30 Days to Feeling Fit

I saw this video about a group of Arbonne consultants trying the “30 Days to Fit” challenge. You know what I’ve always hated about these types of commercials? It’s that the people never really seem to be all that healthy. Naturally you want to show people having dramatic improvements while trying the product because companies want to show that their product will work for you, right?

Well, I always wondered what would happen if a “regular” person were to actually try this product and show everything that they are actually doing for 30 days.

Since no one is naturally going to just volunteer to try this 30 Days to Fit challenge, I guess that I have to volunteer myself to be the guinea pig. I am hoping that my mom will also be on board with me for the next 30 days. In addition to trying out these Arbonne products, we will also do the Tai Cheng workout series.

Tomorrow, I am going to present my kettlebell class with a 1 month challenge, which will also be part of my “30 Days to Fit.” We will do 100 pushups and 100 bodyweight squats every day for the month of September. These will not be full pushups, or squats, though. I am a big fan of “Convict Conditioning,” so all of our pushups will be wall-pushups as well as chair squats.

The reason we will be doing wall pushups and chair squats is more to develop the tendons and ligaments more so than developing the prime movers. This is the genius of “Convict Conditioning”– the easier exercises build the tendons and joints so that one is later able to do the harder levels without risk of injury.

Overall I feel that not enough people spend time on corrective exercise– working the joints through the full range of motion; strengthening the ligaments and tendons; and actually doing things to bullet-proof those joints. I am hoping to try a new challenge in October after spending a month improving my mobility and dynamic motion with Tai Cheng, bullet-proofing my knees, shoulders, hips, and elbows with these corrective pushups and squat exercises, and monitoring my diet and supplement intake with Arbonne’s Essential supplement products.

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On Teaching Taijiquan

Yesterday I taught the first Taiji class held at the Donelson-Hermitage YMCA. For me it was my first and only class. I resigned from my position there earlier this month. My friend Anthony, who studied ILC with Sigung in NY before moving down here to Nashville, will be teaching the CMC 37 movement form in my place. Since I have no idea what Anthony intends to teach (I don’t know the CMC form) I told them (the class) that it would be an introduction to Taijiquan.

I took the class through some quick joint mobility drills, and a few of the warmup exercises taught by Dr. Mark Cheng in the Tai Cheng workout videos. I taught some basics about wuji standing as well as a Taiji qigong set that is very similar to 8 Pieces of Brocade.

The class really enjoyed my style of teaching. To be honest, I really enjoyed teaching the class. Many of the questions I was asked required me to draw on things that my Sifu has taught me. One woman closed her eyes and said that she felt very light during the 5 minutes of Wuji standing. Another woman told me that she felt very heavy and kept asking about putting more or less weight on her knees.

I did not want to deal with many metaphysical concepts or overuse terms like yin and yang too much. I pointed to the lights, and explained that there is a positive and a negative lead. In order to complete the circuit, there has to be an even flow of electricity. If there is too much on the negative lead, the bulb may not give off any light; if there is too much on the positive lead, the filament in the bulb is going to burn out too fast.

Relating this example back to both questions (which lucky for me were asked in succession!) I told them that one is too positive, the other is too negative. They both asked “so did I do it wrong?” I said no, because even with the light bulb, there is power being sent from the source. If there was nothing on either the positive or the negative lead, then we have a problem with our energy source– it’s not giving us any juice! In a person that means they are dead! I would rather you feel too light or too heavy than to not feel anything at all! The class laughed at that one.

I showed them how even though you are standing, you want to be aware of what you’re feeling–just enough to notice it and change with the change. One minute you say “oh yeah, everything feels good here, I’m stable.” The minute you find that point, something is off, and you are adjusting again to find that neutral point again, not too positive and not too negative.

If that YMCA were not so far from my home, I would love to continue teaching. I enjoy this type of teaching so much more than personal training stuff. I’m interested in training the mind, the body, AND the emotions. Swinging a kettlebell is great, a person can shred off fat, build skeletal muscle, and improve the heart muscle– but ILC can help a person shred off the excess stuff really weighing them down and train the heart-mind, this is what I have observed and I have not even scratched the surface yet.

I’m looking forward to learning Sifu’s Taiji Boost program as I hope to get some form of training going in my neighborhood.

