Posts written by Shane Niemeyer

Why “easy’ sessions are important too.

Its never ideal to generalize, so keep in mind that this is not an “absolute”
 
Over the years one of the most common tendencies I’ve observed, is a tendency for people to go “steady” when they should be going EASY. The more often we workout, the more important it becomes to add in workouts that are easy, at low intensity.   Here we will define “easy” as any activity performed at less than 70% of threshold (heart rate, power, or pace).  

BENEFITS of going easy:

1. Fat: when we go easy, we push our body into a “zone” that shifts our substrate utilization towards metabolizing fat as a source of fuel, and away from its tendency to utilize glucose and glycogen (we can think of both as blood sugar) as the primary source of fuel during exercise. Fat is a very energy dense substrate, and training easy forces our body to become more efficient at lipolysis (breaking down and utilizing fat)
*remember, a calorie is a unit of energy. its the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius at a pressure of 1 atmosphere.
*1 gram of FAT= 9 calories *
*1 gram of protein= 4 calories
*1 gram of carbohydrate (CHO)= 4 calories

2. Recover: Reducing the load and intensity allows the body to truly recover from more intense and demanding sessions. It enables us to remove metabolic waste and engorges the tissues allowing more effective delivery of nutrients to the tissues and organs of the body (including the brain).

3. Foundation: Easy, and light aerobic sessions promote the development of both mitochondrial density and capillary density, both of which greatly enhance the body’s ability to go harder when its time to exercise intensely. Light exercise helps to maintain the strength of our skeletal system, and connective tissue, which are the underlie structural integrity.

4. Form: Easier/recovery oriented sessions are a great time to focus on, form, rhythm, and timing of a particular activity. Its a great time to really focus on integrating the ideal mechanics we are trying to employ. “Easy” allows us to develop desired muscular neurological patterns associated with proper “form”.

5. Mental: Easy sessions are a great time to rehearse the mental aspects of our training and acknowledge that we are intentionally “holding” back, so that we can truly “let-it-rip” the next challenging session. Light bouts often require discipline and restraint, two cornerstones of sound character. It also helps create space for us to “drop in” to the moment, and immerse our self in what we are doing, ultimately pushing is towards a state of flow. The more often we engage in flow, the more likely we are to be able to re-create flow when we really want to (more challenging sessions).

If we gravitate towards steady state exercise we don’t realize the benefits of easy training, and it becomes more difficult for us to dig as deep as we should during harder sessions.
Steady sessions have their place, but generally speaking, people find them-selves in this grey area too often.

Keep this in mind throughout the week and down the road. 2016 is our year to get FIT, and really become FULLY INTEGRATED TODAY.    Its about how our cognition works with our emotional state and our physical body to produce what the world sees as “I”.

unnamed

choices_3[1]

The Power of Choosing

Sometimes we loose sight of the fact that every moment we are making choices. We choose what to wear, what to buy, what to eat, whether or not we will workout, if we will read or watch television…. On and on the choices roll without cessation.

Our experience is a stream of unending decisions. Each decision we make creates a new world different from the alternatives we eliminated at the time of choosing. Our life is built upon the worlds we’ve created with our choices.

If we don’t like the quality and content of our life we have the freedom to choose differently at any point. In a moment, we can change our thoughts, our emotional state, or our actions. We choose our state of being.

You alone are responsible for the thoughts you have, the actions you take and the perspective through which you view the world.

Over the years I have heard people blame their failures on everything from hormones and genetics to their environment at work. Certainly, external or biological factors can influence our life but they cannot control it. In fact, multiple fields of research indicate that our choices have much more impact on our lives than any other factor.

Examine your choices carefully. So much of our choosing occurs while operating on auto-pilot, what David Foster Wallace calls, “the automatic default setting” (below is a link to his commencement speech which is excellent). Beware of the language you use when talking with yourself and with others. Choose to engage in thoughts and actions that are trending towards the images you have in your head of the person you wish to become and the life you want to lead.

Our choices always have more significance and value when they lead us towards the things we want in life. However, we can’t know exactly where we’re headed unless we develop and maintain a picture of our dreams. Most of us have given this some thought superficially, but few have rolled up their sleeves and developed a belief system, philosophy of living, or mission statement beyond some brief, and intermittent intellectualizing. This type of vision crystallizes our view of the world and brings the most appropriate choices into clear view.

