Math = Fitness

With the new school year starting, I was inspired to share some thoughts about fitness and how we think about it. While working out this morning, I thought of some different ways to approach fitness and how it can be compared to a similar experience most of us had in the classroom. Here are my thoughts on how someones personal journey in fitness can be compared to taking a test in Math class (or really any subject in school).

Preparing for the test

When a test is coming up, students have an opportunity to perform the skills and knowledge they have obtained on the topic being covered. This is done through homework, quizzes, notes, and studying. Each test is an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the subject area. I believe most would agree that a brief review or warm up with some practice problems prior to a test is beneficial to performance on the test. The more time put in preparation the more confident someone will be. Typically when more confident, the ability to perform a task becomes more time effective and this improves the potential to have enough time to review the answers on the test (in Math you always get to check your answers!).

Every workout is like a test. The work you do before the workout plays a massive role in how you perform. Having a proper warmup before will allow your body execute activities safely and effectively. The quality of food you have before will play a huge piece in your energy and bodies response to the stress of a workout. Having a plan of what you intend to accomplish that day will also greatly aid in assuring you hit your goals for that session and will help you be more effective with your time. Getting proper nutrition in your body after a workout also plays a huge role in how your body recovers to ensure you’re getting the most out of your workouts. You took the test and have ten minutes left, check your answers!

Methods for finding solutions

This will be my third year being back in the Bloomington schools with my role as a tutor. It didn’t take very long before I noticed that students do things a little differently than I was taught over a decade ago. With Math, I first noticed this with factoring. I had know idea what a diamond problem was or how it was used, I typically factor things in my head through a different process then the big X they make to start a diamond problem. Both methods get to the same correct solution. That is one of the things I find fascinating about Math, there are so many methods, routes, and order of operations that can be used to come to one answer. Typically on a test, as long as the answer given is correct with some proof of how it was found a student will receive credit for it.

Fitness can be like this in your method of staying active. Some people enjoy classes, some enjoy working out by themselves as their “me time.” You can use yoga, kettlebells, suspension trainers, dumbbells, barbells, bands, or your own bodyweight to just name a few. I typically use a combination of all of them when working with others and in my own personal workouts. As long as you are using some form of resistance training to challenge your muscles; I am a fan. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to try different things!

Fixing things you got wrong

Typically when a student gets their Math test back the teacher marks what answers were wrong and what step may have had a mistake. This knowledge gives them the opportunity to go back and fix what they got wrong and truly understand the ideas in the problem. Math builds on itself as they get older. The skills that were obtained and found challenging in elementary school are used daily with little to no thinking during high school. The teacher wants to make sure the students fix and truly understand the problems they got wrong early on as it will help them in the long run of learning.

Getting a problem wrong can come in many different ways in the fitness world. It may be an injury, mobility limitation, or poor technique. Whatever it is, it should be your focus on improving before you move on to the next activity or intensity. If you struggle to press things over your head because of your shoulder mobility, don’t avoid shoulders all together. Instead add in some items to focus on improving and strengthening your deficiencies. If you hurt your hamstring playing football with your friends, rehab it properly by focus on strengthening your glutes, groin, and core (reasons why it may have got hurt) and slowly increasing the amount of tension you can place on it in a controlled manner instead of simply resting and not using it. A lot of times this means doing things that you find hard and dislike doing. Just ensure you do this with a safe and intentional plan in place.

Taking new tests

Every time students cover a new chapter in the classroom they take a test on it. In certain scenarios they may even retake a test or have the same question from a previous test on a final. However, in these scenarios something is usually different about the tests. Numbers have been changed, symbols have been swapped, variables adjusted, something different that will allow the process to stay the same, but create a totally different unique answer. This is to ensure they continue to grow in their knowledge and ability to perform more challenging problems. If they were given the exact same test every time it would not take long to catch on and start to remember all the answers. Over time they probably wouldn’t even bother solving the problems any more and simply write the answers based solely on memory.

In this same way you need to progress with your workouts. Every time you workout, your goal should be to do something different. This does not mean you need an entirely different workout each day, but it does mean you should be paying attention to what you have done in the past. The goal is to overload our body with stress coming in the form of physical exertion. This means we have to do more than we did last time. Increase your volume by adding reps, sets or weight to a certain exercise. Track how long it takes you to get through a workout and try to do it faster next time decreasing how much you rest. Add more complex movements that involve your entire body. Do something that is more than last time so your body continues to gain strength and has to continually adapt to new stress.

