Active Concept Training

Mobility, Motivation, and Mindful Conditioning

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Be mindful. What is your body doing?

Posted by Chad on November 11, 2010 at 4:09 AM Comments comments (0)

Be mindful about your conditioning:

  •  Does the music suck where you go workout?  What music do you listen to when working out?  I know, how about none?  That way you can concentrate on what you (your body) are doing?
  • What if you leave your water bottle at home...gosh darn it!  WIll your workout suffer?  NO WAY!  Pretend you are having to lift rocks off your mate, and oh well, there is no water...what are you going to do?
  • Oh no!  Someone is on the olympic deadlift machine (there isn't one).  Is it going to mess up your workout rhythm and planning?  NO!   Pick something else, something similar you were going to do, and go for it!
  • Someone just took the parking spot right in front of the gym door.  What are you going to do now?  How about parking a little further away, walk to the gym, then get on the treadmill and walk some more. OR, park a little futher away, walk into the gym, and do 100 jumping jacks to get the blood flowing.


See, in the end, there are numerous ways/combinations/regimens to lift weights, hop onto a cardio machine, stretch, work on mobility, and so on.  So what do you do?  Well here is a start:


The main thing is to do something.  Our brains are wired to be moving creatures, not lazy sit-in-the-workchair-then-sit-on-the-couch beings.  MOVE!  Sometimes lift something heavy.  Sometimes lift something light a BUNCH of times.  Sometimes run, or bike, or swim.  Sometimes take a walk in the woods.  It's good for you believe me!




Back from Ireland

Posted by Chad on October 14, 2010 at 12:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Perspective.  That is one reason we go away on holiday, or vacation.  We want to see what our life is like through another lens.  Fortunately, I fell in love with a lovely lass from Erin, who has taken me places I only dreamed of going.


Newgrange.  Over 5000 years old.  Older than the pryamids and Machu Pichu.  What a place of peace.  A passage tomb unlike any other, that feels so inviting it must have been mystical to ancients.  How did they build it?  What made them?  Was it to worship the sun?  Worship the shortest day of the year?  Was it built to let them know when to start looking to plant their harvest?  No one really knows.  But it does give you perspective on how just intelligent they were.


Giant's Causeway.  Now, whether you believe the Irish tale about Irish giant Finn McCool building it to allow the Scottish giant Brendandonner to come over for a giant fight, or you just think it was an earthly made place.  Doesn't matter.  It is awe inspiring and certainly a place to see.  Just not when there is a downpour!!  Ok, well, maybe when there is!  Either way, it was worth the drive.  Since you are there, you have to see the rope bridge too...and walk across it!  Talk about a rush of adrenaline to walk across a suspended rope bridge 100 feet in the air!  Where it takes you is to an island where the views are breathtaking!


My father in law's guided tours of not-easy-to-get-to land.  From Laugh Nachreah, to Lough Finn, to the hills of Donegal.  Places of sometimes mystical feeling.  Sometimes you wonder who is watching you, when you know you are the only person there.  It is difficult to describe, but places where you know others have come before you, not necessarily just to look over the hills and mountains to look at the view of the ocean, but have come here to make a living, a home, or survive.


My in-laws run a B&B, which affords them the opportunity to meet many people.  Two groups who they meet regularly are hunters and horsebacks.  During the year, they get hunters looking for deer, and horsebacks taking a journey from one part of Donegal to the other toward Sligo.  Two groups of people doing things the way they were done for hundreds and thousands of years.  Perspective to the world of going to the store for your motorized vehicle.  Taking the horse into the country to hunt.  Now that's the way of the elders.


Places of such beauty and history beckon for more exploration...not of the literal way, but the metaphysical.  Who came before you and why?  Of course, to put it into today's terms of "exercise, " getting there is a hike, and a climb.  "Eating" is eating real food from the farm.  So healthy, you ask?  Yes.  That's not what this is about.  Our ancients didn't worry about being healthy.  They worried about surival.


Just getting there is an experience to have.  But once you are there.  Bask.



circadian rhythms...turn off the light!

Posted by Chad on August 9, 2010 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Mr. Pottenger brought up an interesting subject about circadian rhythms.  Just this morning I had a discussion with a young man about staying up until 2am or 3 am, and how doing that for years will throw your body into a tailspin!






The book Lights Out

takes a good look at how things have changed over the last 100 years with the widespread use of the light bulb.  Do we need sugar to help our body create melotonin which helps us fall asleep?  Maybe that is why we "crave" that last bowl of ice cream or glass of wine before we hit the bed.  Maybe we need that last bit of sugar because we don't go to sleep soon enough at night, when it gets our ancestors did.



Our rhythms are off.  And they will NOT catch up anytime soon.




Turn off the tele, the lights, and light a candle and get some sleep.


ponderings of doubt

Posted by Chad on July 13, 2010 at 6:41 AM Comments comments (0)

"kill the doubt that strangles my self-worth..."

