19 May 2011

Gym and Life PRs

So, this set I got four of these pull ups on.  For the first time.  Monumental PR

It was fairly easy.

I also PRed here via a certain rhythmic spot, and playing this piece with less tension (at the time) than previous.  Now, tension is less.

Enjoy, champs.

11 May 2011

A Deadlifting Chronicle

I deadlift a lot.  Some of the best moments of training lately have been occurring with this particular.  I have pulled 12 times since 11 April.  Starting from 5 April, here is my progress:

5 April 315 for 8 sets, totally 14 reps  in 06:55
12 April 295 8, 16, 07:35
14 April 365 5, 5, 04:17
19 April 315 8, 20, 12:55
20 April 275 5, 25, 09:13
21 April 225 4, 25, 05:47
26 April 385 4, 4, 08:35
28 April 405 5, 5, 09:30
02 May 225 5, 38, 08:15
03 May 225 6, 43, 11:45
05 May 405 2, 3, 02:15
10 May 225 7, 47, 11:25
11 May 315 4, 20, 10:00

No reason for this to be here.

I am pretty proud of the fact that I can hit a double with 95% of my 1RM, now.  In a short amount of time.  Also note that I went from doing doubles with 315, to now doing sets of 5.

Observe how I do this with no fuss:

This is the third set of 4.  The last set stopped testing well, so I cut it.  Same goes for all the others.  I don't intend to fully max out any time soon, but at any rate the lift feels and performs better almost every time I test it. 

10 May 2011

The ultimate (mis)conception

Ultimate Warrior
I talk about Gym Movement a lot.  Why? Because to, unlike the jury for the OJ case, evidence and proof beyond a reasonable doubt matters to me.  It apparently does not matter to many modern day physical culture practitioners,* many of whom blindly go about spending hours in the gym, doing the same cycle of things over and over. 

Too often in life, we don't get to do what's actually good for us at that point in time, though a lot of the time the external forces have the best intentions.  Standardized tests, parents telling you what to do in college, TPS report deadlines.  You name it.

For me, the greatest thing Gym Movement has to offer is the ability to do what I want, freely and know it's gonna be purely beneficial for me.  Like a child playing, as it were.  With movement testing, I can expand my limits to accomplish way more than I have ever done, I don't make excuses for not training because with the ability to do so much compared to before, and I can genuinely enjoy myself.  I can go to the gym, test my movements, do them whenever it goddamn suits me, and know that they will be the best thing I can I can do for myself at that time of training.

I daresay it is so powerful, that it becomes a sort of transcendental meditation, wherein I can forget about external forces (other than the weight) and concentrate on my own (and most important) internal force.   I can PR everyday, and be in a completely thoughtless and zen like state while doing so.  Speaking of PRs, I have now hit 95% of my 1RM for a double.  Based on my training, next week it should be a triple.  You owe it to yourself to be enlightened.   The ultimate misconception is as follows:  the movements you do to make you better in any facet should not be drudgery, they should be physically and mentally liberating since they should be completely based off what is best for you at a point in time.  

*I use that term loosely.

04 May 2011

More ways to maximize your effectiveness as an instructor

Peter Berger: Sociologist who extrapolated the secularization thesis--in short, the idea that societies move away from religion through modernization and with influence from reason. 
In Part 1, I did not cover the following issue.  It deserved its own post.  But first, a prelude.

The guy in the picture, Peter Berger, wrote The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion in 1967.  He outlined a popular belief in something.  For him, this belief was what sociologists of religion call the "secularization thesis."

In 1999 the same man compiled a collection of essays in The Desecularization of the World and essentially changed his mind regarding the secularization thesis.

Does this make Berger a bad person?

One of the most important things a person can do as a teacher of any kind is to not be so held down by your beliefs that you stagnate and prevent intellectual, physical, or general personal growth.  One common counter argument is that since you now have a different viewpoint, at some point you must have been full of shit.

Full of shit is a relative term.  For example, Berger's Canopy I mentioned is old and not with his current belief system.  But it has many other concepts and theoretical components that we can draw from (and that we use constantly in the field of religious studies) that it will most likely outlast the more recent work.  Nonetheless, he changed his mind and at a given point of time, was using what he had to its utmost potential and working within his limits.  But he was open.

Now, to a personal example.  A friend of mine was once an atheist.  He converted to Messianic Judaism (Judaism that believes Jesus to be Messiah).  He was talking to his spiritual advisers and they told him to read the Torah in context.  Upon taking it contextually, he dropped the belief that Jesus was messiah and is now following what many of you know as traditional Judaism.  Had he not been willing to change, he would most likely be in a state of spiritual despair because his beliefs--hard and fast--would not be reconciling with his new found knowledge.

Being flexible with your belief systems can typically make you a happy person.  Training patterns, stock markets, weather, learning curves, Hollywood movies, and what have you are all cyclical, with no linear progression of always getting better.  When those things we can control get rigid--learning curves, training patterns--we plateau and decline.  Beliefs are the same way.  There are a variety of ways this happens in religion that I will not get into publicly, but suffice it to say, it is happening all the goddamn time.

To the left, is Malcolm X.  Many of you probably do not know much if anything about this guy.  Most I encounter had no idea he was a religious person, much less a Muslim.  Most I encounter assume he was a violent guy and the absolute antithesis to Martin Luther King Jr.  The picture to my left was taken at a point in his life where his house had been firebombed and was receiving death threats all the time. 

Briefly, Malcolm X started out as a thug, became a minister in the Nation of Islam (for the love of god, don't gloss over the links I post, or you will miss valuable meaning), and then went on to become a Sunni Muslim after he made his Hajj.  As early as 1958, Malcolm X started speaking toward the path he would follow (many will disagree with this, but if you read the speeches, it is evident) and his belief system was growing.  He was not wholly the "black militant separatist demagogue" he was painted to be.  The symbolic act of Hajj along with a letter to his wife culminated in his change in belief, wherein he was going to make it a point to work with other civil rights leaders, and not against them.  His change led him to his unfortunate death in 1965.  Had he stagnated--and his biographies show this--he would have probably went crazy, for boxing himself into beliefs he wasn't willing to change.

I use these stories as an (hopefully) effective way to illustrate the value of flexibility in your belief system.  After all, hopefully you exercise flexibility in other areas of your life to where you aren't so dogmatic that you are fucking yourself right to the ground.

As an instructor, if you are flexible with your beliefs, your students will question you, and you should encourage that. When you get questioned, you will find yourself exploring new pathways, you might even learn from them--I learn new things from my more prodigious students all of the time, most of which I would not have known of or bothered to find out about had it not been for them.   I, for one, do not agree with everything I have once posted on this very blog you read.  I also do agree with older stuff, but for different reasons now.  Don't be afraid to change your mind, and all facets of you will grow.

Did you really think I would leave you hanging?