Monday, September 3, 2018

Music, Present Moments and Training

What is Music?

At the most basic levels, music is a combination of sounds.  Sound is vibration.  We can state that all cells have vibration.  In fact, some researchers are even looking into cells vibration at the red blood cell to differentiate sickness and disease such as malaria.  Humans are composed of cells, music then can be said to move us.  In fact, even when staying still, music has been shown to light up our brain areas that are for motor control.

Music has been found in every single society of human beings since the dawn of man.  Some psychologist say that music predates language.  By these simple facts, we can say without a doubt, music is an important element of being human.  It is used to evoke every emotion a human being can experience.  Societies have been using music for enlightenment, rituals, and enjoyment.  Present day, there are music therapists that use music to heal, not only psychological issues but physical.

We have all experienced what just a simple song can do.  It can boost your energy, fatigue fades and puts a pep back in your step.  They have even shown that listening to music can decrease pain.  Because of this, it comes at no surprise that music plays such a big role in athletics.  You would be hard pressed to not find many athletes that listen to some sort of playlist as part of their warm up routine.

Zen is the art of being in the moment.  Not in the past or the present.  Music has the ability to lock you into what you are doing.  It is for this reason, I think, that music can then remind you instantly of what you were doing when you first heard a song, or how you used to listen to a song.  It has that power because you were truly in that moment and the music anchored you there.

For example, I can list every song I've ever trained to or relaxed to, from High School through Bobsled.  Spin doctors "Two Princes" was my song in a big race where I didn't want to get to hyped.  Rocky's "Hearts on Fire" for when I didn't feel like running the 400m.  Which was every track meet.  "Bulls on Parade" was my last year of College football.  Basement workouts for rugby in Chiropractic school wouldn't have been the same without a little Dayton Family "Flint Town."  I warmed up to the song "Break it Down Again," by Tears for Fears, in repeat, every single time my last year of bobsled.  When my first daughter was born, it was a struggle (for a long time) just me her and my dog.  I'd play Lupe Fiasco "Hip Hop Saved My Life."  Often times, she would stop crying, it actually did feel like, hip hop saving my life.   Just a few examples of how song become associated with memories.  Some you can't recall until the song is played and it transports you back into your memories.  Strong anchors, because you were truly in that moment.

It has been fun to watch both my daughters start to appreciate music.  My oldest loves Bob Marley, someone I never listened to, and now really enjoy.  She calls it happy music.  My youngest doesn't really know what she likes, but she instantly starts dancing.  Both are into it, one more cerebral, one more physical.  I wonder if this would be an indicator for different types of approaches to training an introverted vs extroverted approach?

Are you adapting or optimizing.  Music could be used for both.  Hard workouts where you are truly trying to do the absolute best, full recovery, nutrition supporting the workout, perhaps adding some music you or the athlete loves.  The same can be said for no music, or music that is more even keeled, for when workouts are more about adapting.  Make the psychological factors harder.  Almost like doing math problems before endurance work, mental tiredness, produces perceptually harder workouts.

Much like reading, not sure how there are people that don't enjoy music.  Find the beat that matches your goals.  Want to run faster, find music that has that 180 beats per minute.  Need a little anger for a max effort deadlift.  Find what taps into that Limbic system.  There are several ways to use music in your training.  Hope you can create a playlist that will both adapt and optimize what you are trying to accomplish.

Can you feel that vibration?

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