Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Secret To Doing So Much Is Doing So Little

It seems to be the condition of modernity to be in a constant state of anxious, hurried and unfocused multitasking mess. I have this discussion with kids all the time - yes, you CAN do more than one thing at a time, but if you want to do anything to the best of your abilities, you have to focus on that one thing and that one thing alone.
Can you drive and talk at the same time? Yes, but both tasks will suffer. Remember when dad yelled for everyone to be quiet when he was driving in heavy traffic or when the weather was bad? He knew what we all know intuitively - that to really focus, you can't allow unnecessary distractions. You can't be all-in if you're playing more than one game at a time.

"By doing one thing at a time and devoting his full concentration to that one thing, Dr. Bob is able to do many things well - from writing and influencing health care policy, to investing in companies, to being a good husband and father. His insistence on single-tasking ensures that he learns and grows from every document he drafts and every interaction he's involved in. 'It's not that I can't multitask," he says. "But when I multitask everything suffers. So I just don't multitask. Ever.' 
He compartmentalizes his day down to the hour. Each compartment has a concrete objective. These objectives range from, for example: write 500 words for a paper; learn enough about a company to make an investment decision; have a free-flowing conversation with an interesting person; keep his heart rate at 80 percent of its maximum in a fitness class; influence a decision maker in a highly political meeting; enjoy dinner with his wife and kids. This type of compartmentalization ensures he follows his governing rule: 'Do only one thing at a time.' Dr. Bob's secret to doing so much is doing so little. He is the ultimate single-tasker. " 
(Peak Performance, by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, pp. 56-57)
Related Squat Rx Posts:
Multi-Tasking Addiction & Training Focus

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Stretching Sequence

This is the basic stretching sequence I use with my swimmers as a relaxed stretch following dryland work. We do more and take more time with it, but this gives the gist of what we do. To really understand the stretches, you'll need to "shop around" (Dick Hartzell) and explore how breathing and subtle changes of hip/shoulder girdle/foot/hand/etc. positions alter the stretch and promote or inhibit the release of tension.

Give it a shot and let me know what you think.



*Neck Circles, turn left/turn right
*Arm Circles (forward, back)
*Arm across Chest shoulder stretch
*Behind Head Tricep Stretch
*"Skin The Cat"
*Pec Stretch
*Hip Circles
*Good Morning Hamstring Stretch
*IT Band Stretch
*Quad Stretch
*Straddle Stretch
*Lying Butterfly
*Lying Internal Rotation
*Hip Flexor to Hamstring Stretch
*Downward Dog to Calf Stretch
*Kneeling Shoulder Stretches
*Hip Complex
*Tactical Frog

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Key Log


Key log: a truly ancient concept from the days before suspensors when lumbermen sent their fallen timber rushing down rivers to central mill sites. Sometimes the logs jammed up in the river and an expert was brought in to find the one log, the key log, which would free the jam when removed. Teg, she knew, would have an intellectual understanding of the term but she and Taraza could call up actual witness from Other Memories, see the explosion of broken bits of wood and water as a jam was released.
'The Tyrant was a key log,' Taraza said. 'He created the jam and he released it.' 
(pg. 119, Heretics of Dune)

Often there are staples of our training life that have become impediments to progress, but we just can't let them go. We often look for the one thing to add to our training that will make everything jump forward, but sometimes what is needed is a culling of logs... Addition by subtraction.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017

More Often Than Not (Part I)


Training More Often Than Not

I've done my share of minimalist programs over the years, but starting three years ago, nothing was really clicking with me. I had been very busy with coaching, work, and trying to be a good, attentive parent. No matter what I did, the training template or split I was trying would be too restrictive for me to continue during periods of high stress.

I managed to stumble upon a philosophy that works and I try to incorporate it into all areas of life that I consider important. The philosophy has allowed me to get training in regularly and has been adequate for my goals.

The philosophy is this: If it's important, do it more often than not.

I believe that if something is important to you, you need to give it attention more often than not. Every day and all the time might not be realistic expectations for everything in your life, but more often than not is worthy and generally attainable.

In the gym, I call this my "More Often Than Not Training" approach. Here are the basic tenets of the approach:

* Work out more often than not
Making training and exercise a habit means doing it "more often than not". You don't need motivation, you need to make a habit. Missing a day is inevitable, but try not to miss two in a row. Two easily becomes three, becomes four... Missing practice very quickly becomes a habit of its own.

* Have clear goals
Clear goals make it easy to decide where to spend your training efforts. If your goal is to run a marathon, then, generally speaking, the answer to the question 'What am I going to do today?' is going to be apparent.

* Make no single session a time-consuming herculean effort
Training should be sustainable and repeatable. The "Go Hard or Go Home" mantra is fine for the young and gifted, but it will lead to burn out for many. Do things you don't hate, and don't do things you like to the point you start to hate them.

* Do something. Anything is infinitely better than nothing
Don't have time? Then do a couple warm-up sets and one solid work set and call it a day. Long term, making a bunch of minimum payments is going to have greater impact than skipping them all together.

In 2016, following the tenets above, I managed to do some kind of strength training 267 days out of 366. That's averaging a touch more than 5 days a week and that's not bad! I finished the year feeling good overall and did 20 chins for the first time in over 20 years. I will adjust my goals in 2017 to better address areas I want to improve, and I'll share that in my next post.

- Boris