Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Single Best Piece of Nutrition Advice

You have been lied to when it comes to your nutrition and what is healthy.  Two of the most common examples of this are the low calorie snack pack or the idea of low fat options for fatty snacks.  What we have done is taken food and modified it so that it is not food anymore.   That is a a problem, not a solution.  It is scary that we as a society are calling that healthy.

So this is the advice I am offering.  Just eat real food.  Look at the ingredients list, it should be short and sweet, not something that looks like the periodic table.

“I can’t pronounce them, much less put them in my body” – Brett Klika

Calorie counting is a common strategy and does work well in large amounts.  If you eat way too many, you will be putting on the pounds.  However, to say all calories are the same is wrong.  Your car won’t run the same, or at all, if you fill your tank with the wrong liquid.  Same goes for your body and calories.

“Quit counting calories and start counting quality.” – Brett Klika

So look for the ingredient list.  If you can’t find one even better.  Try looking for one on an apple.  It might be a little shocking, but there won’t be one, because, well…it’s an apple.  That’s a good thing.  Now go to that 100 Calorie Snack Pack, maybe a couple good ingredients interspersed with a long list of chemicals.  Chemicals are put into food to increase your appetite.   You can’t eat just one, right? That is by design, processed food goes through the chemical process so you will eat and thus buy more.  It is once this process began that diseases of spread in modern times.  The new ‘healthy foods’ may be the exact opposite of what they are claimed to be.

Just eat real food.

Image

Advertisements

Just Roar!

Image

I may not be the lion, but it was left to me to give the lion’s roar. – Winston Churchill

We all want to roar, whatever that roar may be.  Know what your roar is.  The common belief is the idea that I have to if I have what it takes, based on who I am now, to do what I really want to do.  The answer to this is no, that isn’t the case.  Just start doing it.  If you need to roar like a lion, it isn’t necessary to analyze whether you am a lion.  Just roar. The other option wastes energy that would be much better being applied to make your roar as powerful as possible.

We miss this fact of life: action doesn’t care who you are. – Steve Chandler

So act now.  In the wild, that is what matters.  Can you become a lion in this very moment? Unlikely.  But how loud can you roar?  

Culture, Leadership and Caring at UConn

ImageIt’s crazy that one school has won both Men’s and Women’s College Basketball National Championship.  It’s crazy that it’s only been done by one school.  And it’s crazy that the one school that has done it has done it twice!

But what is going on at UConn that led to such dominance during the madness?

Any time I watch Kevin Ollie and Geno Auriemma it is really obvious that they care, about the wins and losses, but more importantly their players.

We can measure revenue, costs, wins and losses but it’s hard to measure and quantify culture. Yet, when we experience an organization with a great culture we can tell there is something very different about them. We feel it when we walk around the building, store, offices or locker room. We see it in the messages on the walls. We hear it when we talk to the leaders and observe the people of the organization. People who are part of a great culture, think, act, lead and serve differently. – Jon Gordon

Kevin Durant was a teammate of Ollie’s and he attributed him as being a game-changer in the organization and the reason the Thunder are winners.  This effect was through Ollie who was a player at the time, but his teammates viewed him as their leader. 

Just his mindset, professionalism every single day. And we all watched that. We all wanted to be like that. – Kevin Durant

That’s true leadership, without a title.  And he has able to do that at UConn, his players want to be great and have bought into the process to be great.  That is their focus, winning the championship was a side effect.

 

…When you focus on culture, leadership and caring you create a culture that strengthens and builds up people and you have people who strengthen and build the culture. And when you have a great culture, great leadership and people who care, you have the keys to sustained success. – Jon Gordon

As for Geno, he made a huge turnaround with the Women’s program, taking them from mediocre and zero championships to the most of all time, with last night being the 9th championship that capped off a perfect 40-0 season.  After the game, in a moment of genuine emotion he was asked about the success and the 9 titles.  His response was that he was just so lucky to get to coach the great players that he has.  That’s a selfless leader who has complete trust from his players.

Both UConn squads have great players and they wouldn’t win without that talent and although neither coach would ever admit it, it is their leadership that led the players toward greatness.  Follow this model and more often than not, you will find greatness as well.

 

Success is a Choice – Rick Pitino

Image With Final 4 right around the corner I had Rick Pitino’s book ‘Success is a Choice’ lined up to read.  And if things went according to my bracket (Louisville in the Final 4), it would have made a lot more sense.  However, one of ex players is still coaching in the dance, so it made enough sense to me. Billy Donovan, at Florida, was mentioned in the book a couple times for being I slow, overweight kid, who finally got it and was able to succeed at the D1 Level.  What was it he finally got? He understood that success wasn’t complicated, and to be successful was a choice he could make.

