Archive for September, 2009

Common sense – RIP?

Monday, September 28th, 2009 | Gym, Sports & exercise, Uncategorized | No Comments

Every now and then I am asked by people who exercise at gyms how they should eat before and after training.

This wasn’t a problem before, because we all had something called Time – time to prepare, time to relax and time to enjoy.

For Homo omnistressens there is never enough time and so it is easy to cut down on ‘less important stuff’ such as preparation, relaxation and even enjoyment, just in order to keep up the high pace of living that is associated with leading a full life. Multi-tasking knows no bounds, as anyone who habitually showers, shaves, pees and exercises at the same time will testify.

The practice of Yoga has been around a lot longer than our modern civilisation, and so there is every reason to accept that most of what works in yoga is based on sound empirical experience. For example, not eating for two to three hours before practice and for at least 30 minutes after practice provides us with a reliable benchmark from which to proceed in our own lives.

Those in the habit of stuffing themselves full before rushing into the gym and then popping a couple of energy bars directly afterwards could try not doing this for a week or so, just to see what the difference is. Try and eat at least a couple of hours before – or if you really must eat then try to eat something light at least an hour before. Afterwards sit down for 10-15 minutes and drinking some warm green tea – not coffee or iced drinks – and try to observe your body as it calms down.

As for what to eat – I find the old adage of ‘a little of everything’ works pretty well (except it is getting harder as portions get larger!). I’ve met fit and healthy people from all walks of life who were on every imaginable kind of diet or on no diet in particular. Quite honestly I could never really see much difference between them.

Too good to be true?

Monday, September 28th, 2009 | Gym, Power Ergonomics, Sports & exercise | No Comments

If you watched the video “Power Ergonomics at the Gym” then you may be forgiven for thinking that it is all a bit too good to be true.

One ‘problem’ with Power Ergonomics is that many improvements in performance are both instant and of a greater magnitude than is often expected. For example, I suggested to Alex (in the video) before he went off to the gym for the first time that he might experience a 15-20% increase in performance. But even this, he admitted later, made him think, “Yeah, yeah, sure”. The fact that the increases were up to 50% was something I let him discover for himself. I knew that if I had said this from the beginning it would probably have put him off all together.

Something similar happened many years ago when I held a training program for some golf pros in Båstad, in southern Sweden. One participant, British born instructor Jimmy Suckling, kept exclaiming, “It can’t be this easy! Where’s the catch?” despite obviously measurable improvements to his more than 60 year-old technique. He had by then been teaching golf professionally for more than 45 years and the improvements he experienced were just then ‘too good to be true’ because they took him way beyond his expectations.

So what is the problem? Either the improvements are for real or they are not. If they are not, we still have to explain away the heavier weights, increased number of repetitions or the fact that golf players hit further.

Alex thought initially that he was imagining the improvements until he had experimented so many times that he was forced to conclude otherwise. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say, and this is what Power Ergonomics is about. It’s not just a nice new theory. It’s about discovering true hidden potential and then realising that having everyday access to this potential is unusual or ‘too good to be true’ only because we are so used to living and performing without it.