A song lyric by the Avett Brothers, brings to mind what it means to have the mind control your actions, and I mean FULLY control them.


Did you ever hear your grandmother say to you, after you used the word 'can't', "darling, can't never could"?



Why do you doubt yourself or your abilities?  Have you ever tried to do what you suggest you can't do?   If not, how do you know you CAN'T do it?


What did Henry Ford say..."whether you think you can or you can't do something, you are right."  We could spend all day coming up with quotes and musings and anecdotes about positive thinking.  Why are there so many of them?  Because they are TRUE!


Your mind controls you, your thoughts, your actions.  It is a skill to teach your mind to be more positive.  Is it easy?  NO!  If it was, everyone would be more successful at their endeavors.

In this book, "The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari," Robin Sharma gives good examples of how to practice this very thing.

What are you worth--to your family, your job and boss, your friends, your SELF?  Now, this one is more tangeably measured.  There are certain folks who are surely worthless to everyone around them--you know these people, hopefully not too many of them.  However, there are those who do great work for themselves, families, and careers, and don't think they do.  What's more is that this self doubt holds them back...thoughts of "I can't do that" and "sue does that better than I ever could" and "there's no way that I can do that well."  These thoughts hold you back from succeeding at a higher level.  LET THEM GO!

"Kill the doubt that strangles my self-worth..."




"free will brother, free will"

Posted by Chad on July 3, 2010 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (96)

Free will.  How much do you have?  Do you have enough to get through the day?  Do you have enough to get the kids awake, off to school, go to work, deal with stress of the job, pick the kids up, go to baseball practice, cook dinner, do homework, then give yourself a good workout?  Not many do.  Each time you have to make a decision, that's one less drop of free will you have in your arsenal.  This is where Dan John says we have our "can of free will", and we eventually run out.

We just don't have enough to go around, and being good parents and spouses, they come first.  Sound familiar?

Months ago I wrote about a person I spoke with who was in prison.

What did they do to amuse themselves?  Workout.  They had enough free will they could have bottled it up and sold it...why?  They had no choices.  Nothing else to do, so their "can of free will" was full!


What can you do to put some more free will back in your life?  Sell a kid?  Move to Belgium and become a monk?  Maybe you don't have to go that far.  Maybe it's as little as finding 15 minutes to so some push ups, squats, and back extensions.  Or 4 minutes on a bike to do some interval training.  Or 10 minutes to work on your joint mobility.  While you wait on the kids to get ready for school.  While you are waiting on them at baseball practice.  While your spouse is making dinner.  Every little bit helps, and the three variations of workout I just mentioned HELPS--physically and mentally!

Stock up on some free will, brother.  Get yourself back in the game!


fat--where does it come from?

Posted by Chad on June 15, 2010 at 9:21 AM Comments comments (0)


"Cortisol levels go up a lot with stress. And modern humans live in hyper-stressful environments. Unfortunately stress in modern urban environments is often experienced while sitting down. In the majority of cases stress is experienced without any vigorous physical activity in response to it.

As Geoffrey Miller pointed out in his superb book, The Mating Mind, the lives of our Paleolithic ancestors would probably look rather boring to a modern human. But that is the context in which our endocrine responses evolved.

Our insatiable appetite for over stimulation may be seen as a disease. A modern disease. A disease of civilization.

Well, it is no wonder that heavy physical activity is NOT a major trigger of death by sudden cardiac arrest. Bottled up modern human stress likely is."

Ned Kock, a well respected researcher and college professor who blogs on the applicaton of his expertise on human health. 


Drop and give me 20 at the office!


As our DNA evolved over thousands of years, when we were "stressed out" it always involved a flight or fight response, as in an effort of survival--building shelter, protecting the tribe or family, or simply playful running, jumping, or climbing.  Now, cortisol is released while sitting in a chair in an office, and as the author above states, without physical response.  So, when we are "stressed out" at work, should we at some point drop down and do 50 push up?  50 burpees?  100 squats?

Maybe we've unlocked the answer right here!!

Make cortisol work in your favor, not against you and your health!





law of averages?

Posted by Chad on May 25, 2010 at 9:11 AM Comments comments (0)

“The average,” says Arthur, “is always misleading and may not exist.”

The obsession with the bell curve and the average has corrupted us. We tend to think of stable models not just of the human world but also of the human body. Almost all dietary and fitness regimes are based on a homeostatic view of the body – meaning it is a self-regulating system that maintains itself in a continuous, stable condition. The average is the ideal. So we are told to eat regular meals consisting of a balance of the food groups and to take regular exercise, dominated by steady aerobic activity like cycling or jogging. This is all wrong. "

Welcome to Arthur Devany's world.  A math and economics guru who has turned to the world of fitness to offer his thoughts and ideas and came up with Evolutionary Fitness.


