Do you want more energy?
No, NOT this kind!!!
Often when people start a new fitness regime, they complain of fatigue. This causes them to stop their new fitness program before they reach the point of GAINING energy from being more fit. There are several things to keep in mind when starting a new fitness routine. You need to fuel your body for the increased demands you are asking of it. You may also need extra sleep in order to repair and recover from the demands
you are putting on your body. Also, if you’re under a lot of stress and add the physical stress (yes your body can sense your new routine as stress), this may make you feel tired and fatigued as well. I love the following article that Tony Horton, creator of P90X, wrote a few years ago. This applies not only to P90X but to any fitness routine. ENJOY!
Have More Energy by Tony Horton
So you bought P90X off the tube and you’re all pumped up to kick some butt. Do you remember that shift in ENERGY the day you picked up the phone and started dialing? Any number of thoughts could’ve been racing through your mind at the time—fear, doubt, excitement, hope, anticipation—you name it.
Then the DVDs arrived. Some of you ripped the package open, read all the material, and got started that day. Some of you looked at the box as if it were filled with anthrax—keeping it sealed and placed on a shelf for some future investigation. You’re all at different stages of the program: newbies, start-agains, and even round 5-ers. I’d like to reveal four key components for success with P90X, and quite possibly other aspects of your life.
Have you ever noticed that some days just flow? Even on days when you have tons of things to do, you seem to have all the ENERGY in the world to handle anything. Yet other days feel like you live on Saturn. The weight of the world feels 10 times heavier than normal. It comes down to the amount of ENERGY you have on any given day. Your ENERGY always dictates your REALITY. When you’re filled with ENERGY, you’re sharp, ready, enthusiastic, and willing. When you’re pooped . . . forget about it! Organizing a sock drawer feels like climbing Mt. Everest.
So what causes these shifts? The big four are:
1. Food and supplementation
I know, I know. Here I go again. Hold on to your hats! There’s no way on God’s earth you can maintain a consistent level of ENERGY and enthusiasm for any 90-day program by eating the same old crap. You must . . . you have to . . . you need to make “The Change.” Proper ENERGY levels only come from eating the right food the right way at the right time of day. If you don’t know what that means, then you haven’t read the material and you’re doing this program the wrong way.
You are what you eat! If you eat the same old tired food that put you in this mess in the first place, that’s just what you’ll get. Tired and old before your time. You know what to do, so do it! It’s not Atkins® or Slim-Fast® or fast food or soft drinks or fried food or candy bars or doughnuts or liquid diets or any panoply of misleading ways of consuming food. Get your mind right about what goes in your mouth or continue to live in the land of the wannabes!
This probably seems like the most obvious and simple component of the four. But it’s often the most abused. Recent statistics have shown that the leading cause of traffic accidents in this country is NOT alcohol, but sleep deprivation. If we don’t have enough ENERGY to stay awake while driving a car, how will we have enough ENERGY for a 6-day-a-week workout program?
We’re not sleeping enough hours at night, and even when we do, they’re often filled with so much mind chatter that we don’t get the proper rest we need. My new Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “sleep” as follows: “the natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored.” In Taoist philosophy, there’s the yin (not ying) and the yang. These are opposing ENERGIES that create balance. P90X is yang ENERGY. Sleep and rest are yin ENERGY. There must be proper balance between vim and vigor (yang) and inward calm (yin). If you don’t get enough sleep and rest, your body will not receive the proper restoration it needs to complete or succeed with this program, or anything else in life, for that matter.
3. Stress management
Do you realize that if you took the fear, worry, and anxiety out of every “stressful” situation in your life, the end result of that situation would still occur? You can panic and freak out all you want, but time will still pass and the end of that moment will still happen, whether you freak out or not. So why not choose something different? When do fear, worry, and anxiety ever really help a situation?
So what is stress? It’s the inability to move through a situation logically, peacefully, positively, productively, and gracefully. To be stressed out takes lots of ENERGY. Being stressed out can severely affect how well you’ll sleep at night. Stress is when you assess blame and don’t take responsibility. (“I’m stressed out because of______, and that’s why I can’t______.”) Don’t let stress be your scapegoat. There’s a story about 10 people in line at a bank when three armed robbers come flying in, screaming and yelling and pointing guns. They terrorize everyone and steal all their money. The moral of the story is that these 10 people will be affected by this experience in 10 different ways. The two extremes range from one having a wild story to tell at work the next day to another being severely traumatized for the rest of his or her life. Where would you fall in that spectrum?
There’s a saying that there are three kinds of business: “God’s business”—things that happen in this world that are out of my control; “their business”—the choices other people make based on their life experiences so far; and “my business”—the choices I make that shape my life. If I focus on what I have to do to make my life the best it can be, and NOT on God’s and everyone else’s business, I will have less stress, which in turn will give me the ENERGY to live the life I’ve always wanted.
Don’t waste your time on gossip, ridicule, envy, self-pity, anger, guilt, arrogance, need, impatience, regret, manipulation, jealousy, fear, worry, and anxiety, because they’ll zap your ENERGY and cause you stress!
Choose understanding, truth, clarity, patience, devotion, gratitude, vulnerability, acceptance, wisdom, hope, forgiveness, empathy, discipline, perseverance, community, and peace. Because if you do, you will gladly kiss stress goodbye and say hello to all the ENERGY you’ll need.
Purpose is the driving force to get you from here to there. If you don’t have purpose, all the best food, supplementation, sleep, and stress-free days won’t help you one bit. You have to have a powerful burning desire to want it. My dictionary tells me that “purpose” is “seeking resolution.” Searching for answers to solve a problem. An intention. This all goes to the core of . . . why? Why do I want to spend the next 90 days turning my life upside down, maybe even for the second or third time, or more?
You’re looking for resolution. You’re searching for answers to help solve this problem. And most importantly, you must be clear about your intention. No one ever does anything just for the heck of it. There’s always some intention behind everything we do. Different kinds of behavior have different levels of intention and purpose. Eating fast food and leaving the DVDs on the shelf is one level. Following the program the way it was designed is another. I know I’ve said this before, but if your intention and purpose are based exclusively on esthetics and bragging rights, you miss the whole point of P90X. If your intention and purpose are based on good health, quality of life, athleticism, flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular endurance, you’re doing P90X for all the right reasons. If your intention and purpose are based on lifestyle, you will have plenty of ENERGY to succeed with and complete P90X. You will also have the ENERGY to be everything you always knew you could be.
May the Energy Revolution begin!
I just started reading the book Spark – the revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain by John J. Ratey, MD. I will be posting tidbits from the book over the coming weeks. I was happy to see the following study, One Twin Exercises, the Other Doesn’t, reported in the NYTimes that corroborates what I’m reading in SPARK. In this study, 10 sets of identical twins were studied in which their fitness activities had diverged in the prior 3 years. You had one active twin and one inactive twin. I was shocked by the statement the twins diets were quite similar. I would have thought diet played a larger role.
“It turned out that these genetically identical twins looked surprisingly different beneath the skin and skull. The sedentary twins had lower endurance capacities, higher body fat percentages, and signs of insulin resistance, signaling the onset of metabolic problems. (Interestingly, the twins tended to have very similar diets, whatever their workout routines, so food choices were unlikely to have contributed to health differences.)
The twins’ brains also were unalike. The active twins had significantly more grey matter than the sedentary twins, especially in areas of the brain involved in motor control and coordination.
Presumably, all of these differences in the young men’s bodies and brains had developed during their few, brief years of divergent workouts, underscoring how rapidly and robustly exercising — or not — can affect health, said Dr. Urho Kujala, a professor of sports and exercise medicine at the University of Jyvaskyla who oversaw the study.”
While this is a very small study, it does show that it is never too late to have a huge impact on how your body functions, even your brain.
My balance was first tested in P90X with Yoga X. Standing on one leg was very difficult. My balance has been further tested and improved in P90X2 and Asylum Vol 1 and 2. When Shaun T asks you to stand on one leg and then close your eyes and you feel as if you’re on a rocking boat, Houston there is problem!
Here is a wonderful article by Jane Brody which appeared in the NY Times discussing balance and aging, a simple do-it-yourself test, and how to improve your balance!
Mr. McCredie wonders why balance is not talked about in fitness circles as often as strength training, aerobics and stretching. He learned that the sense of balance begins to degrade in one’s 20s and that it is downhill — literally and figuratively — from there unless steps are taken to preserve or restore this delicate and critically important ability to maintain equilibrium.
But while certain declines with age are unavoidable, physical therapists, physiatrists and fitness experts have repeatedly proved that much of the sense of balance can be preserved and even restored through exercises that require no special equipment or training. These exercises are as simple as standing on one foot while brushing your teeth or walking heel-to-toe with one foot directly in front of the other.
