A dip in strength

I felt a noticeable dip in strength yesterday as I trained with my kettlebell. A fluctuating sleep schedule, the sudden rise in temperature, and food were factors.

Personal trainers find it difficult to maintain their own wellness. While I don’t like to call myself one, I am training someone in strength and it is private training. The difficulty with this industry is that most people want training either before or after work. That means very early hours or later hours. For me it’s early, which I actually love doing, but I’m not getting up as early on my days off. So my sleep cycle breaks.

I started my training much later in the day today too, when my energy dipped a bit. I had a lot of sugar the day before in St. Louis style barbeque made by a friend, which was delicious, so I don’t regret it. But this did affect my energy level even more yesterday.

As I started my warm up exercises, I felt light headed. On the first set of swings I knew it wasn’t going to be a great session. I did my best to maintain technique and made it through most of the sets without issue, minus one. On the last rep of one of my sets, I lost focus and just felt the weight yank down on my arm. I didn’t get injured, but 24kg dropping is not a pleasant feeling.

Getups were fine. It seemed that my energy had a much shorter time limit. I could give full output on the first few swings, but then later in the set I felt my strength diminish. Right after each getup, my strength just left me.

Such is the downside to inconsistent behavior and environment. Although I’m not happy with my training session, I’m not disappointed either. Life brings days like this and I’m just glad that the worst to happen was a dip in training performance.

Some grass fed steak, lots of water, plenty of magnesium and vitamin C, and a good night’s sleep should do the trick.

Live powerfully,

Steve

Never Too Late To Eat Well

It’s never too late to eat leafy green veggies.

It’s never too late to eat healthy fat.

It’s never too late to try wild caught fish instead of farmed.

It’s never too late to buy from the closest farmers’ market.

It’s never too late to eat well.

It’s never too late to rethink what you’ve been doing your whole life, and how you could do things differently for your own good.

It’s never too late to ask questions and find answers.

Until the moment you tell yourself it doesn’t make a difference.

Until you say you’re too old, too fat, too tired.

Until you think you aren’t that kind of person.

Until you blame it on someone else.

What difference does it make? No one’s keeping tabs. You have every right to seek what’s good for you. Your happiness is yours to find. Your health is yours to build and protect. Your life is yours and no one else’s ultimate treasure.

Who cares what you’ve been eating up until today. Who cares whether you’ve been misinformed, or manipulated into eating things that make you feel bad. If you have the will, you will find your way.

Your diet is your responsibility. It is your well being. The food you eat is what becomes you. It makes the body that you have. So you have every right to eat well.

If you want to eat good food that makes you feel good in every way, but you won’t because you are confused, ashamed, embarrassed, shy, or scared, I’m here to tell you that no one has the duty to approach you and lead you to it. I would do it if I could. But I can’t, and no one else can.

I had to go from one source to the next, to the next, and another, to find truth. I thought that if it was in print, or from the government, that the food I ate would be good for me. I learned that that’s just simply not true.

I found that my health depends on what I eat. That the way I feel depends on what I eat. That my strength, my livelihood, my body, and my mind, depend on what I eat.

And when I learned this, I became angry. I was frustrated that I had followed the words of people who did not know, who did not care, and who wanted only something for themselves when they told me what to eat.

Then I decided to not follow. I decided to abandon the “food pyramid”, to pull the “doctor” down from his pedestal, and to shred the texts on food and eating that spoke for someone else.

I realized that I am the only one in this world who can choose for myself.

I realized that my Self is the one thing in this world I have the power, the responsibility, and the willingness for which to live.

I can blame no one else for my pain and my suffering. I can ask no one else to bring me out of it.

There is no other point. I am the point.

If this is you, too, take the lead in your life. Leave the diet and the paradigm and the thinking that hasn’t given you a life of fullness and joy. Just go. Get what you want, find what you are seeking, eat what you will.

Discover the power of food. Respect it. Own it.

Live powerfully,

Steve

The Mighty Strength Training Recovery Tool

Is sleep.

