Archive for the ‘sports’ Tag

USE YOUR “BODY CLOCK” TO DO YOUR BEST WORK!   1 comment

Your body, and especially your brain, have a built in clock and daily rhythm of activity. It’s called your circadian rhythm. There are times of high activity and low activity. Tracking these ties can help you do your best at a task by doing it when your body is most capable of thattask. In the worse scenario, when you need to do a task at the time when your body (and especially your brain) is least up for doing it, you know what you’re up against and can take precautionary measures or get some additional support.

A recent article in the Wallstreet Journal by Sue Shellenbarger reviewed some circadian rhythm research, and I want to share my highlights and notes with you:

1. “Disruption of circadian rhythms has been linked to such problems as diabetes, depression, dementia and obesity, says Steve Kay, a professor of molecular and computational biology at the University of Southern California.” — This tells me that paying attention to circadian rhythms is an important part of any physical fitness plan. I knew it before, but this statement reinforces the priority.

2. “When it comes to doing cognitive work, for example, most adults perform best in the late morning, says Dr. Kay.” — If I need to hit something hard cognitively, and have the choice as to when, it may be best to schedule it for the morning rather than afternoon or evening.

3. “Most people are more easily distracted from noon to 4 p.m., according to recent research led by Robert Matchock, an associate professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University.” — If I need to do a task that requires sustained attention, the afternoon might beb a time best avoided.

4. “Alertness tends to slump after eating a meal, Dr. Matchock found. Sleepiness also tends to peak around 2 p.m., making that a good time for a nap, says Martin Moore-Ede, chairman and chief executive of Circadian, a Stoneham, Mass., training and consulting firm.” — OK, more indications that the afternoon is not the best time for attentive thinking. I get the idea! 😉

5. “For most adults, problems that require open-ended thinking are often best tackled in the evening when they are tired, according to a 2011 study in the journal Thinking & Reasoning.” — Evening might be a good time for creative thinking.

6. “Of course, everyone’s body clock isn’t the same, making it even harder to synchronize natural rhythms with daily plans. ” — I have experienced this! Just because I am a “morning person” doesn’t mean anyone else is, and those that aren’t sure do let you know!

7. “Morning people tend to wake up and go to sleep earlier and to be most productive early in the day. Evening people tend to wake up later, start more slowly and peak in the evening.”– Sure, but which one is a better dancer? (lol)

8. “Physical performance is usually best, and the risk of injury least, from about 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., says Michael Smolensky, an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas, Austin, and lead author with Lynne Lamberg of “The Body Clock Guide to Better Health.” — This tells me there might be advantages to working out immediately after work, which is something I currently do on Fridays, and around that same time on Saturdays as well.

9. “Muscle strength tends to peak between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at levels as much as 6% above the day’s lows…” — See #8.

10. “Another boost for physical strength comes from the lungs, which function 17.6% more efficiently at 5 p.m. than at midday…” — See #8 above. Maybe 8 through 10 have to do with chasing down dinner!

11. “Eye-hand coordination is best in late afternoon…joints and muscles are as much as 20% more flexible in the evening, lowering the risk of injury, Dr. Smolensky says.”

12. “These body rhythms hold true regardless of how much you’ve slept or how recently you’ve eaten.” — That’s interesting to me. These rhythms are what I call “hard-wired.”

You can check out the full article HERE.

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POST-WORKOUT NUTRITION   1 comment

What is the optimal nutritive intake after a workout, and when exactly is the best time to get it into your system? I have been following the research that suggests there is a one-hour window after a workout, during which time my body is aggressively seeking simple proteins to repair and grow muscle tissue. Milk and whey protein are supposed to be good sources, which is why yesterday afternoon you may have seen me wandering the Barnes and Noble “Fitness” aisle drinking from an open gallon container of chocolate milk. Sure, a quart or smaller container would have been less obtrusive, but when I tell you that the gallon of low-fat milk was cheaper than the smaller containers of milk at Cub Foods, and when you know that when it comes to health and fitness I don’t care about appearances, you will understand where I was coming from. Subsequent to working out after work, my only goal was to get protein into my body ASAP, even if it meant looking a little socially maladjusted (again).

Anyway, Mike Roussell posted a good article for Live Strong that provides a very good brief summary of workout nutrition. Here are my highlights:

1. “The workout nutrition window begins 20 to 30 minutes before you exercise and lasts for one to two hours after the workout.”

