Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No Pain-No Gain?

This is a saying that is heard often in gyms and other types of training halls. I would like to say that its quite inaccurate. If you are experiencing pain, its very unlikely you will continue training to make gains. Pain at its very basic level is your body signalling that there is something wrong or that it has suffered some type of trauma. The distinction I want to make here is that there is a marked difference between pain and discomfort. In addition every persons pain threshold is different.
When we are referring to making gains (i.e. growing stronger, moving more weight, being more flexible, adding muscle, greater cardiovascular capacity) there will be times when we will experience discomfort. The body being the amazing adaptive machine that it is, requires us to stress and push it if we want to make significant gains in certain areas. What we may consider to be pain may only be discomfort. When I train students, I always tell them, pain usually stops you in your tracks, while discomfort, allows you to work through it.
This is not to say that you cant train while in pain, and certain situations may require you to work through the pain. These occurrences however are not the norm and you should listen to your body if you are in pain.
Discomfort on the other hand should never stop us. If we let it, we will find ourselves making excuses at every turn because we are no longer in what we may consider our "comfort zone". This not only applies to training, but to life. You will never have any gains as long as you remain in your comfort zone. In order to grow you have to stretch yourself, try new things and be willing to risk the comfort.
Any new endeavor will have moments of discomfort, that is when you are growing. Any training regimen contains moments of discomfort, if you are not willing to work through them you will not see the gains on the other side.
Ultimately the decision is ours to make. Are we willing to be uncomfortable in order to grow and make gains in every part of our lives, or will we strive to remain in our comfort zones- comfortably stagnant?
Sensei Orlando
strong spirit-strong mind-strong body

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Circular vs Linear

Life is a circle. The fastest way between two points is a straight line. I'm sure all of us have heard one or both of these sayings. In martial arts many styles are defined by the way you attack or defend. Aikido for example is considered a circular art, redirecting attacks and using an opponents energy against them. Karate, and styles like it are linear going directly to the opponent in the fastest way possible. Many times in life we encounter situations that may be resolved with a linear approach, but require us to be circular. Sometimes it seems that being circular, taking the longer route, is less efficient.

While I'm all in favor for direct approaches there have been many times in my life where I have had to take the longer path because it was required of me or because there were things I needed to learn. Let me apply this to being fit. Many of us, on day one of our workout routine are excited to begin, we start with the knowledge that it will take some time to get to our goals. After some time though, about a month to three months we get disenchanted with the circular path of being fit. We want a direct path, maybe even resorting to drastic measures like fasting or trying whatever product is the fad now to get you the body you want in just a few short weeks. What we don't realize is that in this case the circular path is the most direct path.

In life sometimes the path of taking shortcuts can turn out to be longer in the end. We pride ourselves in being in a society that is overwhelmingly fast. We have fast food, fast service, and everything must occur yesterday.

I encourage you to slow down and appreciate those things that take longer to achieve, when we focus on the journey and not just the goals we find that its the journey that makes it all worthwhile, even while achieving our goals.

Sensei Orlando
strong spirit-strong mind-strong body

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Power of Intention- Mind Over Body

The subject of the power of intention has received much attention as of late. I would like to suggest that this is not a "new " trend, but something that has existed as long as humans have been on this planet.
It was brought to my attention many years ago that everything you can see, touch or feel was once an idea in someones head. Obviously this points to man made objects not nature. That being the case its quite a profound thought if you take a moment to ponder it. Where ever you are if you look around you will see things that were in some one's head. If you are sitting on a chair while you do this, the very chair you are sitting on was once an idea. The ramifications of this thought process is that we exist within a world of ideas, some in a gestational stage and some fully developed and still some evolving and ever changing. How is this applicable to how you train? If you have goals as something to strive for(being fit , stronger, ripped, more flexible, whatever the case may be) the goals that are attained are the end result, and the genesis of these results have to be your thoughts, your ideas.

Everything we do begins and ends in our heads. Sometimes we may talk much but do little. We can be full of great ideas but if they are not acted upon, they remain ideas. I also believe that if you sit on a great idea for too long, it occurs to someone else who will act on it and then you can be one of those people who can say " I had that same idea!" The only difference being that you chose not to act on the idea you had.
One example that I deal with on regular basis is in my own training. I have found that if I quit in my head, my intention being that one more set is too much or I'm too tired or its too early (fill in the excuse) what occurs is that my body follows suit and shuts down. The power of intention is so powerful that whatever you give voice to (even in your head) comes to pass in your life. This means that the thoughts we have need to be empowering ones, thoughts and ideas that further us along our goals in our lives.

May all your thoughts be powerful and full of greatness!

Sensei Orlando
strong spirit-strong mind-strong body