How I yearn for that delicious, thick crust, the crumbling surface of sleep from which I emerge well rested. I feel like a soggy pie dough, not quite done, damp and tender. I want that oven, set to the right temperature, and to be snug in there until I am golden brown, toasty, and fully set.
I’m still feeling significant soreness everywhere. I completed a second training session two days ago. After five months away from the gym, my strength is not what it used to be. I’m starting the 5×5 powerlifting progression again. The weights I’m using are nearly at ground zero. No problem. I did the squat, bench press, and deadlift.
My mobility is better, though, as I’ve been practicing that regularly while traveling. With the weight low, I was able to maintain good form through all the lifts. I want to move grains of sand with finesse, not die trying to push a mountain.
I can hardly sit on my butt without wincing. The first couple of sessions after a training stall are usually followed by exaggerated soreness, but recovery is taking longer than I expected.
I looked up my old notes on recovery, and laughed. The recovery tool I listed as number one was sleep. It was funny because it’s so basic and so true.
It’s funny that I can have the best food, supplements, and ample mobility exercises, and still not feel close to a hundred percent without sleep. When I sleep, it’s like preparing for war. I take my dose of magnesium, vitamin C, and kelp. I make sure my grounding mat is plugged in and positioned at my feet. I make sure the blinds are closed away from me, so that the sun doesn’t leak through at an angle in the morning. I try my best to keep the room cool. After meditation and journaling, and reading, I finally plug my ears and cover my eyes.
Right now I don’t have the luxury of all that. I discovered that ear plugs cause a little allergic reaction and make me cough. The sun comes up early. Dogs bark. So I need to make do. Still figuring things out.
There is contradictory research out there about sleep and physical recovery. Animals were observed to sleep longer after exercise. People were found to have different hormone responses to exercise, which affected sleep quality and duration. Those who had steady adrenal function also had longer stage 3 (deepest non-REM) sleep. And the few that had changed adrenal function had the same or shorter stage 3 sleep. There seemed to be a compensation between sleep and adrenal function.
But another study showed that people who exercised in the morning did not sleep more or less, while people who exercised in the evening slept more. This led to a new hypothesis that recovery might also take place when a person is awake.
For me, it could be the perception of soreness and tiredness that lingers without ample sleep. Whether it’s psychological or physiological, it makes no difference to me. I need deep sleep, a lot of it, to recover from training.
The bake of life. Sleep. When the juices have time to flow, growth hormone, testosterone, vitamins, minerals, fluids reach each and every cell with nourishment and repair and improvement. The kneading, cutting, and garnishes of life come together in sleep.
Ah, sleep, I will find you!
Let’s do ourselves a favor. Sleep the deepest possible sleep you can tonight. See how it feels in the morning.
Live powerfully,
Steve
P.S., anyone know a good way to keep out noise other than foam ear plugs?
Sleep Hacks
Research

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

Eat Powerfully

My wife and I met with an old friend (by “old” I mean elementary school days) in Hayward for brunch the other day. It was past one in the afternoon and neither of us had eaten. We were all eager to get something to eat, but not suffering from hunger.

In passing, we brought up the fact that both of us often train on empty stomachs. For both of us, it was common that a good workout happened without food for several hours. When I say good workout, I mean a focused, energy-steady, and positivity-surging session of training.

I mentioned to my friend that without eating, I am able to maintain steady focus and get a lot of work done. As long as I have a task at hand, I feel just fine. If I have nothing to do, though, it’s common that I get hungry sooner in the day. He agreed, saying he thought it was the distraction from food that enabled us to drive forward without it.

I don’t think it’s necessary to gloat over the fact that I can go through the day without food. I’m not an ascetic, I eat a lot, especially at night, and I love love love food. But I think it’s important to see what’s going on with each of our own selves in the realm of hunger, satiety, productivity, focus, and overall effectiveness and quality of life.

If we can master the knowledge of our needs and our natural ebbs and flows of energy, we can position ourselves to be effective at the time we are needed and rest ourselves when we are not. We can consume our resources when they are most effective to our minds and bodies, and we can set them aside when they’ll have little to do with the outcomes of life.

