"If you seek average results, pursue those that advise you to use your Common Sense. If you seek extraordinary results, run like hell away from those that advise you to use your Common Sense."
-Fred A Robinson
If you haven't read last week's blog, you may want to go back to gain a better foundation for your learning before reading, Bio-cultivating, Microdosing.
My confessions last week about the lack of training knowledge in my early days were Part One. After the painful lessons that came from exhausting myself comes Part Two. Yes, if you guessed injuries, you would be correct. If we consistently break our bodies down to the point of exhaustion, we set the stage for injuries. For example, some of my injuries resulting from overtraining are: calf strain, pulled hamstring, plantar tear, plantar fasciitis, sprained ankle, hyperextended knee, back strain, triple hernia, pulled stomach muscles, shoulder injury, bicep strain, tennis elbow, etc. I think you get the idea. I feel like I earned a Ph.D. in body wrecking. Any part of the anatomy that can be strained or torn is fair game when we put our bodies in this overburdened environment.
Having played myself professionally and trained other high-level athletes, I have observed several recurring themes that cycle. Example: We decide to get into shape. We go to the gym. We engage a trainer (and tell them how we want a workout specific for our tennis game). One of our routines is doing lunges -- LOTS of lunges, and then more lunging. Counterintuitively, a couple of days later, we pull our hamstring on the court. The exercise we thought was improving our tennis movement resulted in a hamstring pull. Imagine that. This kind of pull can nag for quite some time. Obviously, my training knowledge was insufficient, and I found the then-current products were inferior. Footnote here: This spurred me to action to develop world-class compression for athletes. One of the foundational reasons I created Body Helix was to create a superior solution for these kinds of troublesome injuries.
In tennis, competitive players will compete nationally and internationally into our 90's! Whatever your sport, if you intend to expand your Healthspan, you would be well advised to follow my lessons-learned below.
“We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it as not as dreadful as it appears, discovering that we have the strength to stare it down.”
Let me give you a couple of very sound tips to optimize your strength and minimize your injuries. Remember, if you compete at a high level in any sport, injuries happen. At these taxing levels, they're sometimes unavoidable. It's part of the package, when you aspire to be an athlete. Here are few tips to minimize injury:
1. Have Consistency of Purpose
Many of us are controlled by results: Did you win or lose? If winning is the only way we have to edify our self-worth or purpose, our fixed mindset may need some work. We all lose, and we all fail – often. This is the necessary part of the learning process.
Once we move away from these externalities, we free ourselves up to begin embracing a growth mindset. We can then proceed with purpose and know that we can control our effort. We will know whether we did our best at any given time. Our "best" can be changed and improved. Changing our perception of 'best' to mean 'best effort' versus 'best result' can make all the difference. And, sometimes, even our best effort results in failures, which for most can be discouraging. Failure is a part of life, a part of growth. Remember that our 'best effort today' is a moment in time. This sliding scale mentality helps us learn that we haven't yet reached our best. We can't always dictate results, but we can always dictate our effort – our purpose.
Some folks are just going to be bigger, stronger, more talented, etc. Watching some of the 'greats' training routines, like Rich Froning (the Roger Federer of Cross-Fit who happens to be the fittest man in the world), helps me see unique qualities of those to whom we aspire. One aspect of Rich's training that screams of "uncommon sense" is his daily training regime. Yes, every single day! Who does this? The fittest man in the world does this. I wanted to understand how I might apply this tip (at 67 years young) into my training routines. Here are few takeaways from Rich Froning's strategy that I customized for my methodology: (1) Do some kind of daily training. Yes, seven days a week. Uncommon Sense?!, and (2) Have a broad spectrum of functional exercise movements.
"If we cannot move comfortably using our bodies through functional movements, we have no business adding weights."
2. Functional Movements
As beginners, we've been told how to begin a weeks-long resistance training program (lifting weights): take your body to the point of fatigue on alternate days from lower to upper body; alternate days off for recovery. Blah, blah, blah! Been there, done that. As mentioned above, I've found this produces two recurring themes. First, I was continuing to have injuries despite the prescribed training. And, second, I found it challenging to coordinate these training times with my on-court practice time. It was a big PAIN!
I recently thought back to the days when I believed I was at my most fit level. Earlier in life, I had the privilege of training with Special Forces, Navy Seals, and Army Rangers. Yes, I was 18 years old, but it was "how" we trained that was key. We didn't use high-tech training equipment. We primarily used our body weight with numerous and repetitive functional body movements. Functional movement training is all about training "movements, not muscles." It mirrors how humans were meant to move and helps to make us move even better.
