Previously, in Part 1 of Christmas Hacks, we talked about the Eating aspect related to staying on track towards your fat-loss and performance goals. In this section, I’ll get right into the Training + Movement aspects to focus on during the next 2 weeks of gluttony, over-indulgence and sloth that come along with the Holidays.
1. BODY AS ONE PIECE
2. MOVE FAST AND SLOW
Aerobic training, which is slow and long over time at low intensities does much for recovery. Whether “recovery” is from the previous day’s “Strength/Power/Resistance/I did weights” programming or “recovery” is from simply being inactive or missing training sessions during the holidays – Moving slow and low does wonders for the body when it has rust to kick off and rids fogginess of the mind. “low and slow” DIRECTLY trains your aerobic capabilities while indirectly enhancing your anaerobic capabilities.
“So what is it, JD? High Intensity or Low Intensity. Make up your mind!”, you might be thinking.
Whether it’s treadmill Hill Sprints interspersed with treadmill walking OR Kettlebell Snatches interspersed with Planks OR Sled Pushes interspersed with walks – I aim to Work and Rest in an Interval Training format no longer than a brief 15 minute session. I’m in, I’m out and I’m feeling refreshed knowing that I not only got the best of both Anaerobic and Aerobic Worlds, but I’m strutting out of the gym knowing that I’m a Caloric furnace, even hours after I’ve left the gym.
3. BE MINDFUL
If it’s one thing I’ve learned from the current and last 4 months of weightlifting under my coach, it’s that focus is everything. You might think that clearing your mind is simply too new age for you, but TRUST ME, a mind is a terrible thing to waste (in the gym).
Focus your mind to complete your lift.
BEING MINDFUL, might be a hard concept to swallow, but BEING MINDFUL in the context of your training and especially during the Holiday season is exactly what your mind and body crave.
If you’re not able to do yoga or set aside 10 minutes daily for personal meditation time, then focus on your lifts if you’re a lifter; Visualize.
You need and owe it to yourself to DECOMPRESS your mind.
Face it, socializing, shopping, wrapping, praising/worshipping and even eating/boozing all take a lot of work and drain your body and headspace.
4. TAKE A HIKE
Get out of the stuffy restaurant or home of your hosts; tell them you have to take a call or have taken up smoking (Don’t actually do it) or forgot something in the car. Go Walk. You need fresh air and your guts inside of you need to digest, which simply isn’t efficient when you go sit or lay down.
5. SLEEP + RECOVER
Your body needs to digest and heal itself, not only from your training, but from your holiday food and drink. Give yourself enough hours after socializing and late night partying to rest properly.
In regards to recovery – as always, tack on some mobility/flexibility and release into your training and day. Enhance your performance by noting that you’ve likely missed training days, modified training days or overtrained when you were able to fit in a training day, as a means of compensation. The end result is rust and really, soreness. Do the things you know you need to do in order to RECOVER.
Remember, the goal is Performance and Fat-loss, Not zero training or mediocrity in training.
These are just a few important Training + Movement Guidelines to Hack Your Programming with amidst the Partying.
Merry Christmas to all and Have and Healthy and Happy 2016.
Evolve or Die.
Rounding out 2015, we’ve arrived at what could be the hardest two weeks of the entire year.
Face it, if you’ve been on a strategic meal plan or training regimen, for weeks/months up to now, then NOW is the time when you’re most likely to fall off.
In part 1 of this series here are 5 Eating strategies to implement and execute during the Holidays that’ll keep you on track towards your training and performance goals.
It also serves as an opportunity to show others that you actually care to share your healthy lifestyle with them. Face it – for a lot of your friends and family, YOU may be the only exposure into the health and fitness world that they have. Be brave and proactive; be the gateway and expose them to the concept and truth that eating well can be delicious and enjoyable, too. Who the hell wants to eat JUST grilled chicken breast on a bed of steamed frozen veg, anways? JUST. EAT. REAL. FOOD.
Try an intermittent fast for a day or two leading up to the parties and thereafter. Establish a fasting window time frame where the only thing you put through your GI-tract is water. Set this to about 16h. Yes, 16h of no food.
This, of course, can and should be included with your sleep time. The remaining 8h will be called your “feeding” window. Include your party, luncheon/dinner and drinks consumption, here.
I’ve been a true believer and advocate of Fasting for a few years now, even practicing it through different training phases and times of the year. It enhances performance, helps with overall digestion and health; but that’s another entire blog entry to be talked about. Google here, for details and studies.
4. PLANTS + PROTEIN
At minimum, 1/2 of your plate should strive to be stacked with plants of some sort. This will help with digestion, help you obtain all of those healthy minerals and vitamins to be strong like the Hulkster, and balance out the possible refined/pro-inflammatory foods you might ingest (alcohol/carbs/meats)
Also, on the other 1/2 (or less) of your plate, emphasize real sources of protein and lean sources of protein and healthy fats. If you’re vegan/vegetarian, paleo/primal, let’s all agree here towards the fact that real sources of protein and healthy fats are best, while refined/processed are terrible. High protein foods along with stacks of plants on your plate will leave you full, hydrated and well-nourished. Indirectly, it’ll leave little to no room for heavy carbs and desserts.
Don’t be a blacksheep and/or feel uncomfortable. Oppositely, don’t be the source of other people feeling discomfort with their choices. Rather, lead by example and stay true to your needs without being dogmatic about food. Holidays are for enjoyment; the term “enjoyment’ as defined by your needs and perception, subjectively.
I know that the holidays can be a hard time when you’re striving towards fat-loss, hitting a new PR in your lifts or simply be healthier, but only if you make it that way.
If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.
Evolve or Die.
These are all arguments that have been going on forever.
My take: your squat is based on your needs.