I speak to the short and long term for myself in terms of food and eating. On a short term, day to day basis, I’ve reduced my eating to twice a day. I have butter coffee in the morning, and a large dinner at night. As for the long term, I’ve been living with this eating schedule for the past four years without any sign of energy deficit, malnutrition, or chronic illness.

The only significant break from this has been my three and half month long travel this year. There have been differences while I was overseas and backpacking. I’ll get more into this in another post. I want to focus on long term pattern and effects here.

People have asked me if I don’t get stomach problems from eating so much at night. In fact, I’ve never felt better since having fats in the morning and eating all of my food at night. My stool is regular, my energy is regular and full, and my body is well-toned and responsive. As long as I follow this well-fitted pattern of eating and nutrition.

The truth is, I’ve always had digestive issues. Since I was a teenager, I’ve had bad gas and upset stomach much of the time. I remember so many nights out with friends, during deep talks, where I was just dying from the struggle to hold in my farts.

Looking back, and with my present knowledge and experience, most of this had to do with what I ate. So much wheat in the form of bread, pasta, and sweets, bad fats, and milk were among the culprits. I had energy when I did, and I forced energy when I had none. I was often exhausted at night and in the morning.

This unnatural living created a deficit that continues to suck energy from me today. I’ve found the gaping holes and leaks and stopped the flooding, but I’m still getting leaks of energy here and there. Enough with the analogy.

At thirty years, I’m at a sort of turning point. I know what’s good for me. I’ve discovered it. During my mid to late twenties, I went to all ends to capitalize on it. I did everything I could, within my means, to make myself better. I had to with the circumstances I was in, but I also wanted to.

Now I’m at the tail end of this stage of awe at what has been discovered. Many, many other people, including you, have also found out that we’ve been in a matrix version of the truth about nutrition and eating. And you’ve also come to navigate your way through the webs of lies spun around us. Something was not working but everyone was trying to ignore the skips in the beat. The glitches.

The thing about our world, as opposed to that of the Matrix, is that even though we’ve been out in the cold, hard reality, and have found how to light the fire and thrive, the webs continue to spin around us. Just go to the nearest “health foods” or “farmer’s market” store and see how many gluten-free and paleo products line the shelves. They’ve simply taken the spotlight from cereals, which are still the next aisle over, and they’ve become the new idea of healthy eating.

The matrix of this world continues to expand. We’ve definitely torn away the webs at the fringes and made our way out, but it’s more like Harry Potter’s Triwizard Tournament hedge maze. It keeps growing, changing directions, and trying to engulf us.

What to do? Remember that the prize lies within you. I have to keep the focus on me. I have to remember, day to day, and year to year, that the ultimate goal with eating, food, and wellness is my own self. The closer I can get to fulfilling the center of me, the further I stay from the web of the food matrix.

Yes, there is truly good stuff out there. You can find good food. Clean veggies. Happy meat. People who give a damn, who want you to share in the wellness of their products. People who do the high level research to find more of the truth to share with us.

We’ll find it, we’ll invest in it, it will grow, and truth and goodness and thriving will overcome the lies and suffering. We’ll keep guiding each other, and the universe will fill in the gaps.

The key is to stay true to yourself. Seriously, that’s all.

Live powerfully, eat powerfully,

Steve

P.S., a big thanks to my friend for coming out and sharing deep thoughts. If you read this, you know who you are.

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

How Earthing Balances Immune Response

I love earthing. It calms me down and helps me recover from exercise, infection, and anxiety. Here’s a scientific stance on earthing as it relates to inflammation. Read this great research paper for the nitty gritty.

Our bodies respond to exercise, infection, or injury damage by immune response. The immune response sends oxidative bursts that clear damaged tissue at the site of injury. This makes room for building healthy tissue. Think muscles getting bigger after training. Or you feeling amazing after all the coughing, sneezing, green yellow snot, and fevers from an infection. There’s a breakdown, then a buildup. Same response, different concentrations.

