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Under the Microscope #004 - Why Train?

Training isn’t just be about getting some exercises done.

Reaching your goals, mastering a skill. It’s about passing down information from one generation to the next.

Training prepares you to handle real-world situations.

Practiced to a point where, the mind comes to a realization, that I’ve seen this before, I’ve done something like this. My body knows instinctively what to do.

Today’s episode covers Training and Learning – Why do I train the way that I do

I love training, learning new things and I love to move! I’ve trained and played sports my whole life and I love to dance and play around. Just like my son, I am fascinated by everything around him and because I’m a physical therapist it has been a joy to watch him develop and to have the time to spend it with him.

I train because I want to share my love for training, share my love for movement and share with my son the joys of exploration through movement. As a physical therapist, I have learned that movement is not a given, and it is something that should be taught, explored and quite frankly something that needs to be included in our schools education. As should anatomy, exercise physiology and nutrition as well as basic accounting and finance. But anyhow, I digress. It was important to me that people look to explore their own movements. Exploring movement is empowering and helps to build confidence to believe in your body’s ability to perform at will.

As I recovered from multiple injuries and orthopedic surgeries in my early 20s, I was shown that I should be exploring my own movements and challenging them in multiple planes of movement, different positions, doing different activities. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to the beautiful art of dance called breakdancing. The great breakdancers ,much like gymnasts, inspire me and are living proof that if you train hard enough you can will your body to move with such power, style and finesse. It’s a beautiful form of dance because of the freestyle type of movement that is encouraged and each person is encouraged to bring their own flavor when they perform.

Breakdancers are experts at falling and controlling themselves against gravity. It is beautiful to watch. They constantly move up and down get sideways, spin, And when I watch my son, I see that he is working, twisting, rolling and transitioning from the ground to a stand constantly. Watching my son develop and working as a pediatric physical therapist it’s really humbling and satisfying to you’re your own child develop and it’s been so fun. I’ve been training him since day 1 and he moves so much.

In months 0-2 we had to strengthen all of his little muscles like his legs and arms. We did stretches for his arms and for his legs when he’s lying on his back. We had to work on his transitions from his back so we had to practice rolling both ways, and did some tummy time. We tried to get him to stand a little bit. We worked on his sitting balance so he can get the strength in his back and neck to sit up. We worked on his visual tracking and made sure he can look in all directions and turn his head both ways. We checked to make sure his hand and grip strength was there by having hold on to a rattle or a finger. We then used that grip strength to do little pull to sit from lying down to work those arms and abs.

In months 3-5 we did more tummy time and tried to get him to lift up higher and reach with his arms in all directions. Stretching his legs up and hands hopefully helped him to then stick his feet and hands into his mouth. All that sitting balance practice should have paid off to where now he can sit up by himself and maybe even take some challenges like still keeping his head in line when tilted sideways. All that stretching when lying down on the back should have helped to bring the arms towards the middle of his body to play with toys. All those pull to sits and gripping exercises with rattles means he can pick up more heavier items and toys.

As he got older and all the tummy time means he gets more back and arm strength to be able to lift up his body and do a little cobra and maybe reach for toys. Maybe he starts to crawl forward. All that rolling we’ve been practicing has helped him to roll both ways. All the pull to sit and sitting practice means he may now be able to reach and play with toys and not lose balance. And if he does lose balance, does he use his hands to help save himself? All the grabbing and gripping means he should be practicing with both hands, maybe swapping between the two and using his little meat wads to bang things, poke, CRUSH, rake and shake.

He’s gotten a little stronger can crawl further, wants to stand up and see what all the adults are doing so high up there. Maybe they’re standing, squatting, falling, and hopefully using their arms to save themselves from hurting their face or body. They fall many times, but they also learn to get back up more +1. They learn to crawl to a place to pull themselves up. Children must learn to be motivated to move and to develop that independence that we all sometimes take for granted as we get older.