With that said, I will be asking (yet again) what’s on the horizon over the next 4, 8, and 12 months (and beyond). What are the things you will work towards? What do you want to achieve? It doesn’t matter if this involves 3 hours of exercise each week or 20. What matters is that we continue to explore the role that movement and exercise play in your life.

Failure to do this makes us more like the masses who stumble through life groping around in the dark instead of living their dreams out loud.

Choose to train and to focus on the session. Choose to nourish your body with nutrient dense food and your mind with constructive, ameliorative thoughts and notions. Engage only in activities that enrich your life.

If you’ve never heard this speech, you should have a listen (David Foster Wallace commencement)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CrOL-ydFMI

We are always after better choices
I will be checking in, all the time.


images[9]

The most dangerous myth and how we overcome it 9.29 soapbox

Culturally, all day every day, we are inundated with the latest schemes selling “short cuts”, “easy ways”, and “life hacks”, we’ve become obsessed with gimmicks.

This notion of effortless “fixes” has penetrated every institution slowly undermining and eroding our national character and collective consciousness. It makes us slower, fatter, and provides endless excuses.

The FACT of the matter is that true and lasting growth requires effort. Its a process that requires CONSTANT attention and continual input of energy.

Our endeavor of exercise and fitness is no different. The formula for fitness is simple : F(fitness)= E(effort)+S(sacrifice). Sometimes this means exchanging comfort for discomfort or waking instead of sleeping.

Its not just about exercise though, is it? What we are really talking about is devotion to an ideal, and for us that ideal involves the maintenance and improvement of our organism which embodies the essence of who we are as thinking, feeling beings.

By tending to our bodies in terms of exercise, nutrition, and stress reduction we are simultaneously enriching our minds and our souls which are tied to and enveloped inside of our organism.

With all this in mind; so long as we develop and maintain a clear idea of who we are becoming and where we are headed, and continue to perform the work required to lead us in that direction, we become better, stronger and more highly developed in every way. Once the work becomes routine or “easy” its time to take a look at what we are doing, how we are doing it and what we will gain from it (again, growth requires effort)

I urge you to continue travelling THE ROAD NOT TAKEN; doing the work, accepting the difficulty and overcoming the obstacles the week produces. I will look over your shoulder throughout-

Perhaps Frost is so often cited because its the beautiful truth….

images[9]

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

images[9]

motivating

Soapbox moment for my crew- week of 9.14

WILL-POW-ER (N): THE ABILITY TO CONTROL YOURSELF : STRONG DETERMINATION THAT ALLOWS YOU TO DO SOMETHING DIFFICULT

This week I want us to explore the concepts of self-denial and force of will. Willpower has been identified over and over as a hallmark of all great men and women. They choose to forgo comfort and laze- putting forth the energy required to overcome a common existence.

It’s easy to sleep in. It’s easy to turn the television on after a long day (vs reading or being productive at home). It’s easy to eat shitty food. Culturally, we often use phrases such as,”the easy way out” or “the path of least resistance”. We worship convenience and leisure. The road to higher development demands that we put forth effort. Generating effort is an active process unlike the passive state of mediocrity which does not require the addition of new energy.

Every week presents new challenges but the process we follow is the same: plan, focus on the activity at hand, and show up each moment as the best possible version of yourself regardless of the circumstance. This is how we keep moving towards our best possible self. As always, I will be checking in. Make it a good day and keep it fired it up-

client

An “Anybody” Workout for a New Year and New “You”

It’s officially the new year and many of us will be embarking on a mission of self evolution in the form of “resolutions”. I wanted to put together a workout for those who haven’t been to the gym or worked out in a while.  This particular workout is designed to give you some direction and get you moving again. It will serve to prepare you for more work in the coming weeks and months. According to the University College of London it takes 66 days (on average) to create a new behavioral pattern–this workout will carry you through the first 2-3 weeks of that stretch. Read More

Year-Round Strength Training for Triathletes, Part 2: Muscular Endurance Phase

Part two of my four-part series about year-round strength training for triathletes just published on TrainingPeaks.

In part one, we presented the goals, “rules”, and a series of exercises for the first phase of the yearly program: the 3-5 week Stabilization Phase.

In part two, we discuss the objectives of the Muscular Endurance (ME) phase that follows and should last about 3-6 weeks. As in part one, I provide a sample workout along with instruction videos.

Read the full article on TrainingPeaks.com.

css.php