It’s called “oxidative burst” because agents are produced that have reactive oxygen molecules. The molecules have open-ended electrons that react with other molecules that make up the cells in our bodies. A common one made by our immune systems is superoxide. Contact with these molecules is called oxidation, and it leads to cell death. That’s why you don’t want to eat “oxidized fats”. They’re damaged by oxygen in the air, UV, and overcooking. The damaged fat’s free radicals will react with your body if you eat them.

The problem with the oxidative burst cell clearing process is that it affects surrounding healthy tissue. Oxidative bursts are not sniper shots. They are more like shotgun sprays in the general area. So what should have been protection for a tiny cut can become a whole swollen limb, if your immune system is not held in check. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.

Now for the experiment from the research paper. A group of people were subjected to soreness from calf raises. They were divided into earthed and non-earthed groups for the recovery period. Half of the subjects were given earthing mats and patches on their calves, and the other half were given placebo treatment. According to this research, swelling and muscle pain lasted longer for those who were not grounded. The subjects who were grounded experienced quicker resolution of swelling and pain. They also saw quicker white blood cell clearing from the repair areas. The ungrounded subjects had white blood cells lingering much longer.

So what’s the connection? Grounded means Earthed. Earthed means connected by bare skin to the surface of the Earth. The studies conducted regarding tissue inflammation and Earthing used grounding mats (example). These are semi conductive mats or patches that are attached to a person’s skin and plugged into the ground. The electrical connection to the ground brings the person to about the same voltage as the Earth.

That’s because they are connected to the earth’s electron supply. And electrons are antioxidants. Antioxidants diffuse oxidation within tissue. Remember that an oxidized molecule has a free electron, or free radical that makes it harmful. So a free electron from the earth or a donated one from vitamin C can stabilize the oxidant and stop the killing process.

So when you’re hurt, your body sends the immune response. White blood cells go there, and start clearing out dead tissue or killing off pathogens with free radicals like superoxide. The oxidative products from this cause inflammation at and around the injury. If you’re earthed, the balance comes from free electrons from the earth. They quickly subdue the killing, swelling, and pain. It’s nature’s balance.

If you’re making contact with the ground, an unlimited supply of free electrons from the earth are passing into your body. They are stored throughout your tissue and can eventually be used at the site of an injury, to resolve an inflammatory immune response.

If you’re not grounded, you don’t get that influx of electrons. Sure, there are antioxidants from foods and chemicals like bilirubin and vitamin C. But these are limited supplies, especially if we are not feeding ourselves with antioxidant-rich foods. Not only are we not eating enough nutritious foods, we are also eating oxidized fats and keeping the balance tipped toward inflammation.

When earthing, think electrically. Anything that doesn’t conduct electricity between you and the ground blocks that flow of free electrons. Rubber, wood, plastic, floor finish, glass, you name it. Dirt, grass, water, wet sand, and even concrete, with water molecules throughout it’s structure, are conductors and semiconductors that will allow earth’s electrons to flow into you. You don’t need much. Our bodies are hyper sensitive to electricity. The minuscule flow of electrons from the ground is enough to help us.

Without free and mobile electrons from the earth, inflammation lasts longer than it needs to. Swelling gets bigger than necessary. And sometimes, even if the initial hurt subsides, the inflammation never really goes away. Not only are we experiencing inflammation from injury, exercise, and infection, we are also getting it from environmental toxins and the food we eat.

The key is to keep the balance tipped in favor of quick healing and minimal inflammation. Earthing will keep your supply of electrons full and push you toward thriving.

Live powerfully,

Steve

Deep Sleep Dashes Sickness

I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

It had been five days since returning from a three month trip. We were living in a time zone 16 hours ahead of California. I was jet lagged with a runny nose, sore throat, sinus pressure, cough, and body aches. Vitamin C megadosing, sun bathing, and earthing were only scratching the surface. I just wasn’t getting enough sleep.