Floor mobility and walking are fundamental developmental skills that I believe are rarely taught because we all just expect babies to just “get it” and simply forgotten about in current cultures never ending to tell us that we lose weight and look good. I believe in developing a well rounded program that includes strength, joint stability, power/speed/agility, work capacity and aerobic endurance and lastly mobility.

This was taken from Eric Cressey a Baseball and strength and conditioning sports performance expert who works with MLB pitchers. I agree with the idea that strength is the baseline and foundation needed to create maximal power output and your joints need to be strong enough to withstand this power production. Power speed and agility can be worked once a level of foundation of strength has been set. Work capacity and aerobic endurance matter as well and then maintaining mobility is the final and bare minimum needed to restore and replenish the body’s ability to perform.

I try to incorporate baseline strength training into my everyday training practices and try to work on various strength and joint stabilizing activities to make sure that the body, and especially the weaker more vulnerable parts of the body like tendons, ligaments and joints to be surrounded by strong muscles to protect them from getting injured. I like to play with different types of motor learning by challenging my body with using more power, increasing the tempo or adding in sudden stops. It’s a complex process which requires fine tuning and customization because each person is different. We all have our own stories filled with a lifetime of injuries, habits, and behaviors that have influenced the body to be what is today. Our bodies have amazing potential to work and perform, but they must trained that way. And this process cannot be cheated. There is no fast track, there is no pill you will take that will be able to replace the sweat and tears of joy from eating a humble serving of grind it out pie daily.

And just like raising a child, every day you make it through and they’re still alive is a god damn victory. And you should be proud of yourself and happy and excited to move and exercise because it is a joy to move and it shouldn’t be taken for granted. It’s my hope to show that exercise is important but it doesn’t have to be boring and painful. It can be fun, it can be whatever you want it to be. Because if you’re not having fun, then why do it?

Playing and having fun is so important not just for a child’s development, but also for adults! Especially if they want to stay sane and manage stress. If the right attitude is in place and the mood in the environment is positive, training and learning can happen with so much more success because there is buy in and motivation to keep on going with the activity, because time flies when you’re having fun! Am I right? Play is another form of movement and expression and it should be encouraged. Children and people should be placed in situations that will help them to encourage movement instead of learning by just doing something repetitiously. Don’t get me wrong, blocked learning or when you do something like 3 sets of 10 is good if you want to master a new task in an isolated way. But we are social and observational beings who rely on more than just wrote memorization to learn. We associate music and feelings and movement all together and that’s why you remember what you were doing when you heard that song you love/hate from when you were 15 years old and you got that first kiss. You imprint information daily and it’s no different when we play.

Yes there were times when I tried to help my child to learn things but specifically working on a task like eating food, but for the most part I try to put him in the right place and the right time to be successful. That means I need be watching out and be able to predict what is going to happen before it happens. We need to be able to provide an environment where they feel as though they can explore and be challenged but you have to be careful because they also might fall. Do we let them fall? Let them learn? Or do we help them for a bit and save them from disaster. It’s a tough call, but you always try and do your best to help and give them a chance to be successful. With each success comes that satisfaction of getting it right and having that positive re-inforcement of wanting to do it again. Too many failures and frustrations will lead to anger and no body likes an angry baby.

Training is about building on top of success. When I see my child now walking , in the span of 1 minute he squats 3-4 times for 5-8 seconds at a time before standing up and walking further. We don’t make it very far because he’s constantly seeing everything for the first time so that leaf right there is so fascinating that he must stop and check it out. Each time he does this though, he is building up strength and that curiosity is driving him to explore and get stronger with each rep. This is why it’s important ot build up these reps daily. He works on the following skills. Crawl, get up, walk, squat, stand, repeat until falls down. Repeat.

Movement is a blessing and there are so many activities that we have created and discovered and it’s a joy to be able to learn something new. It tickles the brain and challenges you to think instead of settling into old habits. But sometimes we also need to stick to the basics. That’s why I like running uphill because each step you take is a medal. There’s so much persistence and self-talk that is required of yourself to be able to go uphill. Running uphill is great for strengthening your mind because of course your body doesn’t want to keep doing it, but if you don’t give up and you continue to work on it each day. What I’ve learned from running uphill battle each day is that it makes everything else seem not so bad. And once I started to go up more frequently, going uphill became more familiar and eventually became easy because I’d been there before. I knew this place. I’ve been here many times and know each rock and stone.