Rick begins the book with a war time quote by Winston Churchill that is complete truth.

Hoping and praying for success was fine, but deserving it is what really mattered. – Winston Churchill

How true is it that?  It doesn’t matter how bad we want something, it comes down to what we have done to make it happen.  That’s the truth.  But yet we live in a society where we demand everything now and we are unhappy when we don’t get what we want instantaneously.  Understand that good things are going to come your way if you work consistently and strategically for it.

Pitino laid out 10 Steps for Success:

  1. Build Self-Esteem – We can’t get anywhere without it, but we have to be honest with ourselves about where it comes from.
  2. Set Demanding Goals – Goals are the steps to pursue our dreams.  This is how we grow.
  3. Always Be Positive – You can be extremely hard working but if you aren’t positive you are inhibiting your chance at success. Plus the journey is less rewarding.
  4. Establish Good Habits – Success can be hard.  But if it’s built on good habits, it won’t be because doing what needs to be done is second nature.
  5. Master the Art of Communication – Good skills are essential.  All of them start with listening.  I went deeper on this in a previous blog, Connections and Connecting.
  6. Learn From Role Models – Others have laid out a road to success for whatever journey you are on. Use it!
  7. Thrive From Pressure – We must differentiate between stress and pressure.  Do this right, and it can be a powerful driving force.
  8. Be Ferociously Persistent – Persistence is determining factor between who will succeed and who fails.
  9. Learn From Adversity – If you aren’t willing to learn from it, you are letting it thwart your dreams.
  10. Survive Success – Becoming successful is a process that never ends.

If you want more detail I highly recommend you check out this book.  And if you’re really looking to get some reading done check out Stronger Team’s 118 Books You Must Read. It should keep you busy for a while.

Let’s Get This Aerobic Capacity!

It’s time for some volume conditioning.  For me it’s cause of these three things, I’m sure you can cross at least one of too..

  1. Charity Run (Sporting life 10 k)
  2. Shed some of the extra bulk that got put on over a long winter
  3. Off season training for sport (basketball)

To help you I’ve put together a couple of key ingredients to consider for your plan, much of this has been adapted from Essentials of Strength Training by Thomas R. Baechle, it’s a great resource if you want to get smart training and involved in the field.  However, I do believe this should suffice.  The offseason is a time to Evaluate, Plan and Execute so before you can even get going into your postseason you have to know your needs and have a plan.  If you fail to plan you plan to fail.  

There is a colossal difference between training and working out. Training is when you have a progressive plan with measurable goals. Working out is anything that makes you sweaty and tired but lacks consistency, direction and purpose. – Alan Stein

Evaluate

This is the first step is where you look at where you are and what your personal needs are based on where you are now and what your goals are.  The most important thing to me is basketball, so that is where I focused.  According to data by Nieman looking at VO2 max for athletes in sports, a male basketball player needs a VO2 max of 52-56 ml/kg/min.  When I got this tested I scored right in that range so although I could improve it my time and energy is better spent elsewhere.  

I have also read that basketball players run between 4.5 to 7.5 km during a game. Of course this is not continuous but it gives a base of the volume I need to be able to run.  Past that point my training may be better spent in more High Intensity type training.  Thus I think the Sporting Life 10 K is a great goal to train for to keep me committed to my cardio program.  I recommend you find something you can hold yourself accountable to as well.  If you want to sign up, let me know but just be aware that we are racing.

So what do you need to look at?
– Maximal Aerobic Power, which is the total energy your aerobic system can produce.  How hard can you go for a long time?
– Lactate Threshold is the point during your workout where lactate begins to build up.  Lactate is the stuff that makes you feel sore you would like this threshold to increase so you can do more work before your body begs you to quit.  When do your muscles slow down and feel heavy?
– Exercise Economy which is the energy cost of an activity at a given exercise velocity.  Will you be able to do the same exercise using less energy?

How good are you at these three factors? How good do you wish to be? Where should you spend your time?  That’s on you but if you reach out and love to help figure this out with you.

Plan

When designing an aerobic training program you need to consider:

  1. Exercise type – cycling, running, swimming and so on
  2. Training frequency – number of training sessions per day per week.  This depends on your needs, time available and other workouts
  3. Training Intensity – You want to overload your body based on your max heart rate (220-age = Max Heart Rate). Know the range you wish to start of in. If you are just starting of this should be <70% but you will quickly begin to figure out where you want to be.
  4. Exercise Duration – length of time per training session.  Remember that the longer the duration of your workout, the lower your intensity must be.   This holds true for any type of workout and program.
  5. Exercise Progression – What is your plan to maintain or advance your aerobic system? Without adjusting your workouts you can plateau in as soon as 5 weeks.