I don’t know why I didn’t think about it sooner, but yesterday it occurred to me that I should wear ear plugs to bed. Normal neighborhood and house noises, however subtle, were waking me up earlier than I wanted. So I plugged up and covered my eyes from light. I also kept a small fan on to keep the temperature down. The summer heat was adding to this sleep deprivation.

With these simple little hacks, it was cool, dark, and quiet at night.

And damn, but I slept like a log. I woke up like a dragon from it’s thousand year slumber. I swept the blanket aside like it was piles of gold being hurled aside by the dragon’s monstrous, scaly tail. I breathed deep, loving the air as much as the reptilian beast would after such an abysmal sensory absence. Seeing the sunlight filtering through the window, I was the dragon emerging from his cave. I flexed and stretched my fresh limbs, feeling blood surge through my tissues.

The achiness was gone. My nose was no longer runny. The sinus pressure was minimized. There was just the slightest sense of head cold left. I was coughing up green phlegm, which is a good sign for me. Still rusty, but I’m on the downhill side of recovery now.

As I stretched out in the sun, I felt better and better. Sleep, I thought again as I have many times in the past, is such an effective tool for human wellness. A UPenn study showed that flies who slept more recovered and survived longer than their brethren who didn’t sleep as much. Sleep triggered the gene pathway NFkB in flies.

NFkB regulates immune response, in addition to DNA transcription and cell survival. Other studies showed that problems with this gene activation were linked to cancer, inflammation and autoimmune disease, and uncontrolled infection.

Sleep, then, as the trigger for this gene expression, has a lot to do with recovery from illness.

Once again, I can attest to this. One night of good sleep dashed away the effects of jet lag, body aches, and misery. I’m betting that one more night will do away with the rest of this pesky cold. Of course, I’m going to keep up the vitamin C dosage, sun time, and everything else.

One hint to getting good sleep if you just can’t: try staying up instead of napping. A bit of sleep deprivation can help with prolonging sleep later and increasing stimulation of NFkB, as the fly researchers found.

Live powerfully,

Steve

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

Jet Lag Recovery

I am tired.

We flew in from Taipei last night. It was a full day of plane rides, bus station exploration, hot spring bathing, and more plane riding. I’m fatigued, jet lagged, and sore throated.

I stayed up for most of the overnight flight. In Pacific time, it was morning when we took off. But since it was 11:30 p.m. in Taipei, I had to pull two full days of wakefulness. Even with the exhaustion, sleep didn’t last too long last night. I meditated and had magnesium before bed, which helped. But I woke up around 5:30 a.m.

Although I was tired, I didn’t want to struggle back to sleep to wake up late in the afternoon. So I stayed up and slowly awoke. I made butter coffee with a blender for the first time in weeks. I was also able to add cacao butter and vanilla powder, two ingredients I sorely missed during travel. The resulting concoction was heavenly.

My game plan is to take vitamin C throughout the day, stay up until bed time, exercise, and take a good dose of magnesium at night. The C is going to help with my throat and also with my general well being. After all that traveling, with sweets on the plane, and lack of sleep, my body really needs the extra antioxidant boost. Now that I’m home, I have my powder form of vitamin C. Just mix into a glass of water. It’s my favorite way to take it.

Earthing is also key to recovery from jet lag. I got outside as soon as I woke and spent some time with the dogs, barefoot on the concrete. Later in the afternoon, I had a barefoot squat session. Reconnecting with the Earth’s electromagnetic field is essential to healing. Getting good sun time also feels magnificent.

I can’t wait to get up refreshed tomorrow morning.

Live powerfully,

Steve

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

Your Share of the Sun

The beast didn’t have exact measures. But he thought it was true that there was an optimal amount of sun exposure each day. He knew there was a certain time of day that the sun radiated good feelings through him.

There were also times of the day when it merely burned him and didn’t give him warm energy. He knew he did not feel well if he were not in the sunlight for more than a day. So the beast tried to go out into the sun, at least once a day, in the late morning and early afternoon.

When he first paid attention, and sat in the sunlight as it glowed down on him in the late morning, it felt amazing. He became vibrant and happy. It was so good he did this again the next day, and the next, and the next.

