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Greetings all.

If you are not familiar with the condition as it is reported, Seasonal Affective Disorder is an association of crappy weather and crappy feelings.

Enter: Alice In Chains.

Not quite.  But I also enjoy Soundgarden.

 I have heard of Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD as it applies to house pets), and Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D to upright mammals), first hand accounts both.

Dogs eating a bathroom when an owner leaves for work.

Humans listing corresponding symptoms detailing reductions in the quality of previously satisfactory functions.  Or feelings.  Or metrics.  These are likely instances to be reported when someone does not feel the benefit, due to the distance and disposition of the Sun. 

Vitamin D supplementation and ‘D’ in foods should be addressed to your specifications.

My personal experience with a lack of direct sunlight-being outdoors, irrespective of the temperature, is that in the winter months up here in the northern hemisphere, it takes less than a week before I receive a signal that something is missing.

This year, the signal came in the form of a sleep disturbance.  A signal which I had not previously known to be an issue in the winter months.

I say again: I typically do not have trouble sleeping in winter. 

I have had trouble sleeping my entire life, however.

With the measures from last autumn in place to help my quality of sleep, the table turned again as I noticed an interruption in nightly sleep which I can most directly associate with the absence of direct sunlight.

In order to draw that association, I was sure to observe several known contributors to sleep disturbance over the same period.

-My stimulant intake has been in check for over 18 months now (Copenhagen snuff, coffee, diet Coke)

-My room was warm and the blackout curtain sat in a tight seal around my only bedroom window

-I had exercised & logged, and practiced other stress resolution techniques regularly in the recent weeks

All checks in the box made, I looked at the hours I had been keeping and realized I was up 75 minutes before the sun and in some cases awake four hours past it’s departure.

Long days.

Also, long days with no UV exposure or vitamin D3 supplementation.

I have kept away from milk for years, and use as little cheese/yogurt as possible.  I prefer to limit my supplement intake to only 1 substance ingested per ‘cycle’.  That is to say: right now L-glutamine capsules are testing well and I am not taking anything else.  Dairy products and D3 supplementation have thier place with people, but it is not me, here this phase.

So, to take a proactive swipe at future degredation in productivity, I went into a tanning booth.

Yes, me and my $$$$$$ tattoo collection.

SPF 70?  Check, but possibly a futile check in a bad box to start with.

Electronic dance music from Europe for the 4-6-8-9 minute sessions?  Check.

Regrets? Nope.

I had to swing the pendulum the other way, and this was the angle I took.

Yes, I slept better.  Yes, I got tan.  I am not ashamed. It was free, and as far as I know it helped me.  I wanted to be better.

Why was it important that I sleep better?

Recently I came to this conclusion: if anything messes with my quality or quantities of sleep, it is my responsibility to aim for a prompt resolution in order to preempt the future damage to the remaining elements of my life.  These are

-My state

-My skills

-My contributions

Sh*tty sleep makes no one a better person more than one night a week.  Heck, after regular dalliances, go ahead and try to stay sharp and effective. After a few nights of disrupted practices, I’m ready to go ape on people.

Out & about all weekend, soon to watch your Monday melt into a stew of capsized priorities and chronology.

Well, that would be me, anyway. 

I was taught in the military that you can not train yourself to receive less sleep and be as effective a mammal as homeostasis would indicate.

As a means of continuing to make noteworthy progress in easily tallied forms like running, lifting, as well as fat reduction and even sales made at work, I address sleep as though it is the bedrock for my ‘how’.

My ‘how’ of course, is the desired state of low-drag high efficiency.  What I want out of my education with frankie Faires, Adam Glass, as well as Mike T. Nelson, is to be better in all forms.  Exercise is just something I do.  I have other responsibilities to myself, and have ignored them long enough.  Sleep is key. 

My quality of life, when increased, can Alley-oop the ‘whats’ in my life for a slam dunk.

Good sleep could mean faster physical recovery from awkward bending and reaching while cleaning the fitness center I work in.

Falling asleep faster could mean that i’ve made a real psychosomatic issue, which has been with me as long as I can remember, fade just a bit.

Here are measures I have taken, and will take further, in testing the associations and actions toward increased sleep quality & duration.

Yin & Yang.  Light and dark.  Waking and sleep can be the passing from one unto the other.

Daylight, lights, warmth, etc.

Blackened room, warmth, dogs in bed with me or in their beds, etc.

Day-Glo Nike wear.  Super ignorant colors and sweatshirts that, when worn on another person, would make me want to knock them out.

Training/moving early.  Even a stretch and a dog walk before the 530AM train, with varying degrees of frequency, intensity, and duration, can help align me towards the end of the day.

Speaking of early. . .yeah, being up early helps.

Special thank you and shout out to my client of ten years, Dr. Benson, who with her husband have been my true friends since we met.   We have known punk rock shows and dogs and drinks together.  To many more, L’chaim!  

Am I allowed to pose that toast?

Dr. Benson likes to train at 6AM every day she can.  730AM on weekends.  With Peet’s coffee on hand she is ready for every training session and never cancels or reschedules.  Beyond that, her preference of morning training sessions has helped me retain the course towards synthesis.

 Best in wear,

EW

 

Any memory from my years growing up in Delaware County, PA invariably features kids who were 1-3 years older than me.

Simply put, I was sharing moments in space and time with metal heads, butt rockers, mall-chicks, bikers & grease monkeys, guidos and stellas, first generation Americans and immigrants alike.  And way older than me, it seemed.

Numerous tales I spin start with the introduction of the ‘older kids’.  Like 6th and 9th graders.  Kids who shaved, or chose not to shave.

Kids who wore cologne and aftershave to the Friday night dances.  These were the Reagan-era Philly ‘limbo’ days.  The MOVE days.  The Frank RIZZO days, man.

So through my time down by the tracks, and then on to the overpass and rock quarry dancing days, I had hots on for anywhere involving dudes and girls who were rock n’ roll all night.

I heard a song on the radio in those days.  I can tell ya it was a Turkey day afternoon, around 230PM.  The classic rock of Philly, 94.1 WYSP offered up the full 10-plus minute Led Zeppelin opus “Achilles Last Stand”.  I was chopping up old white bread for mom’s turkey stuffing.  Never was a four-piece band received the same way after that.  I forever and ever graded four piece outfits (including harmonica from time to time), on the performance of the lead track from 1976’s Presence.

It wasn’t even my birthday and I had been gifted something incredible.  I already knew Zeppelin II & IV, as well as Houses Of the Holy all the way through.  I was like 13 or 14.  Not quite blown away by Pantera yet.  That is to say, I was still on the Misfits and Zeppelin, as well as Black Sabbath.  It was a glorious time to be a fan of guitar based music.  Led Zeppelin was about as ‘glorious’ as blues and rhythm could be.

But when “Achilles Last Stand” announces itself with those chords arriving seemingly from the reaches of where Achilles lay at rest now, my understanding of the carrer trajectory of Zep reached a new tier.

Gently signaling us to spare a moment for a score retelling the last battle fought, Achilles, the great warrior and son of Peleus, came alive through FM radio.

It rocked my gal-danged world.

This had to be 1992 or ’93.  I was not in a position to look anything up on what I did not even know was a world-wide-web.  There was no Prodigy or AOL in our home.  Instead I asked people if they knew what album the song was on.

 

After asking my mom & dad, and their pals, I pressed through all the kids I knew until a cook from the restaurant where I washed dishes told me it was on Presence.  An older kid had hookd me up.  This was several weeks later, mind you.  I recall the quest to find Achilles often, as a means to perspective.  How quickly can we score information these days?  Have you heard of the smart-phone software called ‘Shazzam!”?  That is how fast information travels.  I relish a nice delay in gratification, sometimes.  For certain things.  

After finding the album, I was full of stoke.  And if you can believe this, it was on CD in the public library.  I “took it out” of the Haverford twp. Free Library, and recorded it to cassette in my bedroom.

Long given as the answer to the seldom asked question ‘what’s your favorite Zeppelin album?’, Presence blew my doors off and took me to places where Jimmy Page and JPJ reigned o’er us from the throne they achieved by putting together what i will say is one of the most complete album recordings known to man.  Entertain yourself with a listen if you have a moment.  The funky, sweaty beats on a few of the mid-album tracks will make your mouth water for a cold glass of rum and a card game you take a part of sitting street-side in Havana.  The final song, “Tea for One”, I have always maintained is a natural progression form the story & musical outro of “Since I’ve Been Loving You”.

As a reflecting pool is to the long axis of an obelisk, I fall dreamily in line with the 44 minute masterpiece which details the farthest reaching capability of four English lads who loved the blues and trampled over the globe and their boundaries bound by nothing but a need to speak in sounds.

