This is a terrific message to share during National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Sometimes we don’t realize that the bully bullies others because they are hurting. We could make significant progress in reducing the number of kids being bullied if we could get more of the kids who are doing the bullying involved in our martial arts program. Take a minute and watch this video and see if you agree. https://youtu.be/8mmIu5IZmvE
Note: These girls are ACTORS. They are young poets from the amazing LA organization GetLit.org. They are reciting a POEM that was written by poet Gina Loring.
If you would like to learn more about how we develop confident kids with respect for self and others please visit us at www.philross.com.
How to Improve your Reaction Time:
Quickness, speed and lightning-like reflexes are often terms used to describe the instantaneous response of an athlete in action. People are in awe and marvel at the seemingly instant reaction and fluid movement of certain athletes. This is a phenomenon that has been termed instinctive technique or IT (Ross, 2016). As a lifelong martial artist the reduction of reaction times has been a deep concern of mine. In competition, you may gain or prevent a score or secure an advantage; but in a self defense situation, the result may be whether or not you survive the encounter. It is a given that action is faster than reaction. So how does an athlete compensate for this? How does one develop the ability to overcome this obstacle? The most effective manner is through reduced reaction time (RT) and economy of motion. The reduction of RT is best accomplished through a combination of movement selection reduction and the repetition of gross motor skills. Finite, complicated movements add time and variables which hamper performance.
Reaction time (RT) is comprised of three basic components: stimulus identification, response selection and response programming. The variables that affect time required for stimulus identification recognition are dependant upon the stimulus clarity, intensity and the whether the stimulus is visual, tactile auditory or a combination. Visual stimuli are the slowest and combined stimuli shorten the overall RT (Schmidt & Lee, 2011). Other factors such as pattern recognition shorten RT and reduce spatial trajectories. Practice and skill acquisition shorten response times and also aid in the response selection (Georgopoulos, Kalaska, & Massey, 1981), (Schmidt & Lee, 2011). The smaller the stimulus response selection the less time it will take to respond. According to the cognitive psychologist, George A. Miller, the magical number seven, plus or minus two, is a key concept. Miller’s Law asserts that humans can only hold seven objects, plus or minus two, in their working memory (Miller, 1956). So if we were to apply this notion to our practice, we’d be able to narrow the response selection, thus enabling us to reduce our overall RT. There are many aspects that affect response programming, age, movement complexity, duration of the movement, required accuracy and training, otherwise known as practice (Schmidt & Lee, 2011). In an effort to reduce RT, we would need to employ simple movements, limit the duration of the activity, and lessen the accuracy requirement as well as practice. Repeated gross motor movements reinforce these patterns.
The martial art of Bando’s core weapon is a short, curved sword called a Kukri. This is the choice weapon and tool of the Gurkha soldiers of Nepal. The Bando recitation regarding the use of the weapon goes, “Practice draws, cuts and blocks. Practice steps, turns and locks, until sword frees from thought” (Ross, 2016). There is also a well known proverb by the great Bruce Lee, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times” (Ross, 2016). Martial artists, warriors, athletes, coaches, musicians, etc... all know that practice shortens the RT. In the Bando passage, the Gurkha must practice so pointed and often, that the movement of the sword is no longer in the conscious mind, but ingrained into the subconscious. There is no time to think, only react. It is not surprising to learn that Bando is based on the principles of 9’s, making the premise of the training congruent with Miller’s Law. Consider the proverb by Bruce Lee; practicing a kick 10,000 times will create muscle memory and enable the practitioner to execute the technique without hesitation or thought. When the martial artist is trained at this level, IT takes over. The axioms espoused by martial artists for decades and even centuries are proven through the experiments conducted by scientists of current times as well as the previous century. How do we leverage the combined knowledge of the science today with the proven training methods of the martial arts masters from centuries ago to aid us in reducing RT?
The factors that reduce RT are practice and simplicity of movement. Gross motor skills are far superior to finite, complicated skills, especially in a stressful situation. The human mind and body will only be able to recall the “Magic number 7, +/- 2” in response to the stimuli. There are other contributing elements such as the release of adrenaline and noradrenalin (aka: epinephrine and norepinephrine, respectively) that heighten the senses, increase the heart rate and cause tunnel vision. All of these factors contribute to increasing the RT, but proper practice and focusing on a limited amount of potential responses during that practice lessen the effects of the hormonal release.