One day, the beast wanted to have as much sunlight as possible. He stayed outside in the bright day a very long time. At first he felt wonderful, just like the days before. The grass was green, the breeze tickled the trees around him, and the birds chortled with glee. The sun filled the beast with joy. But he became greedy and wanted more. He sat, and sat, and sat. Then he felt dizzy and weak, as though the sun were leeching energy from him. He knew it was time to go home to his cave.

The next day, as the beast washed himself, he noticed that his skin had darkened more than usual. In some places, it looked dry and wrinkled, like aged leather. It was soft, but no longer firm and strong. His skin was hurt, and he was humbled. He was astonished by the power of the sun. It brought him life, but it also ushered in death.

So there was a balance. Sunlight was good. And it was very good in the late morning and early afternoon. It made him calm and happy. He slept deeply at night and woke bright and energized. But meetings with the sun were only good for him if he respected the power of the sun. It was important that he retreat with his gift before he paid the price of overindulgence. He thought about this at length and decided it was worth the risk of death to seek life from the sun.

The beast made a daily effort to make his appointment with the sun. He went out into the daylight, receiving his share of the life giving force shining down on the earth. He walked amongst the trees, flowers, and grass that also received their share. He paid close attention to see when it was time to retreat. Some days he could take much, and other days he could not. He learned that when he was tired, he could not have as much. But it was fine. When he was well rested, he could have more. Soon, it all began to make sense.

He encouraged other humans to take part in this powerful thing. Many of his kind had shied away from it, afraid of the death it could bring. Humans were intelligent beasts, and had wanted to separate themselves from the rest of the world, and from each other. They learned that many things brought death, forgetting that those same things, taken humbly, gave life. So humans restricted themselves from the earth and from the universe. They thought that they could become immortal by doing so.

They covered themselves in pastes that shielded them from the sun’s magic. Their intelligence often outweighed their instinct. But in hiding from death, they had forsaken life. So the beast kept telling them of the wonders of the sun.

Slowly, humans learned to cast away their fears and let the sun touch their bare skin. They came to experience the joy of the sun. People were all different, and so were their needs for this source of energy. Some beasts found that a small amount of time in the sun was ample. Others found they needed to be in the sun longer. Each had her own share and learned to take humbly.

Those that learned to see themselves as part of a world from which they could not part in mind nor body learned to dig deeper into the earth and the universe. They became even greater. Their energy surpassed those of beasts who chose to remain separate, because their energy incorporated that of the universe. With that energy and love they chose to encourage the rest of their kind to embrace life.

And with time, every brilliant beast shared in the same sun and vibrated with the energy of the universe.

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

Worth Your Salt

Know the importance of salt.

It keeps you hydrated by helping your cells retain water. Lack of salt will pull water into the bloodstream and out of your body. The more water you drink at this point, without salt, the more dehydrated you will get. Your cells need a concentration of salt. They will let water go to reach it.

Salt is also a key factor involved in neuron activation. Sodium, potassium, and calcium balance each other in the firing of nerve signals. Lack of salt can mean lessened control of your body.

Salt helps to restore the endocrine system, or your hormone control center. When you’ve had a stressful day, your endocrine glands are spent from pumping out adrenaline. Many symptoms of fatigue and lightheadedness and lack of focus can be resolved with more salt.

Our society has placed a misinformed taboo on salt. Like many strange things we think, aversion to salt can slowly kill people. Salt is not only normal and okay to eat, it is essential for good health. It is critical to survival and instrumental to thriving.

Roman soldiers were paid in salt for their services. The word salary comes from this form of payment. A soldier “worth his salt” was one who performed well.

If you’re not taking a pinch of salt with water here and there, at least be liberal with it in cooking. If you’re craving something salty, follow that. It won’t kill you. That’s just not true. Eating salt in healthy amounts is good for you. And you will most likely experience a revival in energy with a resupply of salt to your system.