How good is your balance? Do the self-test and find out! That was a difficult test with your eyes closed. I was much more successful barefoot – going over 1:21 on my right leg and 34 seconds no my left. Wearing my cross-training shoes, I did 28secs and 24 secs on my right and left legs, respectively. That puts me in the 20-49yr old category. I’m 46yrs old so I definitely want to maintain this score!
“Remember, balance is a motor skill,” Dr. Moffat, professor of physical therapy at New York University, said in an interview. “To enhance it, you have to train your balance in the same way you would have to train your muscles for strength and your heart for aerobic capacity.”
And what else does Dr. Moffat recommend? Tai Chi! Beachbody has you covered with our program Tai Cheng which, I’m starting today with my 10yr old to help reduce his klutz-factor which he inherited from me!
I found this video on youtube which uses a scale from the RealAge website.
“Start free STANDING on hard surface with eyes open and two barefoot, lift one leg up to 45-degree angle bend in knee, THEN close eyes & HOLD this POSITION for as long as you can without falling, fidgeting, opening eyes or teetering too much. Repeat 3X or more, take average time & check chart.”
Balance Time Balance-Based RealAge
4 seconds 70 years
5 seconds 65 years
7 seconds 60 years
8 seconds 55 years
9 seconds 50 years
12 seconds 45 years
16 seconds 40 years
22 seconds 30-35 years
28 seconds 25-30 years
Food as Fuel and Medicine
This is something I think about often. I’m in the middle of reading several books on the topic. Yes, there are conflicting ideas out there and only more time will tell which is the best approach … if there is a best approach. It’s more likely that there are a few best approaches. The data is heavily leaning away from the current American diet of highly processed and refined foods, low fat, high carbohydrate diet. It can be difficult to embrace a new way of eating for fear it is the latest fad and will be replaced by some new thing soon. However, it seems we have tested most of the combinations so far, after all, there are only so many food groups! A friend sent me a link to this article from CBS Sports about a change in nutrition for NBA athletes. I think NBA athletes have a lot in common with us. They need to get as much out of their body as possible. Those with autoimmune issues are trying to get the most out of our bodies with as little pain and fatigue as possible. Shockingly, according to the article, the NBA is not known for it’s good nutrition. These athletes struggle with injuries and surgeries yet are not giving their bodies the food they need to rebuild and repair!
This sentence really struck me! “We’re making the shift from basically worse than pet food to actual food,” Cate Shanahan said. Worse than pet food? Money is not an obstacle for these folks. Knowledge is!
With Howard, the intervention began where it does with most athletes (and non-athletes, for that matter) who need to change their diets. It began with sugar. It turned out that Howard was consuming the equivalent of 24 Hershey bars a day in the form of candy and soda — not to mention the additional sugar his body was making out of all the empty starches he was eating.
It was bad. At Cate Shanahan’s request, Howard had undergone a blood screening that revealed a frighteningly pathological profile. His glucose readings were through the roof, much higher than they should have been for a ripped, 27-year-old professional athlete who used to call himself Superman.
Howard was struggling to return to form after back surgery the previous spring, and was wrestling with the enormous pressure of whether to re-sign with the Lakers as a free agent. Cate Shanahan believed his performance and recovery were being seriously compromised by his poor diet. She saw the telltale signs of sugar addiction — spikes in energy followed by crashes and erratic motor skills that were indicative of nerves misfiring.
With diet modifications, Howard’s bloodwork is now much improved in a very short time. He avoids sugar, all processed foods, vegetable, canola, and corn oils. In contrast the current government food pyramid, these professional athletes now get at least 50% of their calories from healthy fats! The Lakers now only eat grass-fed beef and free-range chicken and pigs that are eating natural diet rather than fed on corn. If you want to learn more about the nutrition plan, read Dr. Shanahan’s book “Deep Nutrition.” I have just ordered on my Kindle and will review it at a later date. If you read several of the nutrition to fight autoimmune disease books, it’s the same nutrition plan. We, just like athletes, need to give our bodies the fuel it needs to repair damage done by autoimmune disease and allow us to lead normal lives! Processed foods, too much sugar, vegetable, corn, canola oils are thought to all contribute to inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of heart disease. If you have autoimmune disease, inflammation is your middle name. If you’re trying to get optimal performance out of your body to jump higher and run faster, you want inflammation at a minimal to build and repair tissues. “”I’ve definitely noticed my joints aren’t as sore, aren’t as stiff when I wake up when I don’t eat the bad oils,” Kaman said.” That’s music to anyone’s ears! It will certainly be interested to see how all this plays out in the big leagues. Stay tuned….