Friday, October 30, 2015

Coloring Books as Meditation

Meditation has been one of the hottest "trends" in the last 5 years.  I say trend a little sarcastically, because it has been around for literally thousands of years.  It wasn't until the last 5-10 years though that they are realizing the implications for brain health.  There has been a high interest into what is actually happening to the brain when you meditate.  With the use of fMRI and EMG we now know how much physical and mental health benefits can be achieved.

Brain grey matter is preserved.  Monkey brain, or wandering brain is decreases and this has been shown to increase happiness.  It has been shown to increase volume size.  (Bigger Brain!)  Increase concentration.  Reduce anxiety.  These are just a few known benefits.

Meditation or mindfulness can be achieved by many methods.  Some use breathing.  Some use music.
The latest trend we are seeing is the use of coloring books.  Seems a little odd until you really start to figure out what is happening.  Relaxation happens.  Creativity flow a little easier.  Here is an article that talks about this.  Coloring is the Best Alternative to Meditation.

A few psychologists are now saying coloring can be a strong alternative to meditation as some of the same things are happening.  So if you have found meditation hard, perhaps pick up a coloring book and go for it.

Here is picture I colored this week.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Random Likes, Thoughts and Notes.

Just some random thoughts and notes of things I've read or am thinking about.

Facebook saved function is awesome.  Actually easier then Evernote.  My Facebook feed is packed full of quality people that put out some pretty cool links to articles and videos.  The saved feature lets you go back and read all the ones you want to when you don't want to devote the time to read and take notes right then.

The app Split Screen is what I have been looking for.  It was 4.99 but well worth it.  I can take an article I'm reading on the web brower, hit the left screen and it goes left.  I can then keep my note taking on the right screen.  So both are open and able to go back and forth much easier while I read and take notes.

As we enter winter, 1000 IU of Vitamin D would be needed to raise your number 5mmol. Get it measured and keep it between 50-70.

I believe I may have figured out my question of why I felt so bad eating so clean and inversely why I felt so much better (joint wise) eating some "junk."

One carbohydrate is capable of carrying 2.7 grams of water.  Dehydration can definitely create more pain in joints.  I believe as I cleaned my diet up of all grains/processed foods, my hydration didn't really increase.  So by way of eating clean, I was actually dehydrating myself.  Can also explain some pretty quick loss of weight over 3-4 weeks.  Can also explain why I felt like I was going to pass out while mountain biking and getting light headed after heavy deadlifts.

This is going to be another experiment this winter.

Alga and Chlorophyll when examined in research is overrated as a superfood.  Save your money.

Something to think about for weight lifters, power lifters, cross fitters and anyone else trying to do a weighted movement with improper form/mobility.  You may not get hurt now but you know your not 100% great with it.  Would you hurt your brain now for Alzheimer's later?  Of course not, treat your joints the same.

Blind women are half as likely to get breast cancer.  This is suspected because they have higher melatonin levels.  Perhaps supplement with melatonin?

Tendon injuries are often associated with motor control changes.  Self paced strength training has been shown to help strength, but not motor control.  This would be down on 3, up on 3.  External paced, like the use of a metronome have been shown to alter motor control.

Coffee, time and time again , proves to be pretty healthy for you.  Liver more healthy, less type 2 diabetes and less Alzheimer's.

Being grateful has more and more powerful brain magic.  Even when you don't think you have anything to be grateful for, the act of trying to remember shows emotional intelligence and has positive impact on your biology.  Be grateful.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Defining Your Definition of Better Training

"Did you get better today?"

It's a simple question.  The answer can say a lot about your training.  In the scope of your training, your definition of why becomes utmost important.  Because to answer the first question, you must first ask yourself a more important question.  

"Why are you training?"

When the Why is your outline you can fill in with smart programming your how and when.  

Your why has to be very important to you.  I was reading through a very informative article on how our brains are wired.  One of the more interesting facts was how our brain views things like exercise. If you hate something, for example, getting up in the morning to go for a run, because you think you should, doesn't elicit the same health benefits as someone that loves the morning and loves running.  

Essentially, to the brain, your "I have to" isn't a voluntary action any longer.  You don't get the same pleasure neurotransmitters release.  It's just another stress.  It's the reason finding the why must be examined and then back filled in with ways that are both enjoyable and goal centered.  

If your goal is weight loss and you hate running, but this is your method you have chosen,  chances are this isn't a habit that will probably stick.  Make sure weight loss is your real goal.  Often, when I ask why weight loss to clients, they just want to feel better.  Sometimes this comes from weight loss, sometimes not.  Not feeling well can come from many varied reasons, not just weight loss.  Getting there can be just as varied in the methods.   Find a method you enjoy.  I personally dislike long distance running, but really enjoy jumping rope and rucking.  

My training goals are to have better feeling joints.  I hired a coach to help me attempt to get my elbows better.   I like having a 2x bodyweight deadlift.  That is really not that much when comparing to anyone that actually lifts to compete in any strength pursuit, but for me, that is just fine.  I want to be in good enough cardio to ride my bike for enjoyment and not be tired.  We have awesome mountain bike trails in West Michigan.  

One of my favorite (almost all) are just to think up workouts and then do them.  They usually have a theme to them that can tie back into my big picture goals.  This in itself is a goal.  To be healthy an fit enough to do what I dream of doing.  

Some days its 20 prowler pushes on the minute.  Some days its just punching the heavy bag paired with ring pull ups.  These are also the most enjoyable to me.  Think of something and go do it.  These are probably also producing the most pleasurable neurotransmitter release.  

So did I get better today.  By the definition of my goals, I did some things to work on my elbow and hip health.  So yes.  I did a bunch of pull ups at the park with my kid, followed by lunge position depth drops.  Just something I was playing around with.  So yea...I got better today.  

Will this type of unstructured training lead to anything big.  No.  But, you must understand that isn't the goal currently.  When you define your training, you can define your method.  Always know you are on the right path if you can answer the question with a yes.

"Did I get better today?"