You don’t need that fancy, expensive piece of equipment. That cool, bright t-shirt won’t help you exercise better. Your friends likes won’t be able to lift you up, not the way that you can. What you need to do – is show up. Shut up and do you. You don’t need to look around for some one else to admire you, you don’t need someone to help you, you need to find out if you can rely on yourself to take it that one step further.

You need to walk in your own shoes. Discover the path that was meant for you. You might feel lost along the way. But I always try to remember about myself.

Built in the hills

A lifetime fighting spirit

Rises with each step

The journey of self-discovery, begins with loneliness. Loneliness quickly makes friends with your fears, desperations, anxieties, anger and frustrations. All of this head clutter, can confuse you, consume your present state of mind. You must come face to face with all these inner manifestations of emotional chaos. Look directly at them and realize that yes, they are a part of you. They are all a part of what makes you, but that’s not you. You are here. Just be you. Be you and do what you do.

There are many different types of movement, different ways of training, and much like anything else. The right training program for me isn’t necessarily the right one for you because we are all different. We all have our own preferences and abilities and we must tailor the right program that matches each individuals goals and abilities. I believe that the more you have trained your body, the more willing it is to try and learn additional tasks and skills.

When it’s just me running up in the mountains. There’s time to think, not think.

Running is tough, and running up hill is no fun. There is nowhere else to go but up. You might get some downs to buy you some time but if you’re climbing a hill or a mountain you know that there’s only way to go.

There are no other teammates to pick up the slack, no cheerleaders to boost your morale, It’s just me. No one else can do this for me, no one else can walk in my shoes. I have no one else to rely on but myself to keep moving my feet. And that’s what I’m there for. I’m there to find out that one question, how far can I go today?

It’s just me and your resolve. Your unwillingness to quit. It’s easy to quit. It’s easy to stop. Anyone can stop. I’ve stopped. Many times. Because I was tired, weak, hungry, sick, sad. But It’s ok to stop. Rest is needed. To build up the energy to push again. It gives you the space to breathe so that you can go again - you can push again. It’s not always about running non-stop. I don’t care if I stop. It’s about starting up again I want to be able to get up and get back after it. Just like rocky said “ It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!

There are so many great lessons to be learned from rocky. I take this note from David Goggins, shoutout to Goggins. The final fight scene in rocky one where rocky gets knocked down and creed has his hands up and he’s celebrating and is so excited, but when he looks down and sees that he got up he’s in shock and that is the final mental blow that sets him up for defeat. that’s why I come out here. Because no one else is here. I give myself opportunities to rely on myself to prove to myself that I can overcome and I can achieve and succeed. And that’s what we all need more of. We could all use some mental strengthening, some confidence building, some strength building.

You need to find out if you can rely on yourself to take it that one step further.

You need to be able to walk in your own shoes and to be able to discover the path that was meant for you. And somewhere along the way you may feel lost, hopeless, confused, alone.

5am is my time. It’s time for Justin. Time where I get to pay myself respect. I get to be grateful that I have the courage and the discipline to thank my body every morning, because I know it is with my body and my will power and with these steps that will prepare me for the times when it gets hard. when I don’t want to do it, when I feel hopeless and just feel like quitting. The times when I feel like giving up.

I can pull from these daily reminders. I can withdraw from my hard times vault and remember that I paid today. And the day before that. I’ve deposited for many years before this, so I know that I’ve got the credit. And I am ready.

You have to take the time to invest in yourself.

Just like David Goggins said. You will have a bank vault in your head filled with all of these grind it out deposits. You will now have a stash of memories that you can pull from to use as reminders that you can bring it together, you can pull yourself up, you shall prevail.

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