2. Workout nutrition myths:
a. Don’t eat after you workout.
b. Post workout nutrition is all that matters.
c. Carbohydrates are the most important nutrient to get during and after you exercise.

3. Key steps for nutrition maximization:
a. Start sipping on your workout shake 20 minutes before exercise.
b. Continue to sip on your workout shake as you train.
c. Then finish off your workout shake when you complete your workout; and if muscle growth is your goal, have another one immediately.
d. Finally, workout nutrition “meals” should be liquid.

You can check out the full article HERE.

MOTIVATIONAL MOMENT #4: JONATHAN SIEGRIST CLIMBING   Leave a comment

Hang with Jonathan Siegrist in this incredible climbing vid. If liberal wisecracks from Naropa University alumni bother you, have a kale chip and refocus on the unflinching commitment this guy brings to scaling the vertical! Besides, look at me…that’s right I’m a Macalester College alumnus with more clock hours on the meditation cushion than a commercial airline pilot, an impressive Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan record collection, several ethnic shirts — and I can still qualify for a security clearance! Always challenge your mind! Anyway…this guy has skills and hardcore commitment, check it out dude!

“INJURY MIND” #2 – MOVING ON   Leave a comment

In follow up to my previously posted article “Injury Mind” I would also like to share an article Exact Sports published in 2011. This article identifies definite recovery steps for coping with athletic injury, including:

1. Be Sad: Feeling is one of the most important parts of the healing process.

2. Deal with what it is.

3. Set new goals for yourself (but keep them realistic).

4. Keep a positive attitude.

5. Take an active part in your healing.

6. Don’t stop practicing and working out.

7. Use your experience as an athlete in other areas of your life.

8. Seek out the support of your teammates, coaches, and family.

9. Seek out a counselor if it gets too bad.

10. BE PATIENT

The article includes details and suggestions for each of these points. Check it out HERE.

If you want to evaluate the status and impact of athletic injury on your physical fitness and overall quality of life, as well as make a personalized plan for recovery, contact me – Tom Delaney – at greatriverfitness@gmail.com.

“INJURY MIND” – KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT   Leave a comment

Physical injury has a definite psychological impact for the training athlete. Cognitive and emotional reactions are much more easy to manage when you know what to expect from yourself. Sports psychologist Paul Russell wrote an excellent summary of the psychological impact of athletic injury in Fitpro Network:

1. Physical well-being
• Physical injury
• Pain of injury
• Physical rigors of treatment and rehabilitation
• Temporary physical restriction
• Permanent physical changes

2. Emotional well-being
• Psychological trauma when the injury occurs
• Feelings of loss and grief
• Threats to future performance
• Emotional demands of treatment and rehabilitation

3. Social well-being
• Loss of important social roles
• Separation from family, friends, and teammates
• New relationships with treatment providers
• Necessity of depending on others

4. Self-concept
• Loss of sense of control
• Dealing with altered self-image
• Threat to important life goals and values
• Necessity for decision-making under stressful circumstances

Russell also summarizes the cognitive consequences of injury as well as stages of rehabilitation. This is a very good review to familiarize yourself with BEFORE injury so that you can be immediately prepared for injury, should it happen. Check out the full review HERE.

If you want to evaluate the status and impact of athletic injury on your physical fitness and overall quality of life, as well as make a personalized plan for recovery, contact me – Tom Delaney – at greatriverfitness@gmail.com.

DELANEY’S DAILY P.T. – SEPTEMBER 9   Leave a comment

Sundays are for Highland Games workouts… the original tactical fitness training! 😉

Here’s what got done today …

A. 12 lb Stone Put: 150 yds x 4
Worked my way down 150 yard segments (four times) with the following circuit…
1. One 8-count burpee
2. Throw the stone (each circuit alternated left single-hand throw, two-hand overhead throw, and right single-hand throw)
3. One 8-count burpee
4. Jog to the stone
–> Back to beginning #1

B. 15 lb Hammer Throw: 175 yds x 5
Worked my down 175 yard segments (four times) with the following circuit…
1. One 8-count burpee
2. Throw the hammer (each circuit alternated left-hand throw, and right-hand throw)
3. One 8-count burpee
4. Jog to the hammer
–> Back to beginning #1

Another great workout session. Next session I want to focus more on refining my putting technique, with some information from the National Throws Coaches Association accessible HERE. After this last session I put the finishing touches on my sheaf-tossing fork (like a pitchfork but with only two tines) and am looking forward to integrating a sheaf toss into the workout.

