Metabolic Primer Part 1 of 3 If You Can Measure It, You Can Manage It

By Pat Jak, BS, CPT, USAC II, USAC Power Based Training Coach

Tell me if this is you: you get frustrated when you hit a plateau?  Do you feel like you are working as hard as possible and yet don’t see any changes. This is often when I hear the following phrases:

  • My metabolism is out of control.
  • My metabolism makes my body want certain foods.
  • I’m getting old so my metabolism is slowing down.
  • I downloaded this app that tells me my metabolic rate.
  • Today I plan on getting a great metabolic workout.

Unfortunately, these phrases are a little misguided and further perpetuated thanks to news articles, morning talk shows, and other media blitzes that hit us daily. To make matters worse, we are told things like “If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t weigh yourself too often.” Or we are told, “good diets are effortless and we don’t have to count calories.” Um, excuse me but if I never weigh myself how do I know if I’ve lost weight? Also, if I’m not measuring how much I’m eating, how do I know I am sticking to my plan?

Diet and exercise changes require a high level of managing because you are trying to force change. And the best way to manage a process is to regularly measure progress. While I understand what people mean when they throw out these phrases, there are better ways we can empower ourselves and make positive changes to our health and fitness. And it comes from understanding a few key things about metabolism and measuring it to manage it.

Try not to get hung up in those over used phrases mentioned earlier because:

  • Metabolism is trainable. It CAN be changed. With exercise, healthy diet, and good lifestyle habits, you can maximize your metabolism!
  • Your metabolism doesn’t want certain foods. It just wants real, quality food. So FEED IT!
  • Metabolism does NOT slow down when we age. In reality, there is only a 2% loss every decade. We simply move LESS when we age. Move more and your metabolism increases no matter how old you are!
  • There is NOT an app for that! When you calculate your metabolic rate estimated by your age, height, weight, and gender, you can have a 1,000-calorie margin of error!
  • ALL workouts are metabolic! When you workout, you impact your metabolism.

Okay, I’ll spare you the detailed exercise physiology, but I do want to share a few key points to help shed some light on the confusion we face with our own metabolisms and how to overcome them to help build a leaner, healthier, happier you.

What is Metabolism?

Our metabolism is a collection of biochemical processes that combine nutrients with oxygen to release energy. This release of energy helps us grow, reproduce, maintain basic life processes, and respond to our environment. Metabolism is as individual as a fingerprint and is based on genetics, lifestyle, training, and nutrition.

Our metabolism will change. This is important because we use our fuel (food) differently when we are exercising and when we are at rest. Normally measured in calories, food and metabolism is simply a measurement of energy. In other words, some foods provide more energy than others and some activities burn more energy than others do. This does NOT mean you can eat whatever you want as long as “calories in” balance “calories out.” It also means you CANNOT exercise however you want and burn calories equally. Quality and type of food matters. Likewise, quality and type of workout is important to consider.

Is This What They Mean By Metabolic Rate?

Absolutely! And you actually have two basic metabolic rates that are most meaningful to your health and fitness goals, your Resting Metabolic Rate and your Active Metabolic Rate.

Your Resting Metabolic Rate

This is the amount of calories you use on a daily basis to maintain basic life functions including brain activity, liver function, lung function, and tissue growth and repair. It actually represents 60-75% of your total daily energy expenditure. The basics do apply. Eat more than your daily requirement and your body will store energy (gain weight). Eat below your daily requirement and your body will reduce it’s energy stores (lose weight).

It is important to note that if you are too aggressive with your daily calculations and fall below the very base resting metabolic number, you will negatively impact your body. This often occurs with crash diets, starvation diets, and insane Hollywood cleanses. But it can also occur when we “get too busy to eat,” skip meals, or only eat tiny portions.

Why should too little food matter? Remember that your resting metabolism is responsible for brain activity, lung function, and liver function. If you don’t feed these organs and allow them to do their thing, you will create catastrophic effects in your body and actually increase the aging process and risk for debilitating disease.

Your Active Metabolic Rate

This is your capacity for work during activities such as exercise. It can be shown through a correlation of three key markers. Among these are your AEROBIC Threshold. Representing the point when you utilize fat as a primary fuel source, Aerobic Threshold is the number you find on a new car’s sticker that shows best MPG.