So what type of ways can you train this system?

  • Long, Slow Distance Training which is 30 to 120 minutes of slow paced training.  It should be a volume greater than what your race or sport requires.  This is why I made 10 K my goal.  Although this training is important you should try to move to HIT training as soon as possible for sport transferability and higher weight loss.
  • Pace/Tempo Running is going at an intensity at or slightly higher than race/sport competition intensity.  This can be done in sets and it is where you can really challenge your lactate threshold.
  • Interval Training for aerobic work should consist of intervals of 3-5 minutes (although they can go as low as 30s) and have a 1-2:1 work to rest ratio.  Anything more intense than this is still working out but is relying much more on your anaerobic system. Interval training is probably the ideal for most gym goers out there and the goal should be to get to this type of training for weight loss and sports needs once you are happy with your aerobic capacity.
  • Repetition Training is similar to Interval Training but with 30 to 90s intervals.  You should be moving at a pace that you would not be able to keep up for much longer, so somewhere between a jog and a sprint.  The work to rest ratio should be about 4-6:1 as it is more anaerobic but will help transfer to your aerobic efficiency.  Again this type of training can be great for weight loss or team sports.
  • Fartlek Training is a combination of the above types of training done in a single session.  

Whether you do them together or separately it’s a great idea to implement all these types of training at some point during your training periods.

Execute

Put your plan in to action.  This is when you train hard, train smart and train with consistency.

But don’t try to rush your progress. Build your success ‘brick by brick.’ – Alan Stein

Go do it! And keep doing it!

 

 

Theodore Roosevelt on Haters

Not sure if it’s just a Twitter and Basketball thing but I come across the term hater a lot.  Usually it’s used as a self-motivator, or proof that you are on a bigger stage.  Personally I feel that if they are pushing out negative energy or no energy, then they aren’t worth yours.  But don’t listen to me, listen to what Teddy Roosevelt has to say on ‘haters’:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt

One last thing to consider. Think of all the instances in your life where you have truly faced a ‘hater’. Take some time to really think about this. Now think of all the times where you have had the utmost support from those around you.  I’m confident the latter is much more common. Don’t focus your energy on the few critics there may be around you. If you give them your focus and energy you give them power over you.  Ignore them, unless your bucket is overflowing with positive energy, then help them.

Image

Success is not an accident

I enjoy watching NBA basketball because you have a collection of people who have become the greatest at the sport they (and I) love.  Sometimes I can’t help but notice the advantages they have to be great basketball players. Take Lebron James he’s 6’8, 250 lbs and moves really well, or Kevin Durant, who is 6’11 but has the coordination of a 6 footer.  On the other end you got Stephen Curry, not the protypical athletic specimen, but son of the Raptors legendary shooter Dell Curry, so I guess we can use the genetic cop out again.  

But I’d disagree. What Stephen Curry did get from his dad was an understanding at a young age of the consistent effort and dedication required to pursue excellence.  It’s this work ethic that these superstars all share that has led them to their personal success. Success was not given to them, it had to be earned.  Like Curry and other great players they are notorious for showing to the gym hours early for extra shooting where they prepare themselves by demanding perfection.  After workouts Curry is known for not leaving until he has swished five free throws in a row.  He did this when he a teenager, and has continued this as an NBA star, it’s a part of his journey.

Alan Stein said it the best in one of his clinics when he told the aspiring basketball players “Success is not an accident, success is actually a choice and Stephen Curry is one of the best shooters on the planet today because he has made the choice to create great habits. And my question to you is.  Are the habits you have today on par with the dreams that you have for tomorrow?”

Wow, how powerful is that?

One strategy I have started to use that I built from the NCCP and Strongerteam is a START, STOP, CONTINUE of single habits.  The goal each month is to focus on two new habits, a positive one to add and a negative one to remove.  I like the idea of focusing on building good habits because habits are easier to break than to make.  Now, after the month pick one of your habits that you would like to continue to work on and for the next month work on two new habits, plus this one.  This is important because it has been suggested that it takes anywhere from 21-60 days to consolidate a habit. Sometimes, it can be challenging but habits are natural and automatic and thus will no longer require extra motivation. If you focus on making the actions automatic, in one year you can have 24 consolidated habits that will be the foundation of your future.

So ask yourself what standards can you set for yourself right now that will lead to a successful tomorrow?  What can you do to hold yourself accountable? What will be your START, STOP, CONTINUE?

Be > Yesterday