I like to take a pinch, or just under a gram, with water at the start of the day if I’m feeling tired upon waking. Before a training session or a long walking day during travel, extra salt helps me a lot. It keeps me hydrated and safe from those small headaches and fatigue that come from heat. When I’m cooking I add salt until the food tastes satisfying. There’s no reason to hold back. My body knows what I need. I also pay attention to whether I’m satisfied after dinner. Sometimes that strange second gear of hunger comes from a need for salt.

Salt. So old, yet so new. Get familiar with it. How strange we are in our ultra modern, overly tinkered stage of human health.

Live powerfully,

Steve

Mobility in lieu of strength training

NL 86 Handstand The Brilliant Beast Blog.JPG

Brilliant Friends!

We’re back in Jakarta for a few days. Bali was an incredible experience again, five years after the last time I was there. Now it’s time to rest. Some quick thoughts on maintaining strength during travel.

Basically, I don’t have the luxury of strength training in a gym as I travel. Instead I have the luxury of travel. No desk to sit at, no car to commute in, and lots and lots of walking and moving. Still, mobility exercises are key to staying limber and keeping my tissues “flushed” with fluid. With a single exercise band and some creativity, I maintain a full range of movement practices on the road.

The points of interest for me are the hips and shoulders. These joints get tight the quickest and they’re the biggest foci of movement. This was true at home as much as during travel. Sitting all day at work and home and commute caused major stickiness there, and it was super important to mobilize with that sedentary lifestyle. However, regular walking was not a part of everyday life for me until about three months ago. So at the end of a long day of moving about on my feet, my joints and muscles start to tighten up. They want to return to their comfortable, remembered range of motion and elasticity. I’m training them to grow beyond that.

The exercise that really hits the sweet spot for me is the hip mobility stretch. By getting down in the squat position on one leg, and keeping the other leg back, I can isolate the tight points within each hip joint. Here’s an example from Las Vegas:

A variation is the table top hip stretch. It’s like the hip mobility exercise but focuses more on the outermost edges of hip range of motion. One leg is placed up on the table like a hunk of mutton, crossed in front. The other leg holds me up, foot forward and close to vertical. The stretch is initiated by pushing back with the butt. I move my torso from one side to the other, keeping it straight, to lean into different areas of tightness.

To get the shoulders freshened up, I utilize the arm dislocation exercise. It’s a silly name that doesn’t represent the actual movement well. A stick, pole, or exercise band can be used for this. Simply hold the pole with a wide double overhand grip, or palms facing down, and bring the bar overhead and backward. Don’t let go. If it’s too hard, widen the grip. You will be bringing the pole all the way back and down to your butt behind you without letting go of your grip. Then, reverse.

On the road, I have my band. It’s slightly trickier than a sturdy pole, because it stretches at the point of greatest tension. This is when my arms are in the upper back position. It can actually make it easier to do the movement, since there’s some give, but I have to make sure that my grip is consistent and I keep my wrists rigid. Otherwise, I won’t get the proper shoulder rotation. If I do it properly, I can feel a great stretch in my pecs, front shoulders, and biceps.

The big question in all this for me is, how strong am I after such a long hiatus from weightlifting?

Well, I’ve yet to test myself in the lab we call “the gym”. When I do I’ll be sure to report the results. I feel reasonably strong. I don’t know if I can shoulder 300 lbs. and squat it at the drop of a hat, but I’m pretty sure I can warm up to it within a few days.

Mobility exercises and body weight training every two or three days is keeping me fairly limber and capable. Eating as much good fat as I can afford and find helps too. This was quite manageable in Bali, where pigs are raised by farmers and are all domestic. The strict attention to preserving the breed and the largely vegetable feed produces an unparalleled pork. Whatever the various reasons that Bali is called a paradise, the luscious pork is a top marker for me.

I haven’t been strict with avoiding wheat and other sweets in the last couple of weeks. Temptation is great, and living out of inns and hotels that provide breakfast greatly distracted me. I could have had higher energy levels with a better diet, but I’ve maintained body fat and muscle composition. Keeping up the fat intake has helped.

Live powerfully,

Steve

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily