News & Notes
Today is Easter Sunday. For those who will be celebrating, I hope you have a wonderful day with your family!
In regards to Easter, there is one aspect of this holiday that I find to be very interesting and that is the idea of sacrificing something for lent. I am no religious scholar but my understanding of lent is this: Christians "replicate" Jesus Christ's sacrifice for 40 days. During this period of time, it is my understanding that Jesus fasted. So, during this period of lent, Christians decided that it would be good for all believers to sacrifice something for 40 days. I really like this idea and it sounds like the original 40 day challenge!
In my opinion, you can really learn a lot about yourself when you embark on a challenge. You will learn about how you handle moments of weakness, do you have the discipline to complete a task, can you stay on the path, can you continue to work even when you don't want to and the list continues! So to those who made a goal for 40 days and were able to accomplish it, kudos to you. You are a rare breed!
Fitness Tip of the Week
For much of my youth, and like most young men in America, the answer to the "How much can you bench?" question was of the utmost importance. During those teen years, if you could bench press two wheels, nothing else mattered in the gym. I often joke that I did enough bench press reps between the ages of 13-23 to last a lifetime. After years of this, my right shoulder got pretty cranky. I started looking into ways to help ease the crankiness and eventually decided I needed to make a change. My training had some serious asymmetry/imbalances and it needed to be corrected.
When you evaluate what you are doing in the gym, it is important to look at the big picture and identify where you have strengths and where you have weaknesses. Lets use these four human movements as data points: push, pull, squat, and hinge. If you were to chart these four data points, in a near perfect world, they would all be relatively comparable to one another. Issues arise when one of these data points far exceeds the others. For example, if your bench press is better than your squat, you are neglecting the squat and focusing too much on the bench press. To give you a visual, think about what a symmetrical diamond would look like drawn on a board. This is how you would want those four data points to be drawn. Perfect symmetry!
Now, visualize the drawing of a kite on the board. In this example, one of the data points is drawn way out beyond where it was on the diamond. In the example mentioned about, the bench press would far exceed the other lifts and the result would be asymmetry. What happens when there is asymmetry? INJURY! I hope this makes sense but if there is any confusion, check out the video breakdown here: Finding a Balance in the Gym... and Life!
What I've Been Reading...
Custer Died for your Sins by Vine Deloria Jr.
A few months ago I listenied to an interview with the Executive Director of the Association on American Indian Affairs Shannon O'Loughlin. In it, she was asked which book one should read if they are interested in learning more on the plight of the American Indian and she answered, "Custer Died for your Sins". Then, as I was perusing a unique book store in Easton, Pa, I came across this title and purchased it!
The title itself is a bit dark as it implies the massacre of General Custer and his Cavalry as just, but when you get into it, you begin to understand where the author is coming from. Mr. Deloria is incredibly knowledgeable, and quite witty, which makes it a very smooth read. At the end of the day, the story of the American Indian is an incredibly sad tale that involves the slaughtering of tribes, forced assimilation, broken treaties, deception from the government, and tons more. This was a huge part of American History but seems to be a topic not often discussed. I have been diving deep into this time period and can't seem to get enough of it!
What I've Been Thinking About...
FAILING. At the start of the New Year I set a goal for myself to lose 10 pounds in four months. With COVID wreaking havoc on our country I thought it could be a good thing to drop some pounds, lose a few inches off the belly, and decrease my bodyfat. The plan I laid out had me losing four pounds in month one, three pounds in month two, two pounds in month three, and one pound in month four. I called it the 4321 plan. I was able to reach my goal for January and February but missed hitting my goal weight for March. So, I had a choice to make. Option one, call myself a failure, quit trying, and forget about the fact that I dropped 8 pounds in three months. Option two, take all the progress as a win and celebrate that I decreased my waist one-quarter of an inch in March even though I missed my target weight. Old School Chris might have went with option one and moved on to a different program. New school Chris is riding the course and choosing option two. Now it is time to drop the last two pounds and hit the mark!
I guess the moral of this story is that we always have a choice. Are we going to have a good day or are we going to have a bad day. We decide how we respond to situations. Choose wisely!
Quote of the Week
"To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge" -- Confucius
I hope you all have an awesome week!