Have you a tale of triumph, told in song?

fitness_biceps_silhouette

 

Please click through here to read about the concept of #PReveryday.

The application of #PReveryday is this:

If you collect your workout data in a consistent manner, you should be able to detect an improvement with each passing day. Recall that i am speaking about effortless increases in either total work, heavier weight used, or work/time ratio.

I was introduced to ‘muscle testing’ in 2009 and hollered “VOODOO!” It took around 8 months for me to begin testing my movements, and shortly thereafter I began collecting PRs.

When Gym Movement protocol is guiding the practice of strength training [run, lift, swim, grip, it is all strength], there is an understanding that quality movement is the absence of effort (examples like excessive tension, altered breathing, alignment shifts). Collecting effortless Personal Records with movements you have tested and modified to your specifications is as easy as you make it.

If your exercise is tailored to you with muscle testing [if muscle testing  applies to you] and you collect your workout numbers in a very similar fashion every time, you can track and post the improvements.

When i run through the Gym Movement “order of operations”, it can take me somewhere between 45 seconds and three minutes to get a movement up to my ‘spec’. If you have not viewed a live demo of Gym Movement testing, check out my YouTube channel!

After i have the movement set up for my strength levels, tissue issues [injuries], goals, etc., i start the clock and get after it. I do not set out at every training session looking for a PR. . .but they happen. I often do not even look at the previous session’s data and gauge a load/rep/set scheme. I just test things and see where it goes. . .

Here are the notes from some workouts in the last week, to give you an idea of what goes down.

Lateral raises: to improve the appearance of my upper body and to train my shoulders in a range of motion that they have not been exposed to in years.
With my left arm, i hold the dumbbell with my elbow bent pretty much all the way, and perform a “chicken wing” lateral raise. This does not hurt my shoulders.

With my right arm, i keep my arm straight but my elbow and wrist stay relaxed.

These positions allow me to train pain free and happy, as well as grow my upper body to match my lower body in relative proportion: My waist is 38.5″, and my shoulders are around 52.5″, i would like to climb up to 55″. . . .

I often test different loads for each arm, meaning, 15lbs. and 20 lbs., 12.5 and 15lbs, etc. Once i have the right load, i test my reps. I will perform 8 reps, and test my range of motion with muscle testing. I may then scale up or down based on the load or the test.

So, on Sunday 15 May, i trained this modified version of the lateral raise with 20lbs for the first time! The 20lb dumbbell tested better than any other load. I hit all reps with that weight! It was an “intensity personal record”. Now, i have surely lifted more than 20lbs on a lateral raise in my life, as i have been working out for 17 years and used to crank out crazy shoulder workouts when i was younger. However, since i began to test movements and train in the absence of effort, i have not lifted 20lbs this way. So it is a PR. A personal record, a Progress Report, a Proficiency Rise. I got better at something. Yay, me 🙂

An excerpt from a training log three years past:

5-15-2011
Lateral raise, 20 lbs each arm
8 sets each arm
8 reps left [tested better than 10]
10 reps right [tested better than 8]
Time 17:23
Volume: 145 reps x 20lbs. = 2,900lbs.
Intensity: New tested load increase! Personal record.
Density: 27.42%, or 27% of my total time was spent actually lifting the reps, the remaining % was recovery time.

5-17-2011
Lateral Raise, 15lbs. LEFT 20lbs. RIGHT [the loads tested good, i am not worried about promoting asymmetry as i believe i am fixing mine]
8 reps each arm tested great
Time 16:58
Volume: 240 reps x the respective loads = 4,200lbs., an increase from the last session at the same intensity for the right arm, PR.
Density: 44.11%, or, 44% of 16:58 was spent working, an increase from last session, PR!

So what we have are effortless improvements.  Getting better at my lifts without using extra tension to lift the weight, pushing through a speed reduction in the set, or changing my alignment to complete a rep or set.

This is the summation of #PReveryday within gym movements.  Get better without grunting, squeezing, or forcing it.  It can happen.

Another PR from yesterday with regard to psychology, i unloaded a ton of detail and closed out my 18 month run with my diary.  Yes, it’s my diary.  I could have called it a journal, or my pain journal, or my notebook, but i have a training and nutrition log, and another book where i write about my feelings.  Yeah, it’s a diary.  And my new one looks just like it!

Thank you for joining me here.  Let’s talk about getting you some effortless PRs.

Distance coaching for Authentic Strength Trainers: kettlebelltrainer@gmail.com