Summer.

So what will my personal workout look like this winter? (I say winter, but I am starting this workout in Autumn.)

Well I am still fine tuning it, but here goes...

MY NEW WINTER WORKOUT ROUTINE

High Intensity Jumping Jacks, 3 times MAE (Morning, Afternoon, Evening). 200 each time.

2 sets of 25 pushups, 3 times MAE.

YOGA, 20 minutes in the morning.

Pectoral and Shoulder focused weightlifting, afternoon.

Situps with Weights and resistance bands, evening.

Oblique Twists x 100, afternoon.

Squats x 100, evening.

MUSIC

Now you might go, wait, music? Yes. Music. I do all my weightlifting, yoga, etc while listening to music. I have gotten bored of the songs I was listening to last winter so it is time to revamp my playlist so I feel more revved up while exercising. Gonna Fly Now will still be on my exercise music playlist however, as will Eye of the Tiger.


DIET

Diet wise I have increased my green tea intake (for its anti-toxin properties), and I want to explore new vegan recipes this winter. I am not fabulous in the kitchen, but I can follow a recipe. I want more vegan recipes because I am no expert at cooking veggies and I want to increase my veggie intake.

Last winter and the year before I was experimenting a lot with high protein pancakes and that is too high in carbs (although I was getting a lot of protein from them), so this year I want to explore more low carb alternatives that are still high in protein. Less flour and more eggs.

The Afterburn Effect

The Afterburn Effect is a little known but very useful way to burn calories.

Whenever you get your heart rate up to approx. 80% of its maximum (for your age category) it kickstarts a chemical process whereby your body starts consuming more fat in your body. [Note: A similar effect is caused when you take cold showers, which starts burning brown fat.] This bio-chemical process will burn roughly 500 calories (exact results vary on the person and the exercise you did to kickstart it) over the next 24 hours.

Once started the Afterburn Effect burns through lots of calories and for the next 24 hours you feel really energetic and alive - and you are burning calories without realizing it. Over the next day you will feel less hungry and more energetic. The loss of hunger will be due to burning fat stores in massive amounts.

WAYS TO KICKSTART THE AFTERBURN EFFECT

#1. Sprinting really hard for several minutes. Lets say you sprint / run as fast as you can for 6 minutes and then stop. You will be out of breath, but the Afterburn Effect will be triggered.

#2. Cycling really hard.

#3. Fast Jogging - Not exactly running, but not jogging either. It may take longer than sprinting, but it will eventually get your heart rate way up there. Jogging by itself is not a guarantee that you will get your heart rate high enough so you have to push yourself to go faster than normal.

#4. Swimming, the faster the better.

#5. High Intensity Interval Training - The more intense the exercise the better the Afterburn Effect will be.

Basically any kind of cardio exercise which gets your heart pumping really fast will cause you to kickstart the Afterburn Effect. Any kind of high intensity training, including interval training or adrenaline sport, can kickstart the extra fat burn.

If you do a cardio exercise, like boxing for example, and then reach a point whee you are out of breath and have to stop then you probably hit the point where you kickstarted the Afterburn Effect.

HOW TO GET MORE RESULTS USING THE AFTERBURN EFFECT

#1. Exercise FASTER at the beginning of your exercise routine.

#2. Use Interval Training to give yourself breathers in between intense exercises.

#3. Use a heart monitor so you can get a measurement of how well you are raising your heart rate.

#4. Exercise once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once in the evening around 7 PM. 5 to 10 minutes each time will do it, as long as the exercises you are doing are intense and getting your heart rate up.

Number 4 above is super important, because it can cause a Double or Triple Afterburn Effect, causing you to burn intense amounts of fat in an hurry. It won't burn 1000 or 1500 calories, but it can raise it above 500 to around 700 to 900 calories. Do that 4 or 5 days in a row and you've already lost a pound of fat. Every day for a month and that is about 6 or 7 pounds, all for doing 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the afternoon, and 10 minutes in the evening.

SO WHY ISN'T EVERYONE DOING THIS?

Honestly. It is the same excuses people usually give for not exercising. "Don't have the time." "My knees hurt." "I always forget to exercise." Things like that.

The solution therefore is to make a schedule, find the time in your schedule, and if your knees hurt or something like that then find a cardio exercise which doesn't hurt your knees (eg. boxing).

If you find the time you can burn the calories so fast you will be amazed by the results.