Show up for the test

I remember taking standardized tests when I was very young and being provided with the information that it was a good choice to guess on a problem if I did not know the answer. I had a 1 out of 4 chance in getting it right and it would not hurt my score if I got it wrong, I only received credit for the problems I got right. The best case scenario is you receive credit for the correct answer. Worst case is awarded 0 points for a wrong answer, which would have happened without guessing. This is not true for all forms of tests, but I do think it is true when comparing to fitness.

Workouts are not always perfect. I wish I could bottle up that feeling I get when leaving the weight room after crushing a workout. Some days I get in the gym and drag in every way. Daily stresses have gotten to me, I spend half the time yawning, and I am crunched for time. However, in my eyes, the only thing worse than a “bad” workout is the workout that didn’t happen. No matter your limitations or feelings, try to make it a priority to at least show up. Positive effects come from getting the blood flowing and your muscles moving. You never know, some of my best days in the weight room come from the days I absolutely dreaded making time for a workout but still did.

I always have enjoyed looking at things in a different way. Maybe this helped something click for you and will help you accomplish your goal of earning the grade you want. Take the time to prepare to do your best each workout, find the best method for working out that both challenges you and you find success with, focus on fixing your deficiencies, make progress in some area with every workout, and most importantly make sure you show up.

Third first in 2014: Cabo San Lucas Mexico

It is very rare that I travel somewhere without sports being a theme for the trip. Most of my trips that involve leaving Minnesota have always included playing, coaching, or watching a major sporting event. Prior to 2014 I have left the country twice. Once to play in Canada for a tournament as U18’s for club soccer and another to Argentina with Augsburg soccer prior to my junior year. I have been fortunate enough to do some traveling to Colorado, Nebraska, and Florida while coaching basketball. I have been blessed enough to take a few family vacations over time and made some amazing memories seeing some pretty cool sites. But for me, especially in my adult life, to go somewhere without a set schedule of events related to sports is very rare. I recently received this opportunity through a company I work for called AdvoCare.

 I have experienced that as I have grown older people are forced to be more “realistic” about what they dreamed about their life being when they were children. Some of these things we need to come to terms with, for myself it was that I will not be a pro athlete. Part of life is being able to adjust and be flexible when things don’t go exactly as planned. That is the single biggest lesson sports has taught me. What type character a person may have shines when things don’t go accordingly to plan.

Some people know exactly what they wanted to do as a profession from a very young age. Others figure it out once they hit high school or college. Some of us still are figuring it out as we grow older, with a percent of that population still never truly finding their passion. I always knew I wanted to be involved with sports. I would have loved to be a professional athlete, but wouldn’t necessarily say that was my life goal or dream. I went to Augsburg College to play sports, basketball and soccer, and found an interest in psychology while there. Unfortunately there are not a lot of options for careers with a BA in psychology. Because I didn’t feel passionate about the subject area, it did not make sense to continue my education down that path. After I graduated from Augsburg  I looked at a sports management program at the University of Minnesota. It involved learning more and sports, so it seemed like a logical choice. I completed that program as quickly as possible in order make it more economical financially. I loved the professors, classes, and people that I met along the way, but I was still left with zero idea on what I should do for a career. I enjoyed being active by playing in basketball and soccer leagues and got involved with coaching immediately after my 4 years of eligibility was up, so I decided to find a job that involved being active and was similar to coaching. This is when I started personal training.

I really enjoy most of the aspects of training clients. I love talking about the science of our body (biology was the only science class I was truly interested in during high school), learning new advances in research (definitely a skill from my degree in psychology), coming up with different strength and conditioning programs (a little bit of my BA in mathematics comes through here), and most importantly working with people in setting and achieving goals (coaching). However, because it is in the service industry there are some factors included in the strength and conditioning field I am not so fond of.

The hours are very not fun, as a trainers schedule typically works around the standard 9 to 5 schedule. So that means early mornings and late nights which is a nightmare for anyone who is trying to create a consistent sleep cycle while having any type of social life. It is a job where if someone isn’t training, they aren’t getting paid. Vacation days and sick leave are typically not included in most trainer benefits. So often, especially early on for trainers who do not have a strong client base, the solution for a trainer to make more money is to work more hours. It is not uncommon for a trainer to clock 50-60 hours a week when you factor in weekends, programming, and meetings with clients. It wasn’t long into my experiences as a trainer, within the first two years, that I came to the crossroad in my life because of financial situations. Do I commit to becoming a full time trainer and give up on sports or do I find a different career path? I chose the later because I was not ready to be done coaching, I enjoyed it too much. 