Also, a friend of mine is interested in learning Taiji from me to see if it will help her deal with some issues she’s having. I’m hoping to make her my official spinning partner, so that means I need to get deeper into the solo practice!

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So About This Eating Thing…

Well after not having much of an appetite/not eating enough, I turned things around yesterday. I woke up early, put on some eggs, and did some Qigong while I waited for my eggs to boil. This is just a tip for anyone out there– it takes longer to hardboil organic eggs!

I ended up having 2 hardboiled eggs and 2 turkey sausage patties for breakfast. I did a 1.5 mile run for time a little later. My time was 13:20 which isn’t good, but not bad either. I have not mentioned here that I am considering going into the Navy Reserves. I served for 4 years and was discharged early due to recurring bouts with Essential Tremor. If you’ve been following my YouTube channel, I mentioned in a video from October 2011 that I was having some difficulties doing my P90X workouts because I was having some issues with my tremors.

I am not taking any medication for my tremors. To be honest, they do not affect me all that often– only when I experience a lot of stress and allow myself to be over-stressed.  At that time, I had the NSCA exam coming up; I was doing some strenuous workouts; and I kept beating myself up over a failed relationship. I ended up changing up my workouts and my approach to preparing for the exam. I became so busy that I didn’t have time to think about the girl, and within a week, no tremors!

Anyway, getting back to this eating thing! I made “Lean Secrets” spaghetti from scratch! Well, I used whole wheat noodles, which is a big no-no for Brenda Turner, but I made my meatballs and sauce from scratch! It was so good that I ate all of the sauce following my workouts and my two kettlebell classes.

What I have noticed is that I feel 100% better when I have actually had real food! Of course my workouts are still hard. Eating is not going to make Ab Ripper X any easier after a day, but I know that once I build up those glycogen stores and become better conditioned that my muscles will not fatigue as quickly.

Well, this was just my rambling on eating and working out with my two Beachbody programs– Tai Cheng and P90X. I will keep pressing play and writing my thoughts on this journey.

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Feeling Foggy

Have you ever had that foggy feeling where you just feel sort of “off?” I was feeling that most of the day yesterday. Things started out well. It was a little chilly– we actually set a record low of 56 yesterday! I woke up and did 20 minutes of Wuji standing. I followed that up with 10 minutes of a qigong set that my Sifu taught me. At this point,the reasonable thing to do would have been to eaten a good breakfast and gone about my day.

That’s not what I did at all, though. I really had a craving for sushi,so I wanted to wait until lunchtime to grab some sushi–BIG MISTAKE.

I always tell me clients how breakfast really is your most important meal of the day. It should oftentimes be your largest meal of the day depending on one’s level of activity. What had I done the day before? P90X: Chest & Back, Ab Ripper X, and Tai Cheng Phase 1 Neural Reboot. This was all before teaching 2 kettlebell classes where I had to demonstrate every other exercise for my classes.

Another trainer I know says that “abs are made in the kitchen.” I’m going to go a step further and say “muscles are made in the kitchen!” If your nutrition is off, your workout performance will be off. You need fuel to power the machine and if your glycogen stores are low, you may as well forget about any workout that will require you to have any kind of muscle endurance or fast muscle recovery.

So I spent most of yesterday with a foggy headed feeling. This was all in addition to having sore muscles.

I did end on a good note, though. I pushed myself to do my Tai Cheng Week 2, Day 2 workout. I don’t know the name of the video, but it was practicing Ward Off and Roll Back in the Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail sequence of movements. I immediately took a trip to the store to grab a Southwest Salad, some chocolate milk, and some greek yogurt. I felt much better after some light exercise and a good meal.

Today I am going to start an experiment that will be a later blog post along with P90X: Shoulders, Biceps & Triceps workout & Tai Cheng. I have 2 kettlebell groups to do later tonight, as well.

Just a side note, I’ve recieved an A in my Industrial, Clinical, & Corporate Wellness class!  Yay!

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Week 1 Down

My first week of a combined program consisting of P90X and Tai Cheng is over and the second week begins today. Last Monday’s workout went awesome, if you call realizing how much you’ve let yourself become deconditioned, in a sense. My diet has not been great at all this summer, and it shows in how quickly my muscles fatigue during exercises that include more than hardstyle kettlebell swings– something I’ve been doing regularly for months.

Of course there was my accident following Monday’s workout. I’ve been wearing gauze wraps around my thumbs, but they are healing quickly. I have a feeling that I will not need to wrap them by the weekend.

Looking back, I’m not happy about my progress during week 1. By Thursday I was too sore to continue, so I took a break to complete some schoolwork on Thursday and Friday. Saturday I put myself through a kettlebell workout styled after “The Furnace” workout invented by Dave Whitley, MRKC.  It turned out to be just what I needed, as I included upper and lower body exercises along with several rounds of hardstyle swings.

My diet was pretty horrible. I started out on a good note, but then I discovered that Church’s Chicken has the same chicken sandwiches as Chik-Fil-A! I think I gained 4 lbs from eating those things after starting out the week eating mostly grilled chicken salads. To be honest, I just got bored with eating salad. One good thing I can say is that lately I’ve been wanting some type of soup. I’ll check out the P90X nutrition plan to see if there are any recipes for soup that I know how to make.

I’m going to get back “on the ball” as far as these workouts go. My goal for week 2 is to get in all 3 P90X workouts and all of the Phase 1 Tai Cheng workouts for the week.

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Weak SITS muscles in Internal Martial Artists

When people start studying Chinese Internal Martial Arts, it is common to encounter people with an inability to relax their shoulders.  This inability may be due to poor posture or overdeveloped pectoral muscles, but there is also usually some injury to the rotator cuff which has contributed to a person’s shoulder tension.

For the sake of this discussion, we will assume that the underlying condition is due to an injury, overstretching, or weakness of the supraspinatus muscle. The supraspinatus is responsible for adduction in the frontal plane and keeping the humerus stable in the glenoid fossa.

The result is an over compensation of the trapezius muscle during abduction. As this synergistic dominance continues a neuromuscular deficiency will occur as tightness develops in the trapezius muscle. What will eventually happen is that the already tight trapezius will initiate abduction movement of the humerus.

What I have observed in martial arts classes is an initial elevation of the shoulder during movements when the arm is abducted.  Individuals with an especially tight trapezius muscle tend to have on shoulder elevated higher than the other. This can also create a postural misalignment. When the pectoral muscles also contribute this situation, there will additionally be an anterior tilt of the shoulder due to the tight pectoral muscles stretching the posterior muscles of the back and shoulder. When individuals with this problem are tasked with “relaxing” their shoulders, they are not able to do so due to tension between the trapezius muscle pulling “up” and a conscious tightening of the lat to pull the shoulder back “down.”

These muscle imbalances alter the intended postural alignments which stretch muscles, joints, and tendons, altering the force coupling relationships.

Anyway, this is just a chance for me to sound smart discussing something that I have observed. As this is something that seems to be common (especially in the general population), I would be interested in hearing some feedback concerning exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff and balance out these muscular imbalances.

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Another Freak Accident

Well, I wanted to write an entry all about how I had started a combination workout of P90X and Tai Cheng for the next 90 days. This has been something I’ve been planning to do since the spring, but finally have decided to begin and stick to it.

Of course you can see by the title that something went wrong yesterday. I completed the workouts (Yay!), but as I was changing clothes to get ready to teach my 7:30 kettlebell class, I somehow managed to break a light fixture, which left some pretty nasty cuts in both of my thumbs. It’s the second time in the last month that I’ve had to run through the house with blood dripping all over the floors. I’m okay, but this marks the second time in the last 30 days that I have had some freak accident that resulted in some form of setback for me reaching my fitness goals.

Well, I won’t let this stop me from doing Tai Cheng today. I think the P90X workout for tomorrow is biceps, triceps, and shoulders. We will see what I’m able to do, but I’m not going to let this stop me from training and completing the program this time around. Here’s to the next 89 days with some good training and no crazy injuries!

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Goofing Around With Plyometrics

Brenda-Leigh Turner posted this video on her favorite plyometric workout using the step benches at the gym:

So me being the dork/ attention seeker, that I am posted a response to Brenda’s video:

I think for an encore, I should do a video jumping over Brenda…and if she should ever see this, I’d better go do more plyometrics so that I don’t embarrass myself!

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