Monday, July 26, 2010

Birthday Thoughts

Last week was my birthday (thanks to all wellwishers!). This birthday I continued an idea I've had for a while. With each passing year I only want to get stronger and healthier, even as people my age trend towards carrying that extra ten pounds around the gut and sacrificing a certain percentage of their health for their careers.

This year, with the Kung Fu Body program, I can honestly say that I'm stronger than ever. The thing that I'm most thrilled about though, is that I haven't gotten all pumped up and big. For someone of my body type, it's pretty easy to make a lot of muscle. Unfortunately most of it just gets in the way of functional, movement based strength.

Here's a photo I took on my birthday in my favorite Shao Lin Stance:

This is exactly where I want to be right now. There's certainly less tone than PCP will give a person, but the core strength that you can't see in that photo is off the charts. I'm also surprised by the shape of my chest. Usually my chest gets really big and bubbly but on KFB it has kind of thinned out to the sides. Must be all the punches and elbow strikes, I'm still trying to figure out how it's all working under the skin.

Anyway, what I want to leave people with is the idea that you're not destined for a slow slide into out of shape shlubiness as you enter your 30s. If anything, it's the best time to finally master your condition, as you'll probably have a lot more routine and rhythm in your life that is essential to maintaining a fitness program. No more excuses, just a little time and sweat!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Anyone else have days where your flexibility levels just plummet?

It happens to me sometimes. I'll suddenly lose 50% of my range of motion in my legs. The day before I'll have my chin down on my knee with no problem and the next day I can't touch my toes. Or when I was doing overhead crescent kicks on Tuesday and Thursday I can barely manage chest high.

I call these my "Lockdown" days. Something in my nervous system is putting the breaks on everything. I used to get really frustrated with them, but now I just roll with it and do my best with the limited movements.
I still haven't pinpointed what brings on the Lockdown. This is my list of culprits.

1. Fatigue. Usually I'll get a lockdown day 2 or 3 days after a big physical day, for example a 12 hour yoga/training day on the weekends when my private lessons all get booked up. I don't know why it's 2 or 3 days later that the lockdown happens and not the day after.

2. Poor sleep. This seems to coincide at times and other times it doesn't.

3. Stress levels. Invariably, my flexibility deceases inversely to my stress levels.

Today I had a bit of all three going on, and I was in BAAAAD shape. I felt like a total beginner. Which is good sometimes.

The interesting thing is that I bet everyone has these off flexibility days, it's just that so few people actually take their bodies to the edges of its range of motion that they don't even notice it. Come on people! You've got this awesome body, don't you want to take it for a spin around the block sometime?

Anyway, off to work on the cure for Lockdown. Legs up the wall for 30 mins!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bouncing Off the Walls!

I've got so much elastic energy these days. Walking down the street I want to jump on ledges and throw out quick punches and kicks at all the targets that present themselves... parking meters, low hanging leaves, pedestrians...

I like how all the strength we're gaining is tied directly to movement. No muscle is built just for the sake of having it. It all goes into doing something. So it makes sense that my body doesn't know to turn off that impulse when training time is over. I'm bouncing off the walls here! This is on top of 20 hours of yoga instruction a week and all the PCP stuff too.

A well nourished well rested body has almost limitless stores of energy. If you're feeling sluggish and slow and always on empty know that this feeling is NOT just a "part of life."

Start moving and the body will keep moving. It works everytime!