So I was 26 years old and right back to the question we are often asked since childhood. What do I want to be when I grow up? When I look back at my journey, it is easy to think I should have went a different path. I should have chosen a school with exercise science and focused on one sport to improve my technique and abilities year round. I know if that were the case I would be a much more established trainer by now and most likely be a little more financially secure without the extra debt from grad school. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

During my junior year in psychology, I started to find true enjoyment out of learning. I learned how to research ideas and topics, how to provide an organized and accurate argument, how to truly apply myself in the classroom. I was influence on the basketball record books, but I learned so much about the sport and myself while playing. I met one of the most influential coaches in my life who I have had the privilege of coaching with and learning from the past four years. He has been and I know will continue to be a mentor for my career with coaching. I met my wife at one of my soccer teammates weddings after we graduated in 2009. I found the personal training job through a connection at the University of Minnesota. While personal training I met the person who introduced me to AdvoCare, which is turning out to be one of the most pivotal moments of my life. AdvoCare has allowed to financially get by while coaching both sports and running my own business training business. Earlier this month, thanks to AdvoCare, I made my first visit to Mexico on an all-expense paid trip.

Some things in life often seem to good to be true when looking at them from a distance. Some people you meet and can’t help but think there is a major flaw that they are hiding, no one can be that positive, caring, and open. People may mention an opportunity or goal that they have and it is easy to think “that could never happen to me.” I have felt and thought all these things throughout my lifes journey, but recently have come to the realization that our limits are only where we set them. This incentive trip was absolutely on my mind as something that was for other people. I could never win or partake on one of those. Not only was I able to have to opportunity to join in attending, but on this trip I met some of the most amazing and uplifting people, enjoyed some of the best food I have ever eaten, spent five days trading the Minnesota snow for Cabo sun, and it only cost me the cab right to the resort.

Our experiences help shape who we are and I wouldn’t change a single thing that has helped make me into the husband, son, brother, business owner, coach, and friend I am today. Here some pictures from the amazing resort. I have to mention they set up an unbelievable dinner for our group every night. One evening was even on the beach and another was poolside. I challenge you to not limit yourself, if it can happen for me, it can happen for you!

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Honored to be a part of this team. Notice though I needed to dig my feet in to keep my head in the picture.

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Dinner for our last evening there. Lots of good “belly laughs,” as Dr. Deb would encourage!

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Hanging out poolside.

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Group dinner the first evening. I thought they were setting up for a wedding reception all day, it was for us!

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Infinity pool leading right towards the beach and ocean.

2nd First in 2014: Crossfit

I remember the first time I saw crossfit on TV. It was a night insomnia and anxiety about waking up following morning at 4:30 am for training had gotten the best of me. I was flipping around channels until I came across the crossfit games on ESPN. The things that these men and women were doing was awe-inspiring. The specific part of the broadcast I caught were the last few workouts in the competition. I specifically remember Rich Froning as he had wrapped up his second title but was still dominating everyone in the last leg of the workout (pulling a weight sled by rope across the entire course he had just finished). I remember talking about it with other trainers the next day. Seeing those athletes do what they did during each workout ultimately sparked the beginning of my interest in metabolic training and fascination with our bodies 3 energy systems. These topics are something I still strive to better understand and apply in both my personal programs and in the methods I use for training my clients.

I am a person who is typically up for trying anything. I have applied a few activities and ideas from crossfit in my workouts and during the Boot Camp sessions I run each week over the last few years. However, those are typically limited to some type of super set or pairing of activities. The idea of doing a crossfit workout intrigued me, it was just never something I went out of my way to pursue.

I tend to change my workouts with the seasons. I find it refreshing to change-up the focus of a program. It allows me to continuously challenge my body because it needs to react to the new stimulus. It is also convenient for me as where I spend a bulk of my time for coaching also changes with the seasons from soccer to basketball. When I change programs, I am always trying to find ways to improve my performance and make the most effective use of my time. So when my programs change, it is a good time to try new things or add new ideas into training. If you spend enough time around me, we will end up talking fitness in some way eventually. This was definitely true with a buddy of mine that I spend a decent amount of my summers with coaching soccer. He has done crossfit and we have talked about fitness a decent amount. He has helped me run a fitness program for a soccer club this winter and I have thought about using a workout partner to change things up. Once basketball ended, the opportunity for us to workout together came up, and I told him I was following his lead with the crossfit workout.

He chose Fran.

I had seen Fran before and knew it was one of the more popular workouts in crossfit. I have heard it is sometime used as a standard, i.e. “Yo bro, what’s your Fran time?” It challenged me for many reasons.

First off it challenged my oxidative system more than I have been this past winter. I usually try to do that by playing sports (soccer or basketball) which seems to be getting tougher to make time to do as each year passes. I could count on one hand how many times I have played in the last 6 months. Because of this, my lungs were slightly ill prepared to handle the amount of work that was required of them.

Second, it challenged me in an area I still struggle with, which is flexibility. The front squats were extremely tough. Not necessarily because of the weight, but because my upper body mobility has tons of room for improvement. It was most difficult to keep the bar racked on my shoulders with my elbows up as a squatted down without wanting to fall forward.

Lastly, it is flat-out hard to do. The goal is to get through the workout as fast as you can, so no matter your current fitness level you are going to get yourself dog tired. It absolutely came through in accomplishing that.

Because of the three things I just stated, I would say I didn’t do that well. It took me about twice as long to finish as it did for my partner. My lats were shot from the pull ups and having poor technique in trying to hold the bar on my shoulders. The fact that I was miserable during/after the workout was no surprise. What was surprising was what I found that triggered me to help me finish the workout.

If you do anything long enough, patterns begin to appear. I have a few sayings that I know probably make my clients ball up a fist wanting to swing. I say them because they are good cues and reminders for people when dealing with activities to also think about what they are doing. One saying I know comes out a lot is “technique when you’re tired!” I say this with intention to focus more on technique with an activity when fatigue set in, which is the exact opposite of what people tend to do. It distracts our brain from thinking about how difficult the activity may be, how tired we are, and about performing with safe and effective technique. Once I reminded myself of this, there was a change in the workout. I started using my legs more effectively in the squat and press, which led to more consecutive reps, which led to getting done faster. About half way through, I took my advice and kept repeating to myself “technique when your tired.”

I felt very frustrated after the workout because I found it so difficult and was absolutely blown out of the water by my training partner. Because of this I am looking forward to more crossfit workouts with him to improve these weaknesses. I told him we will test again in the spring. I have until then to improve and give him a challenge!

So without further ado, the second thing I tried for the first time in 2014 is the Fran workout.

Here is a video showing exactly what Fran is and the biggest name in crossfit dominating it. Do not be deceived by how easy he makes it look, go ahead and try just the first set of 21 with each activity. By the way, he is an unpaid AdvoCare sponsor :)….

Why do you read food labels?

 

I am going to make a few assumptions about you before you read on. The first is that you care about your health, meaning if you were given the option between feeling awesome, okay, or sick, you would choose the awesome. The second is that you are like many people and do not pay much attention to food labels and nutrition facts required on most food in the grocery store. If you are reading labels, I am assuming you are paying attention to the wrong things. If you fall under any of these categories please read on. If you do not….you may as well keep reading because you gave yourself a ten minute “mental break” while at work and you have over nine minutes left.

I would like to start out with a quick story about what spurred this post. While I was at the grocery store the other day and making sure the eggs I was going to select were not cracked, I couldn’t help but over hear what these two ladies were doing down the aisle. One of them was listing off items “fats, fiber, calories, sugar, etc” while the other would reply with the specific amount found on the label of the food item they had selected. When they finished going down their list of contents, they would come up with a point value, i.e. “that is 4 points.” I actually ran into them multiple times during my shopping and found myself paying a little closer attention each time. I would guess they were participating in some type of weight loss program in which food is categorized as points, allowing each person a certain amount of points per day or week. I am not super familiar with these programs, but I believe this is weight watchers main method. Throughout my time of ease dropping, there were a few things that stood out to me.

The first of these comes from my opinion when dealing with eating habits, and that is the idea of “counting calories.” The point system I am assuming they were using is a simplified version of this. While we in no way can ignore calories in our diet (one of my BA’s is in Math and those skills taught me if  # calories in > # calories burned, then the scale goes up), it is an ineffective and dated way to improve your health. Again, I am assuming you are after a quality and healthy lifestyle, not just weight loss. If you never look at nutrition facts and serving sizes on labels of foods in your household, you may be unpleasantly surprised by what counts as a serving with your favorite foods. The good news is this; if you take some of my advice in this post you will not need to worry as much about “counting calories” when heading towards your goals of achieving better health.