His ideas aren't that far off from the mainstream...that is if you live in 1850!!  Or more like 2000BC.  Here is another aspect of this idea from Lights Out:

"In reality, running, jumping, or stairmastering is, to your body--which still responds with ancient subroutines--a "fear" response that throws your cortisol into the stratosphere.  High cortisol is a blood sugar mobilizer, so it throws your blood sugar up again; when your blood sugar goes up, insulin this:

  • running, jumping, running = being chased
  • chase = stress response
  • stress = cortisol release = blood sugar mobilization
  • blood sugar up = insulin up = insulin resistance = fat storage and hypertension

...obviously, stopping for a low-fat power frapp at Starbucks on your way to the gym to work out in bright artificial lights at night, and then exercising like hell for an hour or so probably is not really accomplishing what you hoped for.

By the time you get home, you've been awake for 16-18 hours.  You're beyond tired and the lights are still on.  At this point your psyche kicks in to try to save you and put you to sleep by telling you to look for a 'snack'.  Your mind will now send you to the fridge for sugar, or worse, a drink.

The same light illuminating your way to that last piece of cake started the whole process--from the need to exercise to the 'need' for a sweet midnight snack.

You're not hungry, you're just too tired, but inside your body knows that the cake will send your insulin up to turn the serotonin into melatonin and--finally--put you to sleep.


A good ten years of the behavior we just described and you may not recover."



Frightening.  They just described half the people I know.  And what is the obesity rate in this country, over half?  When playing baseball, when the other team was gaining the momentum, I used to say "stop the bleeding...somebody has got to make a play to stop the bleeding."

Well, somebody, has got to stop the bleeding.  Before it's too late!  Will you?



enough already...let's talk about the brain!

Posted by Chad on May 24, 2010 at 5:42 PM Comments comments (0)

"A robust literature documents that experience and behavior activate brain plasticity mechanisms and remodel neuronal circuitry in the brain. Exercise and behavioral enrichment paradigms, such as environmental enrichment [64], rehabilitation training [65,66] and learning [67,68] , affect common endpoints in the brain, including regulation of growth factors, neurogenesis and structural changes. The similarities between the effects of exercise and these well-established paradigms support the hypothesis that there are common mechanisms regulating behavioral plasticity."   


What this means is that the brain is pliable, the cells are remade, and what they are remade of are dependant on exercise!  Or playtime!  Or learning motor skills! Or, or, or, or...Plainly, movement helps the brain grow stronger, more resilient, and makes it learn!!


If it hasn't been proven enough, it will be.  This is a relatively new arena of science, in that not until about 2000 or so were folks spouting about how human movement "exercises" the brain.  In ways people thought it did, and were touting with how one "feels," which to me is fine (I would rather hear about anecdotal evidence based on experience rather than in a lab anyway), but now the labwork is on it's way to the mainstream.  Be ready!!


Depression, anxiety, stress.  All society problems, can be handled with movement.  What a concept.


Now, go move some brain cells!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



another reason we need "Mindful Conditioning"

Posted by Chad on April 12, 2010 at 2:02 PM Comments comments (0)

Take a look at this article from Science Daily...

Mental health and exercise.  The two go and in hand.  We all know how we feel ourselves after we go out and move.  We feel better!  These days there is enough science behind the "feel."  We know why this is, and it's not jst a gut feeling.

More to the article's point is that exercise can help those with clinical depression.

"Individuals who exercise report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lower levels of stress and anger," Smits says."Exercise appears to affect, like an antidepressant, particular neurotransmitter systems in the brain, and it helps patients with depression re-establish positive behaviors. For patients with anxiety disorders, exercise reduces their fears of fear and related bodily sensations such as a racing heart and rapid breathing."

Says Jasper Smits, director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Not only is exercise good for the body, but the brain too!!   This was an earlier post that seems appropriate.

If you know of someone who needs help, take them for a walk, run, or session of play!  For all of our sakes, we need it!


what is your task?

Posted by Chad on April 7, 2010 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Imagine being in a wheelchair for 40 years.  You were a paratrooper, a lady's man.  Nothing could stop you.  Then your chute doesn't open.  Paralyzation occurs from the waist down.  Now what?

You keep on living, that's what.  Not to say that things aren't tough, and sometimes you feel like giving up, or at the very least, not trying so hard to keep the "stiff upper lip."

I have recently been working with a man such as this.  It's been a few months, just once or twice a week.  But last week, he wanted to thank me for making him stronger.  Now, the reason I am telling you this is not to say how good I am at helping others (though it was a nice pat on the back, and even I need that every once in a while), but that sometimes, everybody needs a pick-me-up.

(What goes around comes around)


This person has lived as independantly as possible for many years, with a wife who gives him care and love the best she can.  This man asked for help, because he KNEW he needed it.  He was humble enough to say "I don't know it all, and I want to make a change."

How many of us do that?  What task are you trying to accomplish, and do you need help?  If so, ASK for it!!  It just may make someone else feel important.  It did for me!  I was the fortunate one that was asked this time.


None of us know it all...ask for help!  Be humble...and learn more about yourself than you ever thought you could!!!!!!!!!!!