What’s Your Fluff?

It’s been far too long since my last blog post! Life throws you into a whirlwind and sometimes you just have to hold on for the ride. Let me update you on what has changed in my life…

  • Working full time as a teacher, hired on to develop an Academic Support curriculum and to teach health science
  • For the fall semester, got more experience as the strength & conditioning coach to work with water polo, baseball, soccer, basketball, in addition to football
  • Took up training Jiu Jitsu (something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile and was further inspired by an old friend Sam Yang, check his page out)
  • I finally moved in together with Amanda
  • Taking it a step further, got engaged to her
  • Knocked it out of the ballpark and made the ultimate commitment and married her
  • Is there more to say…

Wedding

I’m enjoying my spring break, away from the kids. I get to use this time to breath a little, reflect, and hopefully create a game plan to finish the year off. Also, I’m using this break to cut off my body’s addiction to caffeine. Yes, I do currently have a headache as I’m writing this!

A typical day of mine will looks like this:

5:00-6:00     Meditate (as of yesterday), ironing clothes, eating breakfast, hygiene, visualize the day
6:00-6:45     Drive to work and either listen to a strength & conditioning podcast or meditation music to clear my mind
6:45-7:00     Classroom set up, drop my lunch off, and finalize teaching plan
7:00-8:00     Open weight room for athletes and staff. 8-15 athletes and 2-3 staff members on average
8:00-2:00     Teaching, meeting with coaches, and struggling to positively change the mindset of my at-risk students
2:00-3:45     Football offseason program: speed, agility, and/or conditioning with strength training
3:45-4:30     Personal time to re-energize (or try to at least)
4:30-5:30     Tues/Thursdays I train w/ emphasis on strength along with Jiu Jitsu training; other days I work on the next day’s lesson plan or take a power nap
6:00-7:30     Jiu Jitsu practice Tues/Thurs/Sat (at least that’s the goal); training a client or grading papers working on lesson plan
8:00-9:00     Eat with my wifey, relax, errands, and reading interesting articles on Facebook and emails
9:00-9:30     Read a book (currently reading Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and the fourth book of Ender’s game)
9:30-10:00   Lights out!

During the weekdays, my wife and I don’t turn the tv on (there are those seldom days) because we choose not to make time for it. Instead, we both value sleep, so we strive to get at least 8 hours. Usually it’s closer to 7. Some fluff that still take up my days are time spent on those game apps on my cell phone. I’m still striving to be more productive and I had recently heard on one of my podcast that one of the key strategy to achieve success is to have,

BALANCE WITH PRIORITIES

For example, if my main priorities are:

  1. Family
  2. Health
  3. Career

I know that being happy for me is to balance my time and energy on those 3 listed items. If I get too sucked into my career and health, my wife will let me know.

If my life is filled with too much fluff or fluffiness, then those are just distractors that prevent me from getting to the core of what needs to get done. For example, with exercises, there are almost an infinite amount of choices so based on your goal, time, accessibility, and other factors, you get to the core of what’s most important and disregard the others.

Now with that understanding, we can apply this to our own training.

In my opinion, training for strength is, or at least should be, the priority.

Simply put, your body does not use every muscle fiber in a muscle. You have over 600 muscles and with one muscle, you can have 10 to 100s of these individual fibers.

Just like you don’t really use every part of your brain at one time, you don’t use every single muscle fiber in a muscle. Some researchers would say that if you were to use 100% of every muscle fiber in all your skeletal muscles, it would create enough force to crush your skeletons. The average person, only uses about 20% of their muscle fibers and experienced powerlifters (decades of experience) can use upwards to about 60%.

What does this mean?

According to Pavel Tsatsouline, training for strength is a skill that impacts the nervous system. It is the concentration of mental force. Simply put, without the nervous system, your muscles are pretty useless. This can explain those feats of strength that Bruce Lee displays or Lamar Gant being able to deadlift 661 pounds at a weight of 132 pounds.

So during your full body training sessions, place an emphasis on these two points.

  1. Your Grip
  2. Your Midsection (‘core’ as it’s called in the mainstream)

Grip – With all your exercises, grip the heck out of the weight you use whether it is a dumbbell, kettlebell, and/or barbell. Crush it!

Midsection – Place an emphasis on contracting your midsection as tight as you can. Try performing a standard plank on your elbows (make sure your elbows are underneath your shoulders). Focus on flexing all your muscles from the neck down. Lock your knees, squeeze your glutes, squeeze your elbows as if there are tennis balls in your armpits, make tight fists, and contract your abdominal muscles as if it is squeezing your spine or as if little ninjas were kicking your rib cage. With maximal contraction, hold for 10 seconds.

These two areas of your body has the capability to help recruit neighboring muscles, called irradiation. If you contract a muscle, the tension from that muscle will spill over to those around it. For example, if you make a fist, you probably feel your forearm muscles tense up. If you squeeze and make a tighter fist (a white knuckle fist), you’ll feel contraction in your biceps, triceps, shoulder, lats, and chest muscles. Same applies to your midsection.

Your grip and midsections are areas of your body that has the greatest propensity for the tension to overflow to the neighboring muscles. The more tension you able to create, the bigger your furnace will end up becoming.

So if your body was that of a car engine and you have a 6 cylinder engine, let’s get all 6 cylinder’s to fire rather than drudging around with only 2 cylinders working.

Next time you are training, experiment with it and let me know how it works out.

If anyone is interested in on-line training, please feel free to email me. I currently have room open for a few more and this will be filling up fast.

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