Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Healthy Approach to Physical Fitness Training

Mark Sisson, over at MarksDailyApple.com posted a good article called Is Your Workout Worth The Risk? Check it out if you work out regularly as it has really good points about listening to your body, limiting/eliminating higher-risk exercises, good form, and many other common-sense daily practices. While his post and this one are primarily for the person who works out regularly, the advice can help anyone. As Mark says, everyone will deal with this issue sooner or later.
A recent survey of CrossFit athletes found that 73.5% had experienced an injury during training, 7% of which required surgery. But before the anti-CrossFit crowd starts gloating, realize that this injury rate is similar to Olympic lifting, powerlifting, and gymnastics and lower than contact sports like rugby. Similar polls in runners find that in a given year, 13% of runners experience knee injuries, 8% get Achilles tendinitis, 7% suffer hamstring pulls, 10% deal with plantar fasciitis, 10% have shin splints, 14% report iliotibial band syndrome, and 6% get stress fractures. There’s no way around it: engaging in non-essential, extracurricular bouts of physical exertion, also known as working out, carries some risk. Not working out carries its own set of (greater) risks, but that’s beside the point. As many a lauded strength coach has said, injuries are a matter of when, not if. And many of these injuries become chronic injuries that stay with you for the rest of your life.
 Though his article is good on the do's and don'ts of training, I would add a few things to Mark's excellent post:

1. Rehabilitation of injured joints and muscles is critical.
My goal is to rehab the injury so that area is stronger than it was before. Finding a good PT (physical therapist) and maintaining a good relationship with them is critical as well. It can be a PT or DC or sports massage or Osteopath - whatever works for you. 

2. Backs seem to an issue for most people sooner or later. Personally, I know more people with messed up backs from doing yoga so be careful if yoga is your thing.  Foundation Training developed by Dr Eric Goodman has proven itself with my wife, son and myself.

3. An excellent joint mobility program is call R-phase by Eric Cobb. 

4. Egoscue Training was recommended by my Tai Chi teacher. I have done some of the online videos to help me through a knee tweak from skiing and the exercises are simple and seem to work.

The bottom line is that a workout regimen needs to have a preventative group of movements
like Pilates, Foundation Training, R-Phase, etc. Though I have done Tai Chi for 20+ years, I hesitate to recommend it or Yoga because there is definitely a risk of injury if done incorrectly and in my experience there are not a lot of good teachers who know how to limit students egos to push and then get hurt. For example, Upward Dog done with the legs off the ground is very high risk for lower back injury. Most people should be doing Cobra with no weight on the lower back muscles. Upward Dog done by someone who knows the technique and has a good teacher who can spot slight form issues is safe, but, is it worth the risk?

In summary, think about breaking your training into two parts. For every workout day (a run, crossfit, kettlebells, weight training, etc), have a core/preventative day like Pilates, Foundation Training, joint mobility, balance, etc.  And, get on good terms with a PT and rehab all your injuries back to making the injured component better than it was before. Invest time in finding a PT, ART specialist, ROLF'ing, Osteopath, etc that you trust and has a record of success helping you.

And, last by not least, have a goal for how long you want to live and treat your body as if it has to last that long. If your goal is 100 and you want to be active that long, look at good examples like Jack LaLanne or others of what they did to be active and healthy to the end.

In an effort to keep this post short and readable, I included links and brief mentions of many resources but did not go into detail. Use the comments section to ask questions about any areas that you want more information. Have a happy body day and be kind to it! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Best of 2014

Music 

Since the Grammys were just given out it seemed I should publish this post which I wrote up about two months ago and never felt inspired to release. Since I disagreed with every award except #10 Best Electronic/Dance Album (Syro by Aphex Twin) it seemed my list should get published to provide some counter-weight (haha, like anyone reads this blog) to the misguided Grammy judges and nominators.

Albums

  1. War on Drugs - Lost In The Dream  Why?I discovered this album in early May and have been listening to it a lot since then. It still sounds new after six months of heavy play. Jangly guitars, good vocals, interesting lyrics and a driving beat make for a good listen over and over.Under The Pressure is beautiful example of the music on this album. 
  2. Hundred Waters - The Moon Rang Like A Bell Why? Even though the voice of Nicole Miglis can sometimes be annoying due to the difficulty understanding her and the piccolo-pitch she reaches, it is the instrument-like quality of her singing meshed with the amazing musicianship of the band along with songs that paint landscapes in your mind that make this a wonderful album. As an aside, I had to put my cat of 16 years down due to a broken leg and a couple weeks later when listening to this song, I almost stopped breathing.
  3. Kelis - Food Why? I love ribs and with a song like Jerk Ribs that just smokes like the best R&B, this hit a very high rotation on my playlists this year.
  4. Courtney Barnett - A Sea Of Split Peas Why? With the funniest song of the year being Avant Gardener, this just had to be a top 10 pick.
  5. Quilt - Held In Splendor Why? Great psychedelic music that reminds me of The Jefferson Airplane and hints of other bands. Like one friend put it, listening to Quilt is like drinking a fine wine where layers of sound and musical influences peel off the more you hear it. 
Here is Pitchforks top 50 of which with the exception of the Kelis album are included. 

Singles

  1. Vic Mensa - Down On My Luck
  2. Pharrell Williams - Happy

Video 

The videos of 2014 were very strong overall reflecting the superb depth, variety and artistry of music matched with equally strong visuals that produce spellbinding interludes to reality.

Men's
Vic Mensa - Down On My Luck


I liked this video for a few reasons. Mr. Mensa employed a different kind of delivery that is unique among hiphop where the words are almost slurred together. The music has very engaging hooks. And, the video is very creative showing how life is the culmination of many small choices and when we are in the life groove the negative stuff does not manifest.

Women's

Ms Banks' video combined interesting hooks, rap, and infectious beat together with imaginative filming, props, and costumes all delivered by a confident and attractive artist who pulls off an unabashed powerful performance that can leave you speechless when played over the right video and audio equipment.



Honorable Mention for being very cool.

Books

The Ocean At The End of Lane by Neil Gaiman. I didn't read too many books this year. This is in the fantasy genre and an enjoyable read.

Meal

Capannina - Italian restaurant on Union Street in San Francisco. The grilled octopus was a revelation. I have never tasted anything so amazing and if my eyes were closed would never have known what I was eating.Great service, a table by the window onto Union Street, family, wine that matched the food, and amazing food created magic.

Movie

I did not watch many movies this year and was mostly underwhelmed by the ones I did see.  One that I have really enjoyed and have watched at least three times so far is Discovering Mavericks.  It is a movie about the surfer who first discovered the California coast location for maverick waves and the stories about the first surfers who rode them. You can watch it for free on Vimeo. It is more than a movie about surfing. The interviews go beyond the surfing into the motivations of these people and how their lives and character are shaped by the waves and experiences.

Television

 Nothing came close to The Roosevelts.  Ken Burns created a documentary about Teddy, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt that is not only a fantastic story of their lives and accomplishments, it helps you understand how different our country and world is today because of them. The expansion of Presidential executive authority, the national park system, social security, labor laws, human rights, and on and on and on are the result of these people. A must-see to understand how the world we live in today and the many things we take for granted now came about.