The second thing that stood out to me was related to the choice of ingredients that were emphasized by this program and the shoppers selection of foods. I was not incredibly surprised by which contents were emphasized on their list when calculating points. Fats and sugar tend to be the biggest offenders when it comes to high number of calories. Fats are very calorie dense, meaning it doesn’t take much fat in grams to contain a more calories. Sugars are typically found in very high volumes and seem to be everywhere in our foods. They make things taste sweeter, which we as living creatures like because of the hormonal response it creates. It is also a very cheap ingredient making it simple for food companies to improve the appeal of their food.

Fiber was the other ingredient I heard most often and it is a bit different because I am guessing that the fiber content they were looking for may have been a “good” thing that helped keep the points down. Some may argue fiber is good because it moves the “bad” things (i.e. fats in this point system) along in our system quicker, makes us feel fuller while eating, and typically is not absorbed by our body. It just passes on through. These ideas make sense to me on why they would be valued higher in this point system. It can’t do damage if it doesn’t stay in our system. The other major observation I had related to their choices in food items.

They consistently seemed to choose items with the gimmick tag lines, “high in fiber,” “only 200 calories,” and “now with less sugar!” With those being the key factors in their point system, those tag lines drew them towards these items. The one that really made my skin crawl was when they grabbed the huge box of the Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches. After they finished teaming up to read all their points for this item, the response one shopper gave to the other is what pushed me to write this post, “Oh, that’s not too bad!” This is an attitude I seem to come across all to often with people, especially those with weight loss goals. They often point to what they didn’t eat that they normally would have, something being not as bad as they would usually have chosen at McDonald’s, or they only had a “little piece.” While these small victories are important and a great start in the right direction for many people, it is a mind-frame that will not lead to sustained success in a journey towards better health.  This is our quality of living we are talking about! We have one body during your time on earth and how we choose to take care of it falls under “That’s not to bad?”

I looked up the definition of nutrition in Webster-Merriman and it defined it as: the act or process of nourishing or being nourished. Going a step further I looked up what nourishment means and it states: food and other things that are needed for health, growth, etc.

To me this is bigger than food, this is related to our thinking in american society. Nutrition is so much more than avoiding the bad things. Quality nutrition is about getting as much of the good things in your system as possible, things that are needed for health and growth. Our end goal should not be to put off or delay dying, prevent illness, or not be overweight. Our goal should be to live as quality of a life as possible! Proper nutrition allows you to have more energy, think more clearly, sleep better, handle stress more effectively and recover more efficiently. Proper nutrition paired with and active lifestyle (some type of exercise including strength training) leads towards creating the healthiest version of you possible. There are still other factors that may lead towards a more difficult challenge for an individual such as sleep, stress, and genetics. However, exercise and proper nutrition can help everyone feel their best no matter previous or current circumstances. The best part is if you are doing these things, the biggest side effect is the fat will melt off your body. In the process your body will be better ready to sustain this new body and you don’t have to worry about being hungry or falling off the wagon with your calories.

Next time you are at the grocery store, I challenge you to do these few things. The first being to stick to the outside of the grocery store. Avoid as many isles as you can. You may be surprised by how many of the things you need on your list can be found here. Typically stores keep everything that is fresh on the outsides and those are what we like the most because they have the most nutrients! Second is to look at the labels. Pay less attention to the bad things (sugar, fats, etc) and more of the good (vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc). I bet if that food item provides a significant amount of the good things, it will most likely already have less of the things we are taught to pay attention too. If its label is harder to find a label (i.e. fresh veggies, fresh fruits) we probably like it! The third and most important thing is your mind-frame when selecting each item. Ask yourself “what is this food giving me that is valuable for my health?” Remember we are selecting our foods with the goal of providing nourishment to our bodies for health and growth. If it doesn’t offer anything of value for health or growth, why would we choose to eat it?

Our bodies need a certain amount of food and nutrients to survive and function. They need even more of these nutrients to thrive and function at the most ideal levels. Make all your choices with food keeping that goal in mind and with some consistency over time you will reach your health goals, no matter what they are. With proper nutrition you will be able to manage hunger levels with greater ease (no more counting calories), you will find more consistent energy levels (better balanced hormones and less energy crashes from poor food), and better sleep allowing for more effective recovery from everyday stresses that life throws at us.  

You should ask someone with an amazing life altering story related to their health what they did. Whether it is bouncing back from a major illness, losing a significant amount of weight and keeping it off, or simply creating a new healthier lifestyle, I bet they tell you more about what they started doing (getting proper amount of nutrients, eating better, exercise) instead of what they stopped doing. That is the mind-frame that leads to success. I don’t want to hear about what you didn’t do, I want to know what you did.