Another marker is your ANAEROBIC Threshold, which is the point when you lose the ability to utilize oxygen and fat to create energy. Another way to look at it is your “redline.” You will be able to rev your engine at this level of intensity, but probably not for very long.

Finally, the number everyone likes to use to compare ability is your VO2max. While high-level athletes often rely on VO2max to determine competition readiness, it is important to everyone because it represents potential.

How Do I Know What My Metabolic Numbers Are?

There is only one true way. Get tested. If we are all individuals and our metabolisms reflect our individual characteristics and activities, wouldn’t you want to know your numbers? If simple little calculators can be off by 1,000 calories, wouldn’t you want to know your EXACT numbers?

Everyone has a benefit if they are tested regularly.

  • You can establish a baseline or snapshot of you right now.
  • You can identify your individual needs and what you want to achieve.
  • You can create a customized, periodized training plan to be better able to achieve your goals.
  • You can track progress and see how your metabolism changes over time.

A Case Study

Just to give an idea how important it is to test your metabolism, consider the following data from my own test taken last month.

  • Resting Metabolic Rate was ESTIMATED anywhere from 2,730-3,037 calories per day while the ACTUAL was 2,574.
  • VO2max was ESTIMATED at 36.6 mL/kg/min, while the ACTUAL was 67.5.
  • Threshold heart rate was ESTIMATED at 155 beats per minute while the ACTUAL was 160.

Why does this difference matter? If I had relied upon calculators to estimate the numbers that are most meaningful in my exercise and daily calorie intake, I would be spinning my wheels. The estimated versus actual numbers leads to a half-pound to a full pound difference per week. In 12-weeks of training, this is a 6-12 pound difference under or over my goal!

The exercise estimations lead to incorrect training levels and false estimations on how many calories I burn at different levels of intensities. In the same 12-weeks of training, this can lead to a difference of another 2 to 3 pounds. Why would I want to estimate and take the chance of gaining 8-14 pounds in 12 weeks?

Measuring versus estimation is ALWAYS more accurate. And when it comes to your metabolism, never assume. Never estimate. If you want to get on top of your health, fitness, and nutrition, know your numbers. And the best way to know your numbers is to test them. Because if you can measure it, you can manage it!

This is a three part series all about metabolism, how to test it, how to train it, and how to fuel it. Come back next time for Metabolic Primer 2: Using Cardio Training to Effectively Boost Your Metabolism Or…

What You Thought You Knew About Cardio Was Probably Wrong

About Pat Jak

For nearly a decade, Pat Jak has worked with performance athletes, teams, and fitness conscious individuals from all walks of life. With one-on-one consultation and customized training plans, he coaches and trains cyclists, multi-sport, and endurance athletes including beginners, juniors, seniors, and masters, several of whom are World, National and State champions and medallists. His workouts have been featured in Bicycling Magazine and he is currently Director of Metabolic Testing at Fitness Quest 10, Team Coach for the Swami’s Pro Development Team, Head Coach of the UCSD Cycling Team, and Coach for the Challenged Athletes Foundation Million Dollar Challenge.

To learn more, or to schedule your metabolic test, contact Fitness Quest 10.

Top Recovery Strategies To Enhance Your Workouts

Happy Spring! I hope you are doing well and enjoying the extra hour of daylight that signifies Spring is here. Every extra minute of daylight creates more opportunity for working out and some extra “play-time” in the evening. It’s a GREAT time of year!

I was speaking to a committed client at Fitness Quest 10 last week about top strategies for recovery after her workouts. This client trains 3-4 times per week, eats well, and gets about 7 hours of sleep per night. She wants to lose 15 lbs and ramp up the intensity and frequency of her workouts another day or two per week but often finds herself sore. We explored ways for her to recover optimally, feel good, and get the most out of her workouts.

Optimal recovery is an essential part of everyone’s fitness regiment. Check out this short video clip with some of my “Top Recovery Strategies.” These are the strategies that can really help you perform and feel better.  Let’s get 1% better today – take a peek of the video.

Train hard.  Eat right.  Recover smart.  Live inspired!