And what is better is that these high intensity exercises also work very well for people with thyroid conditions. So you've got no excuses people. Add some intensity to your daily workout and see better results!


You are never too old to start a new sport

I was going through old emails earlier today and found one I had failed to answer (it was in the wrong folder).

In the email a mother was talking about signing her son up for archery lessons and said "he is kind of too old to start new sports".

I read this with quiet bemusement.

I didn't laugh out loud or anything. I was just mildly amused and a tad indignant. How is SIXTEEN too old to start a new sport?

I mean com'on, many athletes don't start their preferred sport until they are 17, 18, 19 or well into their 20s.

And there is nothing stopping adults and even seniors from taking up a sport - including a competitive sport - well into their golden years.

An elderly (and even overweight person) can easily learn to do the splits (see photo below) or any number of other activities during their older years.


They might get really into bicycles - and even fixing bicycles in their old age.


They might take up archery as a recreational sport - or even compete in archery competitions.


They might even take up boxing, martial arts or yoga.



What it really comes down to is that there is nothing stopping you from starting a new sport - and even competing in a new sport.

Age, disability, sex/gender, being overweight - these are just excuses.

Willpower and taking the first steps towards a new goal, those are the deciding factors.

Where to buy Whey Protein and Protein Bars

Whey protein is a must for weightlifters and anyone looking to build more muscle - including athletes. I would even argue that even ballet dancers should be consuming whey protein regularly, as the extra muscles will help prevent dance injuries.

However figuring out where to regularly buy your whey protein is a bit of mystery.

My advice is to shop around a bit and compare prices - and remember what percentage of protein the mix you are buying is, and the flavour.

I myself prefer chocolate whey protein, with a high protein content of 90% or so.

Below are two photos of prices from different locations. The first is from Bulk Barn, where the chocolate whey protein (90%) was being sold for $4.87 per 100 g.


And the second below is a sale at Shopper's Drug Mart. A 600 g container of 90% whey protein (chocolate again) for $19.99. Which math wise is $3.33 per 100 g. Even without the sale price, the Shoppers Drug Mart prices for whey protein are still better than Bulk Barn.


So the lesson here is try to shop around and compare prices. And better yet, buy it on sale.

And this also applies to protein bars.

A 20 g protein bar from Shoppers Drug Mart is $2.99.


But in contrast if you go to the grocery store - just a regular grocery store! - you can get Vector Protein Bars for a box of 5 for $2.49. Which is roughly 50 cents each.

Now the Vector bars only have 11 grams of protein per bar (and they taste better), but price wise the PowerBars with their 20 grams of protein are a complete rip off. You just eat 2 Vector bars and you get 22 grams of protein (10% more!) and you save yourself a bundle price wise because it works out to $1 for the two Vector bars to $2.99 for the 1 PowerBar.

So you save money and you get more protein.

I prefer the peanut ones, but the Vector bars come in a variety of nutty flavours. Whenever they are on sale I buy a bunch of them. As healthy snacks go after exercising they are my go to snack these days. That and carrot sticks.


Sleeping Positions and how they Effect your Health

A good night's sleep effects your health in many ways, and likewise different sleeping positions also effect your health - sometimes in adverse ways you didn't know about.

Below we will explore 9 sleeping positions and how they effect your health.

1. On Your Back, Arms at Sides

Good for the back and neck.
Back sleepers tend to snore more and sleep apnea is more common.

2. On Your Back, Arms Up (the Starfish Position)

Good for the back and neck.
Prevents facial wrinkles and skin breakouts.
May result in snoring and problems with acid reflux.
May put pressure on nerves in your shoulders, leading to pain.

3. Face Down

Good for digestion.
Difficulty breathing through your pillow.
May cause neck pain and back pain.

4. Fetal Position

May cause problems for your back and neck.
Restricts deep breathing in the chest.
Good position for problem snorers or pregnant women.

5. On Side, Arms at Sides

Okay for back and neck, also reduces sleep apnea.
May cause facial wrinkles and sagging breasts.

6. On Side, Arms Out

Okay for back and neck, also reduces sleep apnea.
Shoulder and arm pain due to restricted blood flow and pressure on the nerves.

7. On the Right Side

May cause heartburn while you are sleeping.
Better for pregnant women, improves circulation to the fetus.