Here is some more information about Macronutrients exercise selection, and check out what I use to fill in the holes in my nutritional gaps!

New experiences in 2014

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2013 was an amazing year. I was fortunate enough to marry the woman of my dreams, I was able to start and expand my training company, I met some awesome new people along the way, created a greater bond with some older friends, and somehow managed to avoid being sick for an entire calendar year. When looking back at what an exciting, eventful, and challenging year 2013 was, I can’t help but dream bigger for the next year. I want even more out of 2014. I want more experiences for me and my new wife, I want to challenge myself to grow as  a leader and a person, I want 2014 to blow 2013 out of the water. So during the small holiday break from school, training, basketball, and soccer, I came up with some goals for 2014. One of those goals was to experience 14 totally brand new things in this calendar year. I did not attach a ton of rules to what qualifies, except for the single fact being I have never before done or experienced that particular activity/event/experience. 

I made a list of some ideas for things that may qualify. Some are business related, some are related to social events, some are for personal development, others are just something I would like to try but never have. This first one, I will absolutely admit, is mostly related to my ego and I am the only one who probably thinks it is worthwhile posting. When you have your own blog, you can post whatever you want on it.

A bit of back story before I get into the “first” experience. There were a few other changes I made in 2013 on my personal training program and health. Rachel and I got married on 10/19/13 and we began the process of preparing ourselves for looking and feeling our best on that day. At the turn of the new year in 2013, we decided to really pay attention to our health and wellness by being really consistent with our choices in food and taking our MNS 3 daily. Rachel found some consistency in her training with a combination of Boot Camp, strength training on her own, and running. Her results speak for themselves in the picture below and I can’t begin to say how proud I am of her for sticking to it. It took some consistency, and patience, over time but what that woman was able to accomplish to look as beautiful as she did on our wedding day is inspiring.

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When we were doing pictures for “our first look” all I could do was bury my face into her neck. I rarely experience that emotion of pure joy and I didn’t know what else to do but prevent the camera from catching the awkward faces I was making when I saw her in that dress.

When it came to my own personal training and health, it was also a year of learning, improving, and adjusting. My personal goals with fitness have evolved over time. I have moved away from the “bulking” concept and being most concerned about putting on mass to the “performance” mindset. I want to learn how to get the most out of my body as is by being as efficient as possible with my time, energy and nutrition.  It may be a little late to focus on this as my competitive playing days are well behind me, but I felt I could use my body as an experiment for training the athletes I work with through Kaizen Training. The first significant change I made was with nutrition around my workouts. I always had my AdvoCare products with Catalyst before a workout and Post-Workout recovery shake after. I would also follow-up with Muscle Gain protein after a workout or the next day and Night-Time Recovery as needed. I can wholeheartedly say my recovery time from workouts in 2013 drastically improved from years in the past. I still got sore and stiff after days I really pushed it, but it was nowhere near what it had been in the past. I remember some days it was a nightmare having to get in and out of my car, or on really bad days there was that moment I would drop my pen and knowing I needed to bend my legs to pick it up made my face grimace. Those days didn’t happen in 2013!

I also got smarter with my training. During the warm months from spring to fall I stuck with my two 45lb Kettle bells and this past fall heading into winter basketball season have used “Triphasic Training” in the Augsburg weight room. I got smarter by attempting to be more efficient with my programs. I actually knocked my amount of training days from four days a week to three days a week but changed my approach in the process. I always did a full body workout, but changed the intensity each time  I worked out (reps, weight, volume, etc). Because my recovery improved thanks to my nutrition, my body was able to respond rather well to the challenges. My progress really thrived during the first 6 week cycle through Triphasic. I was able to add 5 inches to my vertical, set personal bests in the bench press (250lb) and squat (300lb) and maintain a body weight of 175 lbs. In my “bulking phase” prior to 2013 I could never get consistently over 185 lbs for my weight. With my performance in power and strength still going up, I can handle staying at 175.

But this leads me to the opening of “Firsts in 2014.” For Augsburg basketball we had the awesome opportunity last week of heading over to Williams Arena at the U of MN for practice because our gym was occupied. With my new-found jumping ability I am still getting used to dunking off two feet and used this opportunity to get some practice in. So the opening first in 2014 is – Dunking at Williams Arena. I told you I was probably the only one who thought this would be cool….

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/85163132″>Williams Arena First in 2014</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/kaizentraining”>Kaizen Training</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>