Peace and God Bless,

Todd

Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, is an internationally recognized performance coach, personal trainer and massage therapist who motivates, educates and inspires people worldwide.  He is the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, where his wonderful team of 35 focuses on personal training, massage therapy, Pilates, yoga, sports performance training and nutrition to help transform the bodies, minds and spirits of a broad clientele.  Todd trains dozens of NFL and MLB athletes, including 2010 Super Bowl XLIV Champion and MVP Drew Brees.  He is the head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council, serves on the Gatorade G-Fit Team, and is a featured presenter on the Perform Better educational circuit.  He is a two-time Trainer of the Year (IDEA & ACE).  Additionally, Todd provides motivational talks and programs to companies and conferences worldwide.

Men’s Health recently named his gym, Fitness Quest 10, one of the Top 10 Gyms in the US.  Todd has appeared on 60 Minutes, ESPN, NFL Network and has been featured in Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Business Week, Prevention, ESPN the Magazine, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, Stack Magazine, Self, Shape, Fitness, the NY Times and Washington Post.  Todd has authored 35 DVDs on strength and conditioning, functional fitness, massage/bodywork and business/personal growth.

His new book, The IMPACT! Body Plan debuted in September 2010 and is a 10 Week program designed to create world-class fitness and life performance.  You can sign up for Todd’s FREE award-winning Ezine newsletter, the TD TIMES, at www.FitnessQuest10.com or www.ToddDurkin.com.

I’m Injured, Now What?

Find the silver lining in your injury

By Doug Balzarini

**Disclaimer — I’m not a doctor and I’ve never played one on TV** My thoughts on this topic of injuries are simply from my personal experience and the experience of my clients and athletes. I am currently dealing with a shoulder injury due to my poor arm-bar escape technique, so this subject is fresh in my mind at the moment.

The focus of this article is to discuss what you do AFTER you have sustained an injury. Are you going to be proactive and get better? Are you going to cower in the corner of the stall like Jim Carey in “Dumb & Dumber”? I vote being proactive; accept it, get your required rest and rehabilitation work going, work on your imbalances, and come back stronger and better than before.

Injuries occur for a variety of reasons and come in all shapes and sizes. They can range from a bump on the knee to severe sprains, fractures, and dislocations. Regardless of whether you’re a professional athlete, weekend warrior, or housewife, chances are you are going to get injured at some point.

GET OVER IT Being proactive means we have determined the severity of the injury and now it’s time to plan the best course of action. If warranted, rehab work may be required. When it comes to rehabilitation and injuries I have always said when in doubt, refer out. I think it is vital to have a solid network of rehab specialists at your disposal. Physical therapists, ART specialists, massage therapists, Chiropractors, MDs, etc; the stronger your list, the better your chance for complete recovery. If you’re a trainer or coach reading this, you should have a network already in place so you can make recommendations for your clients and athletes. If you don’t, then start researching today. A colleague of mine, Eric Cressey, said it well in his “Proactive Patient” article “it’s better to know who you’re going to contact when you get injured than it is to scramble to find someone on a moment’s notice when you’re already in pain.” http://ericcressey.com/7-tips-for-your-physical-therapist-visit

Personally, I always try to learn from my injuries. If I have a muscle imbalance or mobility issue; I will really try to focus on that in my training to help fix the problem. I like to know why I got hurt and then work to correct the issue so it doesn’t happen again. Mr. Einstein said it best when he said, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

WHAT DO I DO NOW? CONTINUE TO IMPROVE… Just because you have an injury does not mean you get a free pass from training. Of course, this depends on the nature and severity of the injury. Sadly, the calories we consume during an injury still count so we need to keep moving. These setbacks just require us to get a little more creative with our training. Two alternatives to consider are the use of machines and expanding your programming. Even though I’m not a huge fan of training with machines; this may be a time when it’s ok. At least until the injury is healed. This is also a great time to focus on those aspects of a complete program that we tend to rush through such as our flexibility exercises and joint mobility work. If you have a lower body injury you can continue with your upper body training, incorporate your lower body rehab movements and spend some extra time on those mobility and flexibility exercises that will help to prevent the injury from reoccurring.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE My rundown from this past year includes 3 injuries; an oblique strain, plantar fasciitis, and a labral tear.

Oblique strain – This injury occurred during a grappling session. I figured my lower body movements would be unaffected and I could still focus on my upper body pushes and pulls. I was proven wrong when my first attempt at a pull-up resulted in me on the floor writhing in pain. As soon as I began to pull my body towards the bar, I felt a searing pain in my oblique muscle. Pull-ups are already my favorite upper body exercise; however, this drove the thought home even more. It incorporates so many muscles that you wouldn’t think of. Ironically, it wasn’t too long after this incident that I read a great article by Bret Contreras titled, “Inside the Muscles – Best Ab Exercises”. Bret showed us that your abdominal muscles play a major role in performing pull-ups. The take-away from this painful lesson is that pull-ups are a great “core” and “ab” exercise. I love to tell my clients that we are going to train abs today and I walk them over to the pull-up bar. http://www.t-nation.com/testosterone-magazine-627#627#best-ab-exercises

Plantar Fasciitis – This is an issue I’ve dealt with on a couple occasions now. Years ago it was simply improper programming on my part while training for my first ½ marathon. This past year, however, I have discovered that it has occurred due to an old ankle injury I sustained back in high school. At the time of my symptoms, my right ankle range of motion was literally 50% of my left. Since then I have incorporated ankle mobility exercises, daily calf stretches and lower leg foam-rolling, and that discrepancy is improving. The take-away lesson is that I need to work on my lower body mobility EVERYDAY. My lack of ankle dorsi-flexion and extreme calf tightness are keeping me from running which is something I really enjoy.

Labral tear – This was the injury I prefaced at the beginning of the article. I’m an amateur grappler (emphasis on amateur) and I attempted to pull my arm out before my opponent locked in an arm-bar position. Needless to say, I shouldn’t have pulled, he had it locked in solid, and I have had shoulder pain ever since. After a couple days of rest and ice, I saw a sports chiropractor and a DPT who both determined it was a probable labral tear. I realized bench pressing and any overhead work were out. I began with two weeks of A.R.T., physical therapy and laser therapy. Next, I began to focus a lot more on training the small, intrinsic muscles of my shoulders. External rotation work, Y’s, T’s, W’s, scapular retraction, lower trap recruitment, and rotator cuff stabilization movements were now first and foremost in my routine. While I’m not at a 100%, I feel like I’m getting better everyday and this injury will be a blessing in disguise as my overall shoulder health will be greatly improved.

FINAL THOUGHTS I listed these three injuries as examples to help make my point. An injury is not an excuse to keep you from training. Just be smart and have that strong referral network at your disposal. We are at our best when we are moving! So, listen to your body, fix what needs to be fixed, and continue to get better everyday.

About Doug Doug currently works at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE). A Massachusetts native, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Business Management from Westfield State College. Since moving to San Diego he has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU, obtained an ACE Personal Trainer certification, the NSCA-CSCS certification, a TRX instructor training, EFI Gravity instructor training, FMS training, Spinning certification, and received his CPR/AED instructor status. He has also appeared in 8 fitness videos, written numerous fitness articles, completed a MMA Conditioning Coach certification program and has competed in multiple grappling tournaments. Prior to working at Fitness Quest 10, Doug worked for the American Council on Exercise as the Continuing Education Coordinator where he was responsible for managing over 400 continuing education providers. For more information please visit www.todddurkin.com, www.fq10.com, and http://twitter.com/dbstrength. Want to use the article above? As long as you include the bio blurb at the bottom, you are welcome to use the article in your own publication.

5 Exercise Habits You Should Steal From Her

Walk like a man, work out like a woman. These gym lessons from the ladies will improve your core strength, flexibility, and overall athleticism

 

Become a better man by acting more like a lady—in your workout, that is. Your weight routine serves a certain purpose, but your pursuit of sleeve-busting muscles might come at the cost of other activities that can improve your fitness. “In many gyms around the country, Monday is still National Bench Day, followed by back and bis and then legs and tris,” says David Jack, director of Teamworks Fitness in Acton, MA. “When we’re in those routines, we rarely perform exercises that use other planes of movement in the body. Women are generally more open to trying new exercises and moving in different ways.”

Instead of getting stuck in an exercise Groundhog Day, steal a number from the ladies’ book and adopt the following five fitness habits. You’ll get stronger, recover quicker, and tap into the total-body conditioning you need to unleash a more athletic body—and get noticed by the fairer sex.

1. On a “Rest” Day

She: Never misses Saturday morning yoga

You: Roll over and go back to sleep

Many men think yoga is more of a nap than a workout, but before you pooh-pooh low-impact exercise, consider this: Regularly including yoga or Pilates will help improve your core strength, flexibility, and circulation, so you’ll walk taller and recover quicker after a strenuous workout, says strength and conditioning specialist Todd Durkin, owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego and author of The IMPACT! Body Plan. Find strength in numbers, and grab a buddy or tag along with your girlfriend to Pilates class one weekend. Just make sure to sign up for a beginner’s class and gauge your skill level from there—the coordination involved is more challenging than you’d think.

2. After a Workout

She: Spends 10 minutes getting lean and limber

You: Finish your set and head straight to the showers

Instead of hitting the locker room immediately after an intense workout, take the time to stretch. “Stretching is like flossing—it takes no time but is a pain in the butt, and we tend to skip it, especially men,” says Jennifer Widerstrom, NASM certified fitness and celebrity trainer at Pulse Fitness Studios in Los Angeles. Women are much better at warming up before and cooling down after exercise, she notes. As with yoga and Pilates, stretching improves your flexibility and increases your range of motion. So even if you don’t feel tight post-workout, take at least 10 minutes to stretch your whole body. Pay a little extra attention to your hip flexors, hamstrings, lower back, chest, and shoulders, in addition to the body parts you trained that day.

3. Your Go-to Routine

She: Beelines for the elliptical when she hits the gym

You: Stick to the weight room

Don’t be among the guys who are too busy pumping iron to pump up their heart health—include at least 20 minutes of cardio, three times a week in your exercise routine. If men center their workout regimen on weights, women tend to gravitate towards cardio, says Durkin. Running and cycling might not help you sculpt a more chiseled chest or get bigger biceps, but a hard session will blast fat and relieve stress. Adding a little cardio doesn’t ball-and-chain you to the treadmill, either. If the old aerobic standbys sound like a snooze, enroll in a boot camp class or play a pick-up basketball game, instead. They’re great ways to shake up your regular routine and keep your muscles guessing.

4. Keeping Score

She: Meticulously tracks her heart rate during runs

You: Figure that if you’re sweating, it’s good enough

If you’re keeping track of your sets, reps, and weights, it’s about time to start paying attention to your heart rate as well. “I find that women are more likely to wear heart rate monitors than men. It’s good to know what heart rate you’re training at and to see how many calories you’re burning,” says Durkin. That way you’ll not only be able to estimate fat loss, but also chart improvements in how efficiently your heart is working. The stronger your heart, the easier it’ll be to run, and a heart rate monitor is the most accurate measure of your cardiovascular fitness. Keeping tabs on your heart rate helps you avoid under- and over-training when prepping for a race and often is a better indicator than time splits about whether you should kick up your pace since it can take into account whether your body is working harder on uneven terrain. For easy and long runs, aim for heart rate between 65-75 percent of your max heart rate; your max heart rate is roughly 220 minus your age.

5. Your Workout Obsession

She: Is one step class away from buns of steel

You: Focus on the t-shirt muscles—and nothing else

As Widerstrom puts it, “Men think upper body. Women think hips and thighs.” Men who hit the gym with the single-minded pursuit of bigger pecs, broader shoulders, and a more sculpted back could afford to pay a little more attention to their quads, hamstrings, and calves. While your chest is what you see in the mirror, it’s your legs that are doing most of the work throughout the day. When it comes down to it, your body needs to be balanced to look proportionate and fend off injury, so it’s important to spend an equal amount of time working your upper and lower body. Plus, working the large muscle groups in your lower body fires up fat burn. Squats, lunges, and leg presses are some of the most efficient exercises for strength building and calorie burn. Why? Leg exercises tend to be compound movements—multi-joint exercises that engage a number of muscles at once—so they’re going to be more demanding on your body than a bicep curl, explains Jack.

By Emily G. W. Chau

FitBie at MSN

Beat The Heat

“Beat The Heat” — By Cara Regas, Strength and conditioning coach at Fitness Quest 10.

With summer temperatures rising, the risk of heat illness also increases.  Here are a few tips to so you can enjoy physical activity and exercise as well as to reduce the risk of heat illness:

1. Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate! Drink half of your body weight in water in ounces (i.e. a 160 lb person should drink 80oz) per day.  You need to drink more if you are exercising and even more if you are exercising in heat!

2. Consume plenty of electrolytes to replenish the ones you lose.  Electrolytes can be found in Smart Water, Pedialyte (we love that here at FQ10), or any sports drink (Vitamin Water, Gatorade, PowerAde, etc).  Be aware of how much sugar you are consuming with the sports drinks though; it can sneak up on you.  The key nutrients you want to consume for electrolytes are: sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

3. Gradually increase the of intensity and duration of your workout.  The more you are gradual and methodical about your exercise, the better prepared your body will be for the workout.  Additionally, following this step helps prevent injury and illness.

4. Take adequate amounts of breaks during your activity. Resting and proper sleeping habits decrease your risks of illness and injury.

5. Avoid working out during peak sun hours. If possible, exercise during the early morning or late evening when the sun is not as bright and the weather is cooler.

6. Do not participate in intense exercise if you show signs of illness.  That illness, however small, may decrease your body’s tolerance and prevent you from full recovery. You can exercise if you feel okay, just be aware of your limitations and back off on intensity if needed.

How can you tell if you are dehydrated or at a higher risk for heat illness?  The easiest way is to check your urine.  Darker color urine is a quick indicator of dehydration.  Your urine should look more like lemonade than apple juice and it should become lighter and lighter as the day goes on.  A good goal would be to have almost clear-to-clear urine by the end of the day.  Don’t let the heat keep you from working out!  Beat it with hydration and awareness.  Stay hydrated my friends!

Cara Regas Haughey is an ATC and personal trainer at Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA.  She specializes in keeping female athletes injury free, and develops programs and injury free workouts for both athletes and non-athletes.  You can visit Cara’s blog about keeping athletes healthy at injuryfreefemaleathletes.wordpress.com.

“Have You Lost That Loving Feeling?” by Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS

Do you remember the movie, Top Gun?  It’s one of my all-time favorites (besides Rocky, of course), full of action, passion and love. There is a scene near the beginning when Maverick and Goose pick up Charlie (played by Kelly McGillis) in a bar by singing, “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling.”  The energy and sparkle in that scene was awesome – a reminder to all of us of the importance of keeping the spark and the sizzle in all that we do. 

Have you lost that loving feeling?  What could be worse than living without passion and purpose in your life?  Do you need to put some sizzle back into your workouts, your work life, your relationships and daily living?  When you think about it, we spend our entire adult lives creating the problem.  Just look at what we’ve done: we labor for years (if not decades) establishing our careers, we admire and emulate those with a stable home life, we lock in our workout schedule so we won’t wiggle out of it, we work to create lifelong relationships with family, friends and other loved ones.  Established, stable, locked-in, lifelong – Yikes!  How about some snap, crackle and pop! 

All this effort to build a box around you… and then what?  Do you live happily ever after with your daily routines? NO! Most of us crave spark and sizzle.  We need fireworks every once in a while. One of our greatest challenges is learning how to build only enough “box” to create a sturdy and reliable foundation. 

Just don’t close yourself in! My goal with this article is to share with you some tips for how to “keep the fire burning” and balance your need for stability and routine with lifelong passion, energy and joy to keep that loving feeling alive!

• Focus on your physical health. There is a saying that goes, “When you look good, you play good.”  Invest 20 minutes minimal in your physical conditioning everyday and it will go a long way to create the body’s natural high through the release of endorphins. Mix it up this summer.  Take a surfing lesson with your kids, go kayaking, vacation in a big city and walk everywhere you go. Work with a trainer a few times a week to mix up the routine, do yoga on the beach, explore the bike paths in your city… Go outside and get outside the box!

• Take a sabbatical from routines.  Pick an area of your life that’s lost its spark and shake things up.  The opportunities are endless: pull the plug on the TV, open your home to a foreign exchange student, cancel the resort in Hawaii and go camping or rent an RV, vacation in a tree house (no kidding, you can do this in Oregon), join an organic produce co-op, train for your first triathlon, challenge yourself to an hour of physical activity five or six days a week.  Pick something and start today!

• Put your career under the microscope. Does your career need a makeover? Risks aren’t only for the young. Whether the right risk for you is a job change, self-employment or a special project or partnership – Go For It! Stop isolating yourself in the corner office and rediscover the passion of your early career years. Reach out into the organization and surround yourself with new voices and ideas to challenge your thinking. Stop confusing critics with critical thinkers!

• Experience a little sensory overload.  Scoot a little closer to the edge and have some fun.  We have a new ballpark in San Diego, and one of the residential towers overlooking the park has a great party deck for owners and their guests to enjoy the San Diego Padres at play amidst beautiful downtown views.  The post-game fireworks show is sensational.  You’re not watching it; you’re in the middle of it! You’re so close; you feel like you could reach out and touch the spark and color.  Ride a roller coaster or a zip line, watch a scary movie, try a hot stone massage, attend an outdoor jazz festival, lie under the stars and hold hands with your special someone.  Light up your senses!

• Let “date night” recharge your relationship battery. Sunday afternoon in the park, Tuesday morning workout, Thursday night dinner and a movie… Whatever you choose, it’s amazing what a quiet meal without the kids, a simple night away, a long weekend, or just a walk on the beach can do for you. If you’re in the grind of working non-stop, it’s essential to give priority to your primary relationship. This is the last place you want to lose that loving feeling! Don’t go months on-end without having some quality time together.
 
 “Eat, Pray, Love” is an award-winning book by Elizabeth Gilbert that teaches about many aspects of life.  Most importantly, it teaches about the love of self.  Loving feelings start within you, making it absolutely essential to “put your oxygen mask on first.”  Take care of YOU before everything and everyone else. Only then, can you put the snap, crackle and pop into daily life.  Fireworks aren’t only for the 4th of July.  Blow the lid off your box and start FEELING THE LOVE TODAY!

Peace and love,

Todd

Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, is a personal trainer and massage therapist who motivates, educates, and inspires people world-wide.  He is the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, where his wonderful team focuses on personal training, massage therapy, Pilates, yoga, sports performance training, and nutrition to help transform people’s bodies, minds, and spirits.  Todd trains dozens of NFL & MLB baseball athletes and provides motivational talks and programs to companies and conferences world-wide.  Additionally, Todd is the Head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council.  He has appeared in 60 Minutes, on ESPN, the NFL Network,  and been featured in Sports Illustrated, Business Week, Prevention, ESPN the Magazine, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, Stack Magazine, Self, Shape, Fitness, and the NY Times and Washington Post.  Todd is the author of 27 DVD’s on strength & conditioning, functional fitness, massage/bodywork, and business/personal growth.   You can sign up for his FREE award-winning Ezine newsletter, the “TD TIMES”, at www.FitnessQuest10.com or www.ToddDurkin.com.  
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Recovery 101

Work hard.  Train hard.  Play even harder.

If you live this kind of lifestyle, then you realize the necessity of proper recovery.  I will break it down simply into 5 easy steps:

COOL DOWN, EAT, STRETCH, MASSAGE, SLEEP!

1)  Cool Down =  5 – 20 minutes (depending on your workout) of light cardio, walking, or low intensity exercise can help you in many ways.  A cool down helps flush out lactic acid and hydrogen ions that would usually cause delayed onset muscle soreness.  This is the first step in a good recovery process.

2)  Eat =  Specifically, eat proper foods and in the right timeframe.  A combination of simple carbs and a protein source  must be ingested within 30 minutes post workout, preferably immediately afterwards.  PBJ, protein shake, turkey sandwich, or chocolate milk are common choices.  Eat another full meal within 2 hours as well.

3)  Stretch =

niceStretching is key for lengthening tissue and fascia, increasing range of motion, and decreasing risk for injury.  Static stretching after a workout combined with good deep breathing will increase blood flow, aid in muscle repair, and keep tissue lean and healthy.  Flexibility is essential for the athletes recovery.

4)  Massage = Combined with cool down, nutrition, and stretching, massage is the ultimate tool to aid in recovery.  Increasing circulation will allow blood and lymph to speed up recovery, flush toxins and metabolic wastes, and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to relax your mind and body.  Massage is also key for injury prevention and rehabilitation.  Depending on training intensity and consistency, an athlete can get a massage every week or, at least, once a month.  Self massage is also an option using foam rollers, tennis balls, and various other equipment.

Here is an excellent post on self myo-fascial release I wrote.  Check it out:

http://ericisselin.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/self-myo-fascial-release/

5)  Sleep = Pretty self explanatory.  Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.

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Also, something I have personally been doing lately is swimming laps for recovery.   I usually swim around 500 meters at a slow, easy pace.  I find this loosens up my body and gets me ready for another day of training.  I also sleep like a baby.  Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Best in health,

ERIC
www.fitnessquest10.com