2 + 2 = 5
In the book 1984, protagonist Winston Smith finds himself in a bit of a situation. In discussion with a friend, they debate whether or not 2 + 2 = 4 or does it equal 5 like they have been told. For some, the idea of 2 + 2 = 5 is all they know and they follow along with that line of thought but Smith knows better. So, he has a choice to make: speak out or follow along. If he doesn't say anything, then the misinformation wins. If he decides to speak out, he may be ostracized, penalized, or worse. This type of scenario plays out in two areas that I am closely connected to.
In athletics, multi-sport participation is shown to decrease likelihood of injury, reduce the risk of burnout and promote long term development well beyond high school. In fact, most college coaches in the country want their kids to play multiple sports. This is 2 + 2 = 4. Unfortunately, the information being shared by youth, club or high school coaches contradicts what is known to be best and parents feel pressured or don't have a great understanding of what is best for their kid and follow the coaches guidance (2 + 2 = 5).
When it comes to raising kids, we know excess screen time is bad. It leads to decreased physical activity, sleep disruptions, behavioral issues, delays in social skills, and attention problems. As parents, we know this and do what we can to limit it (2 + 2 = 4). Contrary to this, some local schools think otherwise and choose to use iPads for everything causing kids to be on screens 8+ hours a day (2 + 2 = 5). There are some things in the world I do not understand and this is one of them! (click here for more on the topic)
Fitness Tip of the Week
Last week I woke up at 11:40 pm and couldn't really move. My legs were slightly numb and the back muscles in my lower back were tight. I tried to sit up and failed. I rolled off the bed and hoped it was all a dream and went back to sleep with the idea that I would wake up feeling better. This was wishful thinking!
So, after this surprise, I decided to take some time off and then press the reset button. For the first 2-3 days, I did nothing but rest. I wanted to let the inflammation process take its course and on the third day, I started to add in some gentle stretching and did a 20 minute walk. On the following day, the return to training began!
Coming back from time off, there were three components I wanted to focus on: Strength, Mobility and Work Capacity. For the strength exercises, I wanted to hit a push and pull for the upper body and then a squat and hip hinge for the lower body. For the mobility, I wanted to help my back heal so I found four exercises that would help promote that. For the work capacity, I wanted to perform a few exercises that were back friendly, core strengthening, and challenging. To find out the details of the program, watch this short video on how I programmed the exercises (click here for the program) and were able to complete them in my living room!
Lessons from the Spartans
Every few years I either read or listen to the book Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. This book is about the Battle of Thermopylae in which 300 Spartan soldiers were sent to defend the area known as the Hot Gates. The movie 300 was inspired by this tale. Each time I read/listen to this book, something new and thought provoking stands out. This time around, it was a conversation between a young soldier and his mentor Dienekes...
Dienekes told his protege that the mind is like a house with many rooms. There are rooms one must NOT go into. Some of those rooms include anger, fear, jealousy, envy, revenge, etc. Any of these passions will lead "the mind toward that "possession" which undoes men in war." Think to moments in your life where you have felt emotions so strong that your mind does not think rationally. Think of those times when you were furious, envious, jealous, and angry: Were you thinking clearly or thinking in a reactionary way? According to Dienekes, it is “that yielding to fear or anger which robs an army of order and reduces it to a rabble." In our own lives, operating that way with our mind possessed by those emotions robs us of thinking clearly and living.
So what are you to do when these situations arise? Prepare yourself for anything in a stoic like manner. Respond to situations rather than react and remember, “Habit will be your champion. When you train the mind to think one way and one way only, when you refuse to allow it to think in another, that will produce great strength in battle.” Our battleground will not be as daunting as what Dienekes and the 300 Spartans faced at Thermopylae, but the lessons still relate! (click here for more on this topic)
What I've Been Reading
Why Not Me: An A to Z Memoir and Self Help Guide for Overcoming Adversity, Addiction, and Relentlessly Pursuing Life Goals by Jason Brader
Back when I first started coaching, there was a guy who gave me an opportunity to start working with athletes. He invited me into his gym, had me work speed camps alongside him, and even took me along on a trip to work with the Philadelphia Flyers organization. This man was Jason Brader, the author of the book mentioned above.
A few years ago he published his first book and this past week, I finally opened it to give it a read. In it, he discusses his battle with addiction, losing both of his parents to cancer in high school, chasing his dream and so much more!
Quote of the Week
"Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.” — George Washington
I hope you all have an awesome week!
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