All humans are subject to stimulus identification, response selection and response programming when faced with responding to an occurrence requiring a response. How we minimize our overall RT is dependent not only on practicing the skill but on how the skill is practiced. The choices of responses practiced greatly influence the speed and effectiveness of the response.
Georgopoulos, A. P., Kalaska, J. F, & Massey, J. T. (Oct. 1981). Spatial trajectories and reaction times of aimed movements: Effects of practice, uncertainty, and change in target location. Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 46, no. 4.
Miller, G. A. (1956). The magic number seven, plus or minus two:Some limits on our capacity for processing information. The Psychological Review, vol. 63, pp. 81-97.
Ross, P. (2016). Survival strong: A guide to street survival and strength. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris.
Schmidt, R. A., & Lee, T. D. (2011). Motor control and learning: A behavioral emphasis (5th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
October is National Bully Prevention Month. Here are a few simple strategies that you can do to help reduce the chances of your child being bullied. We like to use the acronym; H.E.L.P.
The “H” means to “Have a plan”. Unfortunately, bullying is rampart in our society. Statistics tell us that 1 in 4 kids are bullied. There are 160,000 kids that miss school every day because of bullying. And 86% of the kids that are bullied say that it interferes with their school work. Bullying is NOT okay.
Here's a short story about a father and son who were doing some chores around the house when the father got called into work. He asked the son to finish stacking some wood and he would return ASAP.
When the father returned after a couple of hours, he found the son trying to put the last pieces of wood on top of the pile. But the logs were so heavy, the boy couldn’t get the wood on top. The boy tried and tried, but the wood was too heavy.
Finally, the dad said; “son, you’re not using all your strength.” In an exhausted state, the boy said; “Dad, I’m trying as much as I can.” The Dad replied; “that’s not what I said. I said you’re not using all your strength…. because I would help you if you asked me to.”.
Bullying is a serious thing and it hurts people’s feelings and makes them feel badly about themselves. I want you to always remember, if you get bullied, I want you to always reach out and ask for help. You’re not in this alone. You have strength outside yourself.
You can learn more about how martial arts lessons can help your child to become bully proof by visiting us at www.philross.com.
How Did Conor Lose?
Many of us watched, followed or at least heard of the “Fight of the Century” between Mixed Martial Artist, Dual Weight Class UFC World Champion Conor “The Notorious One” McGregor and arguably the best defensive boxer and multiple time, undefeated, undisputed World Champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. The highly touted combatants engaged in months and months of hype prior to the fight. Verbally assaulting each other at every chance and creating a great deal of both interest and speculation. People who never had any interest in fighting of any sort were coming up to me and asking my opinion of what I thought would happen. And what occurred was pretty close to my prediction, except Conor, lasted a few rounds longer than I thought he would.
Did the event live up to the hype? To be fair, Conor McGregor with a 0-0 professional boxing career and not one amatuer boxing match on his record stepped into the ring with a master of his craft, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. To McGregor’s credit, he hit Floyd 111 times and had a striking percentage of 26%, that was a 31 more total strikes and a full 7% higher striking percentage than multiple time World Boxing Champion Manny Pacquiao. That’s pretty darn impressive for a rank amatuer boxer. Floyd did what he did best, as he had done 49 times prior in his professional career - win. He won with a flawless game plan, incredible conditioning, extreme professionalism and clearly showed that he is a master boxer.
But could Conor have defeated all of the odds and won?
My answer is “Yes”. OK, I realize that it’s a fairly bold statement, but I’ll harken back to the conversation I had with our studio’s boxing coach after the fight. Two Time North American Boxing Champ Joe Rubino and I had a discussion that Conor gassed out and lost the fight. You should never lose a fight due to fatigue. You either didn’t train hard enough or you trained incorrectly. While some may argue that Floyd knew where to rest and take his breaks during the bout, and Conor didn’t have that experience, he could have trained better and more effectively to last and have some knockout power on reserve for the later rounds. There are nutritional considerations here and from what I understand, Conor’s post fight consumption of food leaves a lot to be desired. His diet should consist of foods that will serve to replenish, refuel and store energy for the later rounds. This did not occur, to the best of my knowledge, but I’m not here to discuss his nutrition, our focus will be on his training regimen leading up to the epic battle.
Conor revealed that he was doing “roadwork” on and underwater treadmill. It’s a known fact that Conor has had knee and other joint issues, so participating in some meaningful roadwork, intervals, hill sprints and the like were not a consideration. We must also look at Conor McGregor’s fight record. Out of 24 professional fights, only two have gone to decision and only one of them was a five round fight, his second with Nate Diaz. In round 4 of that fight, he looked very bad, but rallied in round 5 to secure the unanimous decision. All of his other fights ended via stoppage in two rounds or less. At round 9 in his boxing match, he’d already been out there 27 minutes, 2 minutes longer than he had ever fought. Contrast that with Floyd’s going all 12 rounds in every but two matches in the past decade. Conor should have been better prepared to enter into the “uncharted waters”.
What could he have done?
Knowing that the potential of fighting for 36 minutes was a reality and that interval roadwork was out of the question and getting “arm weary” as he did, was a concern Conor’s fight camp should have employed some other tactics. First of all, if he were training for a 36 minute bout, accessing the proper energy systems and conditioning them are a must. The phosphagen system is the first to be depleted and is gone in round one. His training should have had him toggling between the anaerobic glycolysis and aerobic phases. Additionally, his body should have been conditioned to enter into the Cori Cycle, which is a phenomenon where the lactate produced in enters into gluconeogenesis and is converted into glucose in the liver and pumped back into the bloodstream for energy. In an episode of Fight Science, UFC Hall of Famer Randy Courture astounded scientists with his ability to actually reduce the amount of lactic acid in his bloodstream the longer he grappled! This was due to a training regimen that conditioned his body to respond in this fashion.
As Conor’s fight camp progressed, starting at week eight, I would have had him build to 24 rounds on the heavy bag after his sparring sessions. If a fighter is slated to go for 12 rounds, prepare for 24. I also would have had him skipping rope for at least 50 minutes in a row. When I was competing, I used to do 32 minutes at a clip and I only fought 6 rounds at the most. Plus, I was doing my roadwark. In lieu of building his muscular endurance with interval running, I would have had him use Kettlebells. The raw strength aspect should have been addressed as one of the building blocks in his “out of fight camp” strength and conditioning. But in a fight camp, we would employ a regimen of swings, punch swings, snatches, squats, presses, rows, cleans and get-ups. We would also mix in a fair amount of bodyweight exercises of push-ups, pull-ups, handstands, hanging abdominals, dips, squats, lunges and bridge work. Due to the often “unbalanced” nature of combat sports, I would employ single side work and offset work. The single side exercises are movement conducted with one side of the body only and the offset versions have two kettlebells of different weight being used simultaneously. My focus for Conor’s Kettlebell work would have been to challenge and develop his system with a combination of Ladders, Tabata’s, Scrambled Eggs and the Warrior’s Challenge. Incidentally, all training sessions begin with skipping rope, generally for 500 to 1000 skips.
Ladders: The Ladder training would have helped him keep and ultimately increase his during the round. I would have used Ladders starting with one repetition each side and increasing by one rep all the way up to 10. The next set, beginning at one again. We wouldn’t go back down the ladder, the end of the set should be the hardest.
Tabata’s: The credit goes to Japanese physician and researcher Doctor Izumi Tabata for developing this method of training. The method features 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. Select three to five movements that make sense and do sufficient rounds to encompass 12 to 20 minutes of work. An example of this would be Snatch Right, Snatch Left, Bottoms-up Squat, Two Hand Swing and Dual Kettlebell Press. Perform this for 5 to 8 rounds and this is preceded by 3 rounds of six bodyweight exercises.
Scrambled Eggs: After a solid warm up and either several round of calisthenics or mobility with and without a kettlebell, we select 8 exercises and work for 4 to 5 rounds. These may either be timed at 30 to 60 seconds each or done with specific number of repetitions per exercise for the duration. There is no rest. Move from one exercise to the next either at the beep or when the timer beeps. The muscular and cardiovascular systems are simultaneously challenged.
Warrior’s Challenge: This is routine that consists of a solid warm-up and mobility segment very similar to what we’d do prior to the Scrambled Eggs, but not as long as the one for the Tabata. The Warriors challenge consists of 8 exercises, for 4 to 5 rounds with 30 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest. Dr. Tabata can’t take the heat for coming up with this one, feel free to blame me. Although I’m certain that other fight trainer use a similar format. My wrestlers and fighters were doing these before I even knew who Dr. Tabata was! The major difference with this method and the Tabata is that the athlete can do the workout longer and with a heavier load. The additional 5 seconds of rest enables just enough more of a recovery time to push harder and last longer. Plus, Conor needed to be prepared for 36 minutes, so the 5 rounds would have had him moving for 30 minutes non-stop for a 5 round session.
My whole game plan for Conor would have been to challenge his energy systems with intervals and circuits leveraging the muscular endurance and explosive power developed by high repetition calisthenics, plyometrics and the ballistic as well as high repetition kettlebell movements. Conor needed reserve to win his bout with Floyd and it was quite evident that he didn’t have it and it cost him the victory in the later rounds. I wonder how many times, if at all, Conor was so challenged that he “saw the devil” in his strength and conditioning sessions. Did he know that his endurance would wain so maybe he trained like he was convinced that he could only win the fight if it were in the first few rounds? We may never know the answer, but if his fight camp consisted of the aforementioned elements, maybe he would have fared better and shocked the world with a victory over Floyd.
Author: Phil Ross, Master RKC, 8th Degree Black Belt, PCC, ACE Certified and Registered IBJJF Black Belt. Adjunct Professor and former UFC Coach. Author of Ferocious Fitness and Survival Strong
Brown, Luke. August 8, 2017. Revealed: Why Conor McGregor has been using an underwater treadmill to prepare for fight with Floyd Mayweather. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/boxing/mayweather-mcgregor/conor-mcgregor-training-camp-floyd-mayweather-live-fight-exclusive-interview-hydroworx-a7878186.html
Bryant, Cedric X. Green, Daniel J. 2010, 2011, 2012. Pages 222-223. ACE’s Essentials of Exercise Science for Fitness Professionals. Library of Congress: 200911191. ISBN 9781890720315.
Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.
Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.
Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.
He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently
waited, wondering what he was doing.
After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl.
He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”
“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.
“Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her
to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.
“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling
However, each one reacted differently.
The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.
The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.
However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.
“Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean? “
Moral:In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us.
Which one are you?
If you enjoyed this message please take a moment to share it! If you're interest in learning more about us please visit us at www.philross.com or message us on Facebook!
When you Google Indomitable Spirit, here is what comes up….
“People described as having an indomitable spirit don't need pep talks or protein shakes; their strength comes from within. The adjective indomitable starts with the Latin prefix in, which means "not." The second part of the word is also from the Latin word domitare, meaning ‘to tame’.”
Russell Redenbaugh was building a model rocket in his garage when he was 16 years old. The rocket went off accidentally leaving him totally blind and with permanent damage to both hands (he lost 6 fingers).
He was determined to not live the life as a typical handicap person. He shifted his focus to action. He focused on what he could do, and not what he couldn’t. Despite being rejected by Stanford and Harvard, he went on to earn an MBA from the Wharton School in the University of Pennsylvania.
At the age of fifty, Redenbaugh started training in the martial arts. As a blind person missing fingers, he won several competitions in 2003, 2004 and 2005. In 2010, Redenbaugh earned the rank of black belt.
Today he is an ultra-successful economist, investor, and inspirational speaker.
Russell wrote a book entitled, “Shift the Narrative: A Blind Man’s Vision for Rewriting the Stories that Limit Us”
Check out his TED Talk here: https://youtu.be/AOOc3VO_Gyg
Mens sana in corpore sano is a Latin phrase, translated as "a healthy mind in a healthy body". Another translation is “A sound mind in a sound body”. This is an adage promoted by the ancient Greeks and Romans centuries ago and current scientific evidence points toward this statement as being true. If we consider that regular bouts of exercise increase our blood flow and spur the body to create more capillaries to expand the circulatory system and increase the footprint of the reach of our total cardiovascular system. These benefits are undeniable. (Green & Daniel, 2014) Regular exercise contributes to brain growth factors. The data demonstrates that cognition, neurogenesis and vascular functions are all improved. (Powers & Howley, 2015) If we consider the hippocampus and brain structure, a steady exercise regimen has increased not only neurogenesis but angiogenesis. The incident of inflammation is also reduced by the central nervous system which leads to improved growth factor signaling. (Cotman, Berchtold & Christie, 2007)
Physical health and brain stimulation are not the only aspects of well being that benefit from regular exercise. When an individual exercises, the release of endorphins, the natural opiates produced in the pituitary gland of the brain, act to reduce pain and elevate mood. (Green, 2014) The term “runner’s high” resulted from the euphoric state that runners get when these endorphins are released. “And a lot of what we do know about exercise is gleaned from animal studies. But one potential cause that seems especially promising is related to neurogenesis, or the growth of new neurons in the brain, says Dr. Trivedi.” (Scobba, 2014) Even though the exact contributing factor is unknown, people that exercise tend to avoid depression in the first place and use exercise as a means to combat it as opposed to reliance on side effect laden pharmaceuticals. The post training physical and mental state is one that fitness enthusiasts crave and strive to achieve on a regular basis.
As people age, the benefits of physical fitness help to keep the brain stimulated and helps reduce and/or stave off the effects of Alzheimer’s, depression and lessen the severity of strokes and other types of brain injuries. People in good physical condition also require shorter recovery periods if and when illness occurs. In the case of the Mind-Body exercise of Tai Chi and Hatha Yoga, the combination of breathing, weight shifting and memorization of movement has multiple beneficial effects upon the physical, emotional and even spiritual well being of the participant. (Bryant & Green, 2012)
The relationship between force and speed is often misinterpreted.
FORCE: Strength or energy as an attribute of physical action or movement.
SPEED: The rate at which someone or something is able to move or operate.
Force and speed in regard to muscular contraction are primarily generated by Type llx muscle fibers, due the necessity of rapid excitation to generate the aforementioned fiber type. This occurs in the fast fibers because the sarcoplasmic reticulum in the fast fibers releases calcium at a faster rate. It’s also important to note that the fast fibers have a higher ATPase activity than that of the slow twitch fibers. The pulling of actin over the myosin molecule results in the shortening of the muscle (contraction) and thus generates force. The number and size of the motor units recruited are the main components that determine the force of a muscle contraction. The larger the motor unit the greater the potential force. The initial muscle fiber length plays a big role as well. There is an optimum length for a muscle fiber as it relates to the overlap of actin and myosin. If at rest the fiber is too long, the overlap between actin and myosin are limited and therefore there are less cross-bridges are able to attach. (Powers & Howley, 2015, pgs. 178, 179) Liken this to a fighter. There is an optimal size and weight for a fighter where force and speed maximize power. If this were not the case, then the largest person would be the best fighter. History has proven this not to be true. The proper mix of size and speed produce the best fighter.
Speed is also a function of the fast twitch muscle fibers. During high velocity movement, the actin-myosin filaments move past each other at a very fast rate. This lowers the number of cross-bridges that can be made, thus decreasing potential force. Fighters and punching power comes to mind. Faster striking does not necessarily yield more power. Yes, speed does add to power up to a certain point, but at some point, the speed of the punch diminishes the power of the strike. A fighter will use the quicker jab technique to set up the slower, more powerful cross in hopes of landing the knockout blow. Yes, the jab is faster, but not as powerful. Even though power equals force plus speed (velocity), to reach optimal power, there must be a balance. At some point, the peak force of a muscular contraction will be diminished as speed is increased. (Powers & Howley, 2015, pg. 181)
Control of heart rate and stroke volume are tantamount to body to maintain homeostasis and or achieve steady state during exercise. This is a fairly complex and involved task. Cardiac output is a function of heart rate multiplied by stroke volume or Q = HR x SV. Heart rate is regulated by the autonomic nervous system via a negative feedback loop garnering the information from the body’s increased demand of oxygen for the skeletal muscles. The parasympathetic system receives direction from the medulla oblongata to release acetylcholine that causes a decrease in activity of the SA and Av nodes. The heart rate is then lowered. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the increase in heart rate through the cardiac accelerator nerves. The fibers release norepinephrine and act upon the beta receptors. The system receives and interprets impulses from various parts of the circulatory system to accommodate changes in the specific parameters. (Powers & Howley, 2015, pg. 199)
Stroke volume is regulated by EDV (End Diastolic Volume), aortic blood pressure and the strength of ventricular contraction. An increase in aortic pressure results in a decrease in stroke volume, resulting in an inverse relationship. Another contributing factor to stroke volume is the release of nephrine and norepinephrine as inspired by the sympathetic nervous system. Other factors that regulate stroke volume during exercise are the venoconstriction that increases venous return, movement of the blood toward the heart from contraction of the skeletal muscles and increased depth of breath by the mechanical action of the respiratory pump. (Powers & Howley, 2015, pg. 200, 201)
The notion of a central command and the workings as described refer initiation via a motor signal developed within the higher levels of the brain. Although only theoretical at this point, the processes employed are based in sound science. This signal from the brain is created to drive motor signals. This signal is generated in less than once second and goes both directly to the skeletal muscle and to the cardiovascular control center that in turn forwards signals to the heart and blood vessels. The CV center also receives input from the pressure sensitive baroreceptors and the chemoreceptors as well as the mechanoreceptors of the skeletal muscle resulting in a finely tuned feedback system. What is originally initiated by the higher brain function in response to exercise is then manifested into a negative feedback system to control the function of the body in response to exercise.
Despite all of the studies and knowledge that has been garnered regarding human physiology in the past few centuries, there is still much to be learned. The advancements in training protocols, nutrition, discovery of new neural pathways and how to harness the power potential of humans in my estimation, is unlimited. Every year seems to shed light on a new subject to improve and enhance performance and health. It’s a great time to be in this field!
Bryant, Cedric X., Ph.D., FASM and Green, Daniel J. Essentials of Exercise Science for Fitness Professionals. (2010, 2011, 2012) American Council on Exercise. ISBN 9781890720315. 4851 Paramount Drive, San Diego, CA, 92123
Cotman, Carl W., Berchtold, Nicole C. and Christie, Lori-Ann. Exercise builds brain health: key roles in growth factor cascades and inflammation. TRENDS in
Neurosciences Vol.30 No.9. August 31, 2007.
Definitions of Force and Speed paraphrased from these sources:
Green , Daniel J., Project Editor. ACE, American Council on Exercise (2014). ISBN 978-1-890720-50-6. American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer Manual, Fifth Edition.
Powers, Scott K., and Howley, Edward T. Exercise Physiology, Theory of Application and Performance. 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2015.
Scobba, Christa. Does Exercise Really Fight Depression? Men’s Health.
http://www.menshealth.com/health/how-exercise-fights-depression October 29, 2014
There are wide arrays of health concerns facing our ever changing and continually aging population. The recent trends over the past three to four decades have witnessed us experiencing increased obesity rates, an aging population and only approximately 1/5th of Americans meeting the recommended daily exercise requirements (Green, 2015). However, all is not lost. A great deal of research and concerned health and fitness professionals and scientists are bringing to light the mounting issues and the ramifications of living an unhealthy lifestyle. Our health is not only affected, but an unhealthy population is a financial drain upon society. In 2015, studies demonstrated that there was a decline in new diabetes case and smoking has dropped over 20% in the last decade (Carroll, 2016). All of the news about our health is not all “doom and gloom” and it appears as if we’re going in the right direction, but we still have a great deal of work to do.
Is a sedentary lifestyle the new smoking? The most recent data certainly validates the relevancy of this question. According to the most recent studies, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the leading factors contributing to Coronary Heart Disease, CHD. As with smokers, physically inactive people are twice as likely to develop CHD (Powers, Howley, 2015, pg. 316). Smoking, inactivity and poor nutrition are the leading causes of CHD as far as the behavioral contributing risk factors are concerned. This should come as no surprise. If we consider how human beings evolved and what we were best designed for compared to the current condition of most modern day homo sapiens sapiens, 68% of Americans are overweight and 37.5% are obese, we are far from the mark of the world’s best warm weather, long distance runners. Humans are weak and unathletic, when compared to the rest of the animal kingdom. We aren’t fast, can’t jump high and have no claws or do we have large fangs or venom. If we did not possess a large brain and an opposable thumb, we’d be relegated to eating fruits, vegetables and carrion and we’d be at mercy of the other more powerful, well equipped predators (Stipp, 2012). One word of caution when considering overweight percentages though, if the data is simply based on BMI (Body Mass Index), the results may be skewed due the failure of BMI to take into account muscle mass of athletes and the larger structure of some races (Green, 2014).
There are several factors that determine adherence to an exercise program. One of them is background. If an individual has been sedentary for a significant duration, they may come from one of many backgrounds. Examples may individuals who have either never worked out or they are a former athlete/exerciser that has not done so in a long time. Each situation presents its own set of challenges. For those who have never trained before, working out, becoming sore and tired is a new phenomenon. This may create a level of anxiety and if they become too sore, get blisters, perform poorly, or sustain an injury; the chances of continuance of their exercise regimen is significantly diminished. A strenuous workout routine will discourage a novice exerciser. If a deconditioned subject becomes injured, the quest for fitness will most likely end. The former exerciser that has decided to get back in shape has a far greater chance of maintaining adherence to an exercise program. The main issue concerning this population is their unrealistic memory. Their minds harken back to a time when they were strong and fit and they truly believe that they can still do what they once were able to. However, their bodies are not the same. This group of people stand a greater chance of becoming injured and must be monitored closely while exercising.
When we are considering public health concerns in regard to sedentary individuals, we must look at how to increase adherence and avoid injury. Either one of the aforementioned will end or significantly hamper the efforts of converting a sedentary individual into an avid exerciser leading a healthy lifestyle. These are some of the main reasons that small increments and achievable goals are preferable to pushing one’s self too far. Another big deterrent is perceived lack of time. It’s far easier to schedule 20 to 40 minutes bouts of exercise at a moderate pace than it is to set aside two hours of a hardcore physical session. Plus, the risk/reward equation must be taken into consideration. Another consideration is the reduction/prevention of Type 2 diabetes. Smaller duration, more numerous bouts of daily exercise are beneficial in training the body to regulate glucose and insulin balance in the muscles and blood. Many sedentary individuals are either prediabetic or are already suffering from Type 2 diabetes.
Exercise results in more lean body mass and less adipose tissue and can both serve as an appetite suppressant and/or a stimulant. The range of body fat percent is different between men and women. The American Council on Exercise recommends that men maintain between 14 to 24 percent body fat for optimal fitness and athletes and are recommended to be at 6 to 14 percent. Women should maintain between 25 to 31 percent for optimal health and 21 to 24 percent for athletes (Green, 2014).
Chart courtesy of ACE Personal Trainer Manual, 5th Edition
Exercise, especially intense bouts of resistance training, increases muscle mass and bone density. Of the five aspects of physical fitness; cardio respiratory fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition, the latter is the most physically noticeable. Exercisers receive compliments and encouragement from coworkers as their bodies take on a more fit form. Their family and friends take notice as their body morphs into a leaner more mobile version as their energy level improves. These changes also help an individual’s psyche.
Most of the information that we read pertains to losing weight. However, there is a certain portion of the population desiring accumulation of body mass. Power Lifters, Bodybuilders, Football Players, Shot Putters, etc...These athletes want to gain size. Lifting heavy weights and consuming mass quantities of food is favorable to reaching their goals, so the increased appetite from training is a positive attribute for them.
Some research suggests exercise doesn't always cause hunger but can curb it. "Exercise may lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite in the short term, while raising levels of peptide YY, a hormone that suppresses appetite," says study author David Stensel, Ph.D., reader in exercise metabolism at Loughborough University (Mickel, 2011). Exercise may initially suppress the participant’s appetite, especially after a vigorous session, due to the increased body temperature. However, as the temperature drops, the body will begin to release ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite. The important issue to concern ourselves with here is what is our goal? If the goal is to lose weight, exercise alone will not be sufficient, but it’s an important piece of the equation. The proper nutrition and caloric ingestion to expenditure must be adhered to so that goals are met and optimal health is achieved.
Muscular metabolism increases 5 to 15 times of the resting rate to provide the energy to for skeletal muscles to contract and depending upon the type and intensity of the exercise, 70 to 100 percent is released through heat (Swaka, et al, 1993). If the athlete has acquired sufficient heat acclimatization, their responses to the hot and humid environments are more favorable than those not accustomed to the aforementioned conditions. The same acclimatization effects are noted with respect to altitude. Considering that V02 Max decreases approximately 2.6% for every 1000 feet above 3200 feet, the amount of available oxygen is less and the cardiovascular system must work much harder for the same workload at lower altitudes (Levine, 2002). If a fighter has a bout scheduled in a high altitude arena, their trainers will move the training camp to the high altitude location several weeks prior to the event to help offset these effects.
The human body is a complex machine that requires constant monitoring, exercise and proper nutrition to maintain optimal health. Even with all of these requirements, it’s a miraculous organism that has great adaptability and ability to cope with adverse conditions.
Bryant, Cedric X., Ph.D., FASM and Green, Daniel J. Essentials of Exercise Science for Fitness Professionals. (2010, 2011, 2012) American Council on Exercise. ISBN 9781890720315. 4851 Paramount Drive, San Diego, CA, 92123
Carroll, Linda. January 2, 2016. 2016: The year americans get serious about getting healthy?
Green , Daniel J., Project Editor. ACE, American Council on Exercise. 2014. ISBN 978-1-890720-50-6. American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer Manual, Fifth Edition.
Hagobian, Todd A.. Braun, Barry. 2010. Physical Activity and hormonal regulation of appetite: Sex differences and weight control.
Mickel, Kelly. October 12, 2011. The truth about exercise and diet. Self. http://www.self.com/story/exercise-and-appetite.
Nall, Rachel. September 14, 2010. Does Exercise Increase the Appetite? Livestrong.com. http://www.livestrong.com/article/244704-does-exercise-increase-the-appetite/
Powell, Alvin. April 19, 2007. Humans, hot, sweaty, natural born runners. Harvard Gazette.
Powers, Scott K., and Howley, Edward T. 2015. Exercise Physiology, Theory of Application and Performance. 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Sawka, Michael., Wenger, Bruce., Young, Andrew J., and Pandolf, Kent B. 1993. Nutritional Needs in Hot Environments: Applications for Military Personnel in Field Operations.
Stipp, David. June 4, 2012. All men can’t jump.
Strength, in certain movements eludes many of us. How do we harness this power? By Greasing the Grove
Greasing the Grove: How to Dramatically Increase Strength
Strength, in certain movements eludes many of us. How do we harness this power? By Greasing the Grove - according to Pavel Tsatsouline, the father of modern day Kettlebell Training and Strength Development. It’s a very simple and pointed notion, yet requires great discipline. You have to re-tool your thinking from simply working out to practicing strength.
If you desire to get better at a specific exercise, you will need to practice it throughout the day. Do not do your sets to failure, rather focus on doing 50 to 60% of your maximum. For example, if you would like to increase your push-ups and you max out at 50, do sets of 25 or 30 reps 4 to 5 times throughout the day. You may want to vary the routine by performing 5 to 10 repetitions very slowly or a combination of the two.
Only focus on one to two exercises for 4 to 6 weeks. I recently underwent neck surgery and was unable to do much. I started doing 10 push-ups several times during the day. Within 6 weeks I was up to doing five, one armed push-ups! Now I am able to do pull-ups, so I am doing 5 pull-ups and 1 pistol (one legged squat) at a time. I’m doing this 5 to 6 times a day.
Why does this work? Shouldn’t we train to failure and then recover and get stronger that way? ABSOLUTELY NOT! You increase your strength due to synaptic facilitation. By utilizing a relatively intense stimulation repeated frequently at full strength, increases the strength of the synaptic connections. In other words, more boost will be given to the muscle when performing a given exercise and the muscle will have learned to make a harder contraction and yield more strength.
You may do the same with weights. If you are able to perform a maximum dead lift of 400, do sets of 3 to 6 reps of 250. Do it 4 to 6 times a day. I have a friend of mine who increased his already respectable bench press by more than 75 pounds in 4 weeks! He was bench pressing 425 and started “Greasing the Groove” by doing 3 repetitions of 315 4 to 6 times a day 4 days per week. His bench press went through the roof in 1 month & he broke the 500 pound mark!
Get free real-time news alerts from theRidgewood-Glen Rock Patch.
Pick an exercise, do it frequently 4 to 6 times a day and keep it up for 6 weeks and see how you improve. You will be astonished. Let me know your results.
Strength and Honor
Updated March 19, 2012 9:21 pm ET
John McEnroe is known as one of the best tennis players in history. He won 77 singles titles, 78 doubles titles, and 7 major titles (4 US Open and 3 Wimbledon).
He was not only known as an incredible tennis player. He was infamous for his temper tantrums on the court that often landed him in trouble with umpires and tennis authorities.
In 1984 McEnroe was playing a match in Stockholm, Sweden he argued with an umpire over a call then got so angry with the umpire’s call, he grabbed a tennis ball and hit it into the crowd. Still angry with the umpire, he walked off the court and smashed a chair and table with his tennis racquet.
While McEnroe was one of the best players in history, his temper cost him many matches, titles, and money over the years. Not to mention, he made himself look ridiculous on many occasions.
We all get angry from time to time. We can’t control what happens in the world. We can’t control what other people say or do, however we can control how we respond to it.
Surely, in the moment it is hard. Sometimes the best answer is to walk away, take a few deep breaths and regain your composure.
Black Belt Champions are not perfect however the true mark of true martial arts practitioner is one that can apply the lessons learned on the mat and remember to put them to use off the mat!
We have all said things in a moment of anger that we later regretted. The problem is even after an apology, you can’t take those words back. They are out there and most people won’t forget what was said.
Here’s an idea. Learn to turn frustration into fascination. Instead of being angry and frustrated at what someone says or does, learn to become fascinated at their actions and thought process. Become fascinated by their point of view.
Does it work every time? No! Nothing works all the time; however, it does work a lot of the time and this little trick can save you from saying and doing things you may later regret.
To learn more about us please visit us at www.philross.com.