8. On the Left Side

Puts more strain on your liver, lungs, and stomach (while minimizing acid reflux). This in turn will make you hungrier in the morning.

9. Pillow-Supplemented

Regardless of which sleeping position you prefer, you will get a better night’s rest with less pain in the morning by supplementing your body with a pillow.

Back sleepers can put a small pillow under the arch of their spine, side sleepers can place a pillow between their knees, and stomach sleepers can place a pillow under their hips to support the joints and allow for full, pain-free relaxation.

And remember to stretch every morning after sleeping! It will improve your flexibility after staying in the same position(s) all night.

Scheduling a Personal Trainer

Honestly.

I am so busy sometimes I don't know how I manage to fit in personal training clients half the time. It makes me tempted to raise my rates again.

Case in point. Most of my evenings and weekends are booked pretty solid. If someone wants a training sessions they need to book in advance, sometimes weeks in advance if they want a specific time slot.

The times I am most available are weekday mornings and afternoons - and even those are filling up on specific days.

So if a client asks me for a session on an evening or weekend, I look at my schedule, I look at their location, and I go "Hmm. Yes I can make it." or "Hmm. Nope, can't fit it in." And there is a lot more nopes lately.

But I am not planning to raise my rates any time soon. Maybe in the Spring I will raise my personal training rate to $40 per hour. But for now I will leave it as is.



Why Good Posture Matters

Bad posture hurts your muscles and harms your bone structure.

Good posture builds muscle and maintains bone structure.

But that isn't the end of it. Posture also effects your quality of sleep, eating habits, overall fitness, ability to perform a variety of exercises, and your overall health.

Now how do you improve your posture?

Start by ridding yourself of bad habits like slouching while you sit, leaning forward or backwards too much. Next do stretches every day to improve your flexibility. Lastly, yoga and abdominal exercises will also help to improve your posture - but general exercise will help too.


Live Longer, Eat Healthy and Exercise

The Japanese are some of the longest living people on the planet and no where is this more true than the island of Okinawa, where many of the longest living Japanese people live.

Now keeping in mind this is not a matter of genetics. It is a matter of exercise and diet. The people of Japan simply exercise a lot more and healthier when compared to many other cultures around the planet.

It is very much a health-crazed culture which values eating healthy foods and regular exercise, and this is doubtlessly the biggest contributing factors to their long lifespan.

Japan's quality of health there is ranked number one in the world. Their life expectancy is also number one. If you live in Canada or the USA however it’s a different story, and not one to brag about.

America’s health score is the worst amongst all developed nations. Canada is significantly better, but it is dropping in recent years as a higher obesity rate starts to take grip in Canada. What is funny is that the USA spends more money on health care - billions of dollars more than any other country. The reason is because Americans get sick very easily, they get cancer very easily, and they get a huge variety of health problems very easily - and it is all due to low exercise and an unhealthy diet.

So what is Japan doing right and what is the USA doing wrong?

Infant Mortality Rate

Well lets start with infant mortality rate (IMR) as that can be a big contributor to life expectancy. For example if you have 100 babies and 50% die as infants and the rest live until 100 years old, then the average lifespan is 50 years old. Thus a country with a high IMR will have a lower life expectancy.

Japan's IMR is 2.17 per 1000 births.
USA's IMR is 5.9 per 1000 births.

So right from the very start America is killing their babies with bad food. Or maybe it is some other cause. (Such as a health care system driven by greed...)

Some people point the finger at America's tendency to vaccinate babies like crazy. Babies in the USA get 26 doses of vaccines. Japanese babies gets a mere 12. Now there is no proof that over-vaccination is tied to infant mortality in the USA, but there needs to be a study done on this sometime to see if a lower vaccination schedule would increase the number of babies who live past the first year. Because the IMR alone lowers life expectancy in the USA by a year or two.

Culture

Japanese people believe in being peaceful, calm, positive and to behave honourably. Especially in public. It is sort of a Zen Buddhist thing that they believe in. They believe in being patient, forgiving, kind and virtuous. For the vast majority of Japanese this is working really well because their culture is very low crime.

The murder rate in Japan is 0.4 per 100,000 per year.

The murder rate in the USA is 4.8 per 100,000 per year.

(Note: Japan's suicide rate is higher, but that is only because some of them believe in seppuku - Japanese ritual suicide when a person has dishonoured themselves so much they can no longer perform a role in society. Since seppuku is mostly a male thing it shows in the difference between life expectancy for women and men in Japan, where women live 7 years longer on average. So a quick way to raise your life expectancy is not believe in suicide.)

Exercise

Japanese people love hiking in the mountains. A long mountain climb burns a lot of calories and is a bit like weightlifting for the legs because you are going uphill so much. Many Japanese people also enjoy jogging, swimming, weightlifting and a huge variety of exercises.

Bathing

Now you might not think this is a factor, but many Japanese people swear by it. Soaking in very hot water - especially hot springs - is said to be very therapeutic for the skin. Whether this increase longevity is another topic, but I am mentioning it anyway. The extreme heat of the water does kill bacteria and that contributes to a lower rate of infectious diseases and illnesses.

In contrast most Americans take showers, which doesn't scrub off all the bacteria.

Green Tea

Unsweetened green tea is most common beverage in Japan is tea. Their green tea includes gyokuro, sencha, bancha, matcha (powdered green tea), konacha and hojicha. This may be the healthiest drink that exists and that is why the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese drink it as their main beverage. Green tea is very high in alkaline - and alkaline prevents cancer. When compared to other foods with high alkaline scores green tea has an acid binding score of 53.50 while spinach is only 28.01. (High blood acidity is a high contributor to cancer, so reducing the acid in your blood using alkaline makes a huge difference.)

Green tea also lowers blood pressure because it contains theanine, which helps relax a person. In contrast most Americans drink coffee - which raises blood pressure and makes you jittery.

Diet

Japanese people eat a wide variety of vegetables and also a lot of fish. This extra variety of greens, beans, nuts and berries, and even seaweed means that they get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in their diet. In contrast most Americans go for "meat and potatoes", which doesn't give them much variety in their diet - and the only seaweed most Americans are eating is an additive to their ice cream.

Fish wise Japanese people eat a lot of tuna and salmon, which is very healthy for you because of the Omega-3 fatty acids in it. In contrast Americans eat a lot of pork, poultry and beef - which are high in bacteria. Fish is readily available all over the USA, but most Americans prefer farm animals for their meat.

Japanese people also eat a lot of soy - which has a long list of health benefits.

With respect to sugary foods Americans eat 3 times that of people in Japan. The average American consumes 153 lbs of sugar per year. That is almost half a pound of sugar per day.

Taken all together the obesity rate in Japan is 3.2%. In the USA it is 35%, so clearly Japan is doing something right and Americans are doing it horrifically wrong.

In an effort to lower obesity rates in Japan even further the Japanese government has reclassified obesity as anyone with a BMI over 25 (the global standard is 30 or more). This way they can scare more Japanese people into eating healthier.

The following is a list of popular foods in Japan:

Sweet potatoes/yam; Soy; Goya - a type of melon; Konnyaku - a Japanese jelly derived from the starchy tuber of the Konjac plant; Shiitake Mushroom; Gobo - a root vegetable; Hechima - a gourd or squash; Seaweed; Turmeric - this spice contains a powerful anti-inflammatory; Mugwort or fuchiba spice; Hihatsu - a type of pepper; Fennel or ichiba spice.

Archery Compliment / Tight Clusters

I got a compliment from a fellow archer today. I don't remember his exact words but it was something like this:

"Wow. You are getting really tight clusters. That is pretty impressive because you're not using a clicker [an Olympic archery gadget]."

My explanation for my tight arrow clusters?

Anchor point, anchor point, anchor point!

Now obviously sometimes you will make a mistake and you will have one shot that isn't near the cluster, but if you get your anchor point really consistent - and your form is super consistent - then your arrows should be in a tight cluster regularly and sometimes even touching one another.

Or on rare occasions you might even hit your own arrow.





September Motivational Quotes

"Don't dream it. Do it. Only then will you succeed."
- Charles Moffat


"Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it."
- Oprah Winfrey

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

"Some people dream of success... while others wake up and work hard at it."
- Author Unknown

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

"Eighty percent of success is showing up."
- Woody Allen

"Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
- Samuel Beckett 

"Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records."
- William Arthur Ward
 

"Champions keep playing until they get it right."
- Billie Jean King
 

"Fans don't boo nobodies."
- Reggie Jackson
 

"Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts."
- Dan Gable
 

"Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best."
- Tim Duncan

"Gray skies are just clouds passing over."
- Frank Gifford


Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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