Don’t Panic.

Don’t Panic. If you are a fan of the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, you know that no matter what, no matter what, no matter what, panic simply will not help any situation. If you have never bothered with Douglas Adams’ tales, but you have been around this planet for a while now, you certainly know that panic truly will not help any situation.

I brought up the subject of panic today for two reasons. 1. The holidays are still upon us. Need I say more? 2. In reading “Simple and Sinister”, Pavel Tsatsouline’s new kettlebell book, he says “do not confuse speed with panic”. I will address each:

1. The holidays are still upon us. Does the notion strike fear into your heart? I hope not, but if so, you are not alone! Even if the season does not wrack you with fear and stress, this time of year there is just no escaping getting some of that “viral stress” on you. That stress will not only drive you crazy…it will keep you fat…it will undo work that you have done…stress kills…everything. This time of year is just stressful for many people for many reasons. It is a time of highs and lows, like seeing seldom-seen family, YAY! then saying goodbye, BOO! The stress of shopping, wrapping, dealing with all the manic people on the streets. Then there is the cooking, cleaning, dealing with those seldom-seen family members…it can all be a bit MUCH! Here again, is my advise as far as not loosing too much ground with your fitness goals. Set your mind to maintenance for the season. Do not set lofty PR (Personal Record) goals to attempt to hit during the holidays. It just sets people up to let themselves down. Eat what you want, but plan for it. When you know you will be surrounded by yummy deliciousness decide which goodies are worth it and EAT THEM WITH JOY! Do NOT poison yourself with guilt and fattening food, please. Choose it. Eat it with joy. Move on. 3,500 calories make up a pound, and a good swing will burn about 22 calories per minute. Know that and act accordingly. Schedule high calorie days with high calorie burning workouts. Do not “graze” all day. Cut out the extra goodies…ANY processed carbs until late in the day, or eat them at work then cut them out later. Example: I have a work party at lunch time. I have fresh (that means it came out of an actual orange) orange juice and a boiled egg in the morning. Eat the goodies that I really want and leave the ones that I am “meh” about (do NOT just eat them anyway…I know it is easy to do, but just don’t). Eat the goodies you choose with absolute joy and enjoy your friends and coworkers! Plan a good workout and simple dinner of veggies and protein, skip the “extra” carbs like rice, potatoes, bread (please!). Eat all the fresh veggies you want and a serving of protein about the size of your fist. OR I have a Holiday party after work: Plan a workout in the morning. Then have fresh juice and an boiled egg (or two or three, depending on your workout), and eat only veggies or veggie juice at lunchtime, go to your party and enjoy! Again, skip the stuff that does not make you really salivate, the “filler” foods…just skip those and only take the stuff that you really want. Eat those things with joy. Enjoy your holidays. Enjoy your family and friends. Enjoy some holiday goodies, in moderation. Enjoy your workouts, even if they are not quite epic right now. Epic is coming!

2. When you are “swinging those calories off” keep good form. Clear your mind and find your static stomp. Get set for your first perfect swing….hike it and GO! Torch that fat! Build that muscle! GO! GO! GO!….but do not hurry. Remember your rooting. Remember your breathing. Remember that the more your hips explode and hold the longer the bell is in the air…the more time you have to rest and ready yourself for the next perfect rep, and the next, and the next. Again, when we let ourselves fall into the “panic” mindset it will not truly help in ANY situation.

Keep calm and carry on.

Sheri

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How to survive the High Calorie Season

We all knew it was coming…the Food Holidays and all that comes with them.

This time of year, people come together to share light, warmth, community, joy, love, peace, goodwill, and food…for a LOT of people it also brings stress. When we combine those last two things we see why the average American will gain 8 to 12 pounds over the holidaze, and will most likely keep about 4 of those pounds past next December.