Below I list recommended functional movement videos from Da Rulk. In case you haven't heard of Da Rulk, he transformed Chris Hemsworth into Marvel Comics Thor. Thor! Hard Stop! Da Rulk can help you get started with functional movement training. No expensive equipment is needed. Simplistic, practical, and highly effective for gaining strength and flexibility. Try Da's flexibility workouts designed for beginner, intermediate, and advanced workouts.
Try this new exercise routine as a microdosing method. Perform these workouts focusing on form – it's not a race. Do one level, and when you become comfortable and can maintain good technique, then and only then move up to the next. I consider this "smart, highly effective" training.
3. Apply the methodology of Microdosing
Now for the exciting part – gaining muscle tone through microdosing. Coach Fred confesses: "I microdose seven days a week." It's one of my hidden secrets, now exposed. Microdosing has made me stronger, increased my endurance, and has vastly reduced my injuries. They still happen occasionally but are much less frequent. Spoiler alert – I adapted the definition of microdosing that is routinely used in the realm of psychedelic drug use, and I use the term to describe proper amounts of fitness activities, not LSD. My definition of microdosing is "a technique for training by administering doses of low and frequent exercise, yet strenuous enough to allow a steady increase in cellular response."
"A train uses small incremental increases in speed to get going. However, once it reaches a high speed, only Superman can stand in front of it to stop its power!"
-Fred A Robinson
Become a speeding advancing train with small incremental increases!
Here are a few adaptations I've done for my workouts. I weight train seven days a week like Rich Froning. However, I adapted the routines using microdosing. If I do smaller amounts of exercise consistently with purpose every day, I can increase my power output while decreasing injury severity and frequency. Consider cultivating a workout routine in the morning for 15-20 minutes. This early window also allows maximum fat burn and sugar to flush from your body.
Embrace a broad spectrum of exercises. By having a wide variety of functional movements, we build power with increased flexibility —my lower weights are my "smart bells" – nothing dumb about these. I use only 15-25 pound weights, and I do slow, careful movements. Other favorite exercises use only my body weight. Every time I walk through my office door, I see my pull-up bar. I knock out a set of pull-ups a few times throughout my day. It's small dosing, frequently! Push-ups -- another example of using my body weight as part of small dose functional movements -- allow me the flexibility to a few reps often throughout the day. When this becomes habitual, you will begin to notice changes in your strength and flexibility. This technique also blends seamlessly into your schedule. For the busiest of us, we do not need to take out large time blocks from work. It is more akin to taking a coffee break during the day several times.
Sitting for long periods is enemy number one! Avoid it at all costs! Remind yourself to get up and move around, as this helps reset your body. General movement is easy and is one of the most undervalued Bio-Cultivating techniques.
Lastly, I encourage you to listen to the interview with Tom Bilyeu and Da Rulk (linked below). It's an excellent opportunity for you to cultivate a broader knowledge base about the importance of exercise and movement. Next, jump in and give Da's beginner functional movement workout a try. If it's easy, move on to the next level. If it's a struggle, adapt my microdosing approach. When it becomes easier to hold good form, move up a level to continue your progress. Understand the benefits of body movements (amount and frequency), and affirm your purpose. Do what you can every day! This is an example of a growth mindset, and it works!
Thank you for taking it upon yourself to learn more, act more, and share more with others. I founded Body Helix to bring you better compression options to help you keep moving in your sport of choice. Our team works to bring you products and information to improve your lifestyle and Healthspan. By offering you high-quality compression, we hopefully allow you to keep training through your aches and pains.
It is my greatest hope that you will implement some tips from our Bio-Cultivating blogs. And further, I'm hoping you will be inspired to pass these nuggets along to your family and friends. We all have people in our lives who have the desire but lack the accurate information to improve their health. It is frustrating to sift through the bombardment of data and the misinformation in today's world. It's no wonder some give up in frustration. I believe that we deserve the healthiest choices that honest modern science can offer. It is my sincere mission to help as many people as I can get and stay healthy.
Move Through It!
I encourage you to expand your knowledge base with the videos below that contain information from leaders in the field who have earned a high level of trust worldwide.
YouTube Video List:
🔵 Tom Bilyeu/Da Rulk Thor’s Trainer Talk
🔵 Da Rulk Functional Training/Beginner
🔵 Da Rulk Functional Training/Intermediate
🔵 Da Rulk Functional Training/Advanced