What I've Been Thinking About...
I had a great conversation this week with a friend from my childhood, Pastor Matt Gorkos (click here to watch). During the discussion we talked about all kinds of things but at the end of the talk, I came to the realization that what he does for work, what I do for work, and what all the other coaches, teachers, and spiritual leaders do in their profession is try to provide what we called "The Third Place".
The third place is where you spend most of your time outside of work/school and family. The third place can be the gym, a bar, Twitter, your living room watching the news, a martial arts studio, etc. It is literally where you spend your time outside of your two non-negotiable obligations. There is an old adage that goes, "You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with". When you go about looking for a third place, make sure it is a positive environment that can enrich your life. If you surround yourself with good people in good places, you will see those positive influences carry over into your everyday life.
Fitness Tip of the Week
Sticking with last weeks theme, we are going to introduce the next step in building a strong cardiovascular system. After completing a few weeks of intervals, it is now a good time to add in some longer, slower runs. During this time, an increase in training frequency is of a greater importance than an increase in intensity. What I mean by that is that I would prefer you take a brisk 30 minute walk every morning than one or two grueling workouts each week. 7 days of movement is greater than 2 days of movement. Focus on frequency before intensity.
When identifying how hard to work while training, I like to follow the incredible advice from Phil Maffetone and what has been deemed the "MAF Method". Here is how it works: MAF Method is where you take 180 and subtract your age from it. If you are 40 years old, you take 180 - 40 and get 140 bpm. Your goal should be to stay between 130-140 for the entire time. If you don't track your heart rate, use the talk test to gauge your intensity level. At this pace, you should be able to have a full conversation for the entirety of the session. If you get short of breath and cannot speak in sentences, you are going too hard. The reason for this pace is that bodies start to break down when they are trained at too high of intensities for too long. Remember the goal: exercise frequency. We want to feel energized by our training, not totally depleted. We are in this thing for the long haul.
How to implement into your weekly plan...
I would start with a goal of staying in the MAF numbers for three 20 minute sessions per week. Nothing more, nothing less. When that is accomplished, add 2-5 minutes and continue doing this until you reach 40 minutes of staying in the MAF zone, three times per week. At this point, your conditioning should be greatly improved as well as your body composition. Keeping the heart rate in this zone has been a staple in the world of bodybuilding to burn fat and get leaner. If it worked for them it will most likely work for you!
What I've Been Reading
Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield
This guy is one of my favorite authors. His historical fiction books are incredible and so are his motivational, kick in the butt books. This title in particular is a follow-up to his book The War of Art. In each, he discusses chasing your true calling and overcoming the obstacles that everyone will encounter on their journey.
Over the course of the book he shares stories of personal failures, his contemplation with suicide, historical lessons, and provides the theme of everything you do is practice. You keep showing up. You keep working. You never quit. Often times I think about all the great potential in this world that gave up before the going gets good. They could have literally been one day away from achieving their dream but instead, they quit. Pressfield doesn't want you to quit. He wants you to press on!
In reading Turning Pro, Pressfield shared a story about an experience he had with a world-class horse trainer. As he went to view a training session of these beautiful thoroughbreds, he thought he was going to see examples of intense training and discipline. Instead, what he saw, was what looked like play. When he asked the world class trainer about this, the response he got was, "A horse that loves to run will beat a horse that's compelled, every day of the week".
This, to me, identifies the power of intrinsic motivation compared to extrinsic motivation. The horse doesn't run hard becase his trainer is going to give him a treat or because he is scared. He wants to run hard because the trainer created an environment that encouraged that horse to want to do it on his own volition. The key words here are because he WANTS TO, not because he HAD TO. This is a great lesson for all of us who coach or parent. Create the environment where the child wants to do the right thing, not because of some external factor, but because they choose to.
Quote of the Week
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” -- Rachel Carson
I hope you all have an awesome week!