LEADERSHIP IN THE LEANING REST #1 (NEW GRTFC SERIES)   Leave a comment

Today is a rest day in my current training program, and rest days are good days to re-focus on goals and reflect especially on developing leadership competence and character. I am reading an outstanding book entitled Team Secrets of the Navy SEALs by Robert Needham. Needham is a currently active Navy SEAL. I have a feeling that the publishers picked the long wordy esoteric sounding title, not Needham, because this is a very straightforward text on leadership in the context of high performing teams.

There is so much good info in this text that summarizing it would never capture it all sufficiently. My plan is to share my highlights and notes with you chapter by chapter. You’ll get some main points, and if you figure out you want the full story you can go out and hunt down a copy. Team leadership development is a core component of the Great River Tactical Fitness Center (GRTFC) training model. If you want more information or want to get yourself or your team engaged, contact me – Tom Delaney – at greatriverfitness@gmail.com.

Here is the first installment of my highlights and notes. In the text below, sections of text from Needham’s book are in quotes, and my notes follow. Write this stuff down. Think about it. Apply it in your own situation. Keep what works and throw the rest away! Adapt, adapt, adapt …

Chapter 1 – Leading the Best (Part 1)

“Every moment of a SEAL’s life is geared toward the development, education, and honing of the Team! The word ‘Team’ encompasses everything from the sixteen-man platoon to our entire country and way of life.” –See my previous post on Navy SEAL Ethos and consider the term “team” as referring to your friends and family, as well as the implications.

“You can’t think only of yourself and those factors affecting or stressing your life. Everyone’s life depends on each member thinking as one. The ‘poor me’ attitude is poison and is a mjor hurdle in any group dynamic.” – What I observe most often with the mentality that blames others for problems, is that it serves as a false excuse from taking responsibility. A person who wallows in self-pity and blames others for their problems will have a hard time taking charge of making positive change in their life, and repositioning themselves to be a support to others.

“If you have been assigned a task, you had better seriously evaluate your ability to complete it before accepting it…carefully assess the situations at hand and take on any challenge you feel that, through the combined effort of you and your Team, you will be able to accomplish.” – This places probability of success as the decisive factor. Not probability of fame, favor or fortune.

“Remember that once you have committed, you are in. If you suddenly find that you’re in over your head, you had better sprout gils and come up with a way to complete the task properly. …If you need to reset, do so after careful consideration of the consequences and after developing other possible solutions.” — I’ve talked about this quote in a previous post, in terms of technical versus adaptive problems and leadership. The ability to adapt is a core competency for team leadership, because the fundamental nature of reality is one of constant change. Failure to adapt inevitably leads to a failure to survive and thrive. On a deeper level, the ability to adapt is also linked to a leadership character trait of openness to change. Even better, a leadership attitude of expecting a necessity for change, and actively seeking out the advantageous opportunities for positive change. If you live your life expecting to regularly review your beliefs, views, attitudes and modes of living, and subsequently identifying and eliminating the unrealistic and outdated of these, you will be living well.

“Team Concepts for the Individual: Never Quit!” – Enough said!

“You are only as strong as your weakest team member.” – I look at this as a reminder to be realistic in goal setting and planning for contingencies. Overconfidence can result in worse problems than a plan was originally designed to solve. ON an individual level, if you look at your own body as your team, the implication is a caution against thinking that your strengths will compensate for your weaknesses or injuries. You have to address those weaknesses or injuries in your personal plan, whether they be underdeveloped muscle groups, your weight, or an unhealthy habit.

“Surround yourself with ‘operators,’ those who perform, always being mindful of the difference between the person you just like to have around and the one you and your Team need to succeed.” – There are obvious work implications, but on a personal level, the implication is that it is very important to surround yourself with people who actively share common commitments with you. There are plenty of fun people in this world, they’re good people, and they are liked. However, if you have set a difficult goal, are training hard to achieve it, are engaging with physical and psychological obstacles in a very involved and intense way, you need “operators” with you, not “good time people.” Sometimes you can get lucky and have an operator who is also a good time friend! But – AND THIS IS IMPORTANT – if you need to make a choice…go with the operator every time.

… stay tuned for more in this Leadership in the Leaning Rest series I am running. Train hard, never quit, live well! – Tom