Want massive legs and definition?
We’ve been squatting since we came into this world and nobody taught us how.
But in terms of the lifting aspect of a barbell squat…where did it start? Why did it start?
Always dig and know your ‘WHY’? It will make you more passionate and connected to your lifting.
I love this stuff. Enjoy.
Craft Your Lift.
My new love is the Snatch. Its variations include, but are not limited to the Power Snatch and even the Snatch High Pull.
Whatever the case, the Snatch is a lift of beauty displaying not only Power, but precision and technique.
That said, here are the top 10 alternatives for any athlete looking to gain the benefits of Power/Speed Strength without having to learn the technical aspects of a Barbell Snatch.
6. Broad Jumps
4. Depth Jumps
1. Box Jumps
I wouldn’t recommend putting all of the above, let alone more than 3 exercises together in a training session. Oppositely, any of these exercises performed individually within a program over time with gradual progressions and loads will benefit any athlete looking to improve their Power Development (Jumping, Sprinting, Striking, Lifting).
Keep these in mind and you’ll be tearing it up on the field, the platform and in life in no time.
Evolve or Die.
Training for a few weeks in the craft of olympic weightlifting has taught me to adapt and change my Set up and approach to lifting in regards to everything from my Squat, Hip Hinge, 1st pull, Overhead Press, Jumping and a slew of other things on my personal checklist.
It’s not so much that I’ve been doing the above mentioned things wrong, it’s just that I’ve been applying different methods in a different context via a different school of thought (Olympic weightlifting vs. kettlebell training, powerlifting etc.).
One thing that’s taking some time and investment in getting used to – is something as simple as my grip. Olympic Weightlifting demands that you handle a bar in most of your training and ALL of your competitions using what’s called a HOOK GRIP.
Below, Powerlifter, Derek Boyer briefly explains the benefit of a hook grip’s security, leverage, anatomical and biomechanical significance. Some food for thought and considerations to add to your personal lifting where it may apply, alongside your double hands over prone grip and your mixed prone/supinated grip.
Here’s another explanation and application of the Hook Grip
Evolve or Die.
I often see questionable deadlifting on social media and even in person.
Here’s a great video between Supertraining’s Mark Bell + Mobility WOD’s Kelly Starrett, as we get to listen on a deadlifting session with the two. Tons of info, in 45 mins, folks. Enjoy.
“It’s not just what’s about on the bar, here.” – Kelly Starrett
Please, Craft your Lifts.
Evolve or Die.
Although the accessibility of new fitness, exercise and training rituals and programs are faster than they’ve ever been in history via the internet, there’s nothing quite like going back in time and reading about how the Strength Community of yesteryear sought and found their strength.
Thanks to Art of Manliness, here’s a great article showcasing a few odd exercises to increase ‘Physical Vigor’.
A perfect “To-Do” for anyone’s morning – somewhere before your morning run, yet after your ‘Sun Salutation’.
Have A Strong Day.
The 2 and 5 Minute Rules of getting stuff done has been around awhile, apparently.
The 2 Minute Rule of Defeating Procrastination (Starting)
This concept is brewed in Newton’s Law of Motion that, “An object in motion will stay in motion.”
The 2 minute rule is great because it tackles our laziness by simply starting our dreaded task. That really is often the hardest part – STARTING. Whether it’s training, savings, work or relationship-related, start your task the moment you think of doing in within a 2 minute window.
You’ll be surprised that you’ll probably end up finishing in one shot.
The 5 Minute Rule of Defeating Procrastination (Consistency/Repetition)
Thereafter, dedicate 5 minutes here, 5 minutes more there and 5 minutes more later on or even tomorrow.
This concept is brewed in Psychology’s Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
These 2 rules might seem like little things and overly-simplified, but that’s the beauty of it; It’s DOABLE and you’re already making strides further than you were doing nothing and procrastinating in the first place.
Get Started and Be Consistent.
Evolve or Die.
I’m Sick. I’ve been sick over the last few days. I’m a big sick baby.
So how do I cope? Do I still train?
Let’s look at the common cold or flu situation…
But let’s not downplay Health. Let’s not downplay rest. Let’s not downplay proper nutrition, too.
To get healthy from illness, You need to:
B) EAT A SURPLUS OF NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS
As for Training…
A) DELOAD/GROOVE THE MOTION
B) WORK ON RELEASE, MOBILITY AND FLEXIBILITY
C) INCREASE REST PERIODS
I’ve learned, especially over the last two nights, that Moving is pretty damn therapeutic. Moving during illness, whether on my own, doing my own program or coaching a class makes me feel pretty damn good and better.
Friend and Athlete Shawn B. put me up on this debate from the Crossfit Channel.
Once checked out, however, I realized that two JD Approved + respectable people in the training world – Kelly Starrett of Mobility WOD and “Becoming A Supple Leopard“, along with Lon Kilgore, Co-Author of “Starting Strength“, were on the panel discussing the PRO side of “Knees Out” as a cue for squatting.
It’s a great 30 minute piece for coaches/trainers and especially the layman/laywoman trying to understand all of this madness.
What’s my take, you ask?
All panelists bring great points to the table. But ultimately, I feel that “Knees Out” is a great cue for most of the population that tends to lose hip stability and buckle their knees inward during the bottom position of the squat. The problem, obviously with any cue when used as a guideline or gospel in a book, is that there is no coach there with you.
There’s nobody to correct or give you the thumbs up.
Where does this leave the elite level athlete?
2 very different starting and end points, unfortunately, and that’s the problem with relying on a book or video to teach you.
Will I use, “Knees Out” when necessary and coaching my athletes. YES.
Should anyone ever rely on a book to teach them Movement?
I just want you to…
Have a Strong Day.