We do NOT have to fall into this trap. You CAN enjoy your friends and family, and yes the food without gaining lasting weight! First, I want to remind you that hardstyle training is all about making gains in absolute strength and power. Fat burning, if that is a goal of yours, requires attention to nutrition. There are a few strategies that work, it is just important that you choose one and stick to it. Yeah, it is that last part that trips us up.

While I am not a nutritionist or dietitian. I currently do not even have a “nutrition cert” I am 50 years old, in good health and stronger than I have ever been. I see, with my “Trainer Eye”, students and “average” people everyday and I geek out on all things regarding natural wellness and strength. Here is my basic nutrition for how to survive the “High Calorie Season”, but this whole “Buffet of Life”!

#1 Do NOT stress. Stress will release “fight or flight” hormones that encourage the body to hold ON to fat. Just breathe and know that this all will pass and that you are fine and that any decisions you make will all work out just fine.

#2 Incorporate “Intermittent Fasting”, and save the starchy carbs for dinner. There are many great books of this, my favorite is “The Warrior Diet” by Ori Hoffminkler. The basic idea is that you have a period of time that you do not eat, and a period of time that you do eat. The not eating period is longer than the eating period, and includes sleeping. Save ALL the starchy carbs, including fruit for the end of the day.

#3 Plan HEAVY workouts on days you have “Food Parties”. Carbs are helpful in recovery! Work HEAVY and EAT! Just eat what you want…what you really want. Ask yourself if you really want this or are you eating on “auto pilot” because you are all stressed out?!

Bottom line: Keep swinging and ENJOY!

I have been following Geoff Neupert since 2008. He has several amazing kettlebell and strength materials out including “Permanent Fat Loss”. Check him out, I pretty much ripped off his “Top 3″…actually, I combined #2 and #3 so that I could place NOT STRESSING where I believe it goes…#1!

Strong from the Floor Up, or “How the Static Stomp Changed Everything.”

Last week I wrote about how learning to get strong has changed virtually everything in my life and has made it better. One of the biggest things that has changed for me is my relationship with the floor, or the ground…actually no. It is my relationship with my FEET, and their relationship with the deck (whatever it is that I am standing on). As far back as I can really remember I had pain in my heels and low back when I stood in one place for very long, even as a kid. My low back used to hurt and people told me to “wear shoes with support!” I even went to a well-meaning Chiropractor years back who was happy to fit me with custom orthotics to wear in my super-supportive shoes. I looked for the cushieset, most supportive, walking-on-a-cloud shoes I could spend money on, and you know what?! My back still hurt. My heels still hurt. Shoes were NOT the problem.

One of the very first things that I noticed after beginning my kettlebell practice was that my feet did not hurt as much and my low back did not hurt as much. I found that if I wanted to, I could wear heels without as much nagging pain. I found that with the more I did Single Leg Dead Lifts (I always practice my kettlebell work barefoot) and started wearing “barefoot” shoes outside and on hiking trails (there are many types now to choose from) that not only did I not have pain, I had a new and different relationship with the ground!

One of the basic drills that I “drill” into student’s heads is the Static Stomp. The Static Stomp may seem at first to be a little detail. It is NOT. Strength begins from the “ground up”. To illustrate; we had a family cat, Mr. Kitty, who could, I swear, make himself weigh 4 times his body weight when he did not want me to pick him up out of my chair! That is part of what we are doing. Make yourself heavy. Imagine that your feet are pushing yourself into the floor itself. Seriously tighten ALL the muscles in your body with the intention of pushing with your feet. You have to keep the floor from smashing you against the ceiling…250 MPH winds can NOT blow you over…whatever it takes to feel your static stomp!

Feeling strong as you stand still is a good indicator that you are getting strong. Now, remember to Static Stomp before you engage in ANY kettlebell drill, AND before you lift ANYTHING heavy! I know that for myself and for my students, being strong with kettlebell drills is great, but the reason we are practicing for strength is to be strong in all areas of our lives.

Remember: Strength is a skill. It can be learned. Happiness is a choice. It can be made. Strength makes a whole lot of things a whole lot easier. That is just a fact.