Things that make you feel Good Things I do, that make me awesome

What is your Super Power?

super power

I began this blog with the intention of helping people develop super hero like attributes (i.e run faster, jump higher, etc.). As two years have gone by since this journey began I have learned a lot from a ton of great coaches; but none have influenced me as much as coach Scott Sonnon.  Through his life story Coach Sonnon teaches his students about fitness and life.  Today he posted something on his Facebook page related to each of us having a super power.  I really wanted to share it with you so here it goes:

” Crying silently at the terrible day, my bus dropped me off at our trailer court. The kids scowling at and shoving me down the aisle to exit, crumpled paper catapulted like esteem-battering siege engines. The bus driver shook her head and grabbed my arm, “If you’re going to cause this much trouble, get your parents to drive you home from school.” She shoved me down the steps. Believe me, I thought to myself, I wish that my mom could.
The substitute teacher that day had screamed in frustration at my test answer, “Are you kidding? If you’re going to deliberately make a mockery of my class, go to the office,” holding his finger pointing to the exit, and waving my paper for all of the kids to see.

I was a mirror-writer, so my work was only readable by its reflection. At 6, I couldn’t understand why my hand couldn’t make the words look like everyone else’s. But my mother, despite being a single mom of four kids working two full time labor jobs, found alternative educational support: Total Physical Response for my language skills, Chisanbop for my mathematics, and Phonics for my spelling.

But it wasn’t any one of these alternatives that changed my life. It was THAT she COULD. If an alternative educational approach worked, that meant to my little mind, that it wasn’t me who was broken; rather, the class wasn’t being taught in a way that allowed me to learn. Now, I could have gone down the road of blaming the teachers (I did), but my family helped me realize a different route: self-education through alternative learning styles validates and empowers like no conventional education could.

My grandmother looked at my red-inked school work and said, “WOW! Isn’t this great, Hon?” I was still crying but her reaction to my mom confused me. She asked, “Do you know how many people can write upside down and backwards? I sure can’t. That is some superpower you have! I wonder what else you can do that we don’t know about!” Superpower. Somehow, I was exceptional and no one could understand it.

That support from my mother and belief from my grandmother sufficed. I could endure the ridicule (eventually) if I was secretly a superhero, like the childhood version of Clark Kent. Instead of shaming my superpowers, I’d practice them, grow them, hone them. The tears stopped, and I went back to my room to read my comics and think. “What if I AM Superboy growing up?”

The next year at school, the most wonderful teacher of my scholastic life came over to my desk the first week of class. Overlooking my mirrored writing, she said, “Scott, I love how clean and crisp you make your letters with your right hand. Can we play a game for a second, please?” Nodding, she grabbed the pencil from my right and placed it in my left hand. Smiling, she continued, “I bet you can do it with both.” (Before her, the entire class had been forced to write right-hand, so she was a bit of a heretic in the school, I came to learn, for her her so called “alternative witchcraft” another teacher scoffed in whispers.)

Cautiously touching lead to paper, the letters traveled down my arm… Without mirror-writing. What!? I wrote more and compared it to my right hand work. Another Superpower! My left hand could do what my right hand could not, and my right hand could do what NO ONE else could! The teacher beamed, tossed my hair, and said, as she walked away, “See! You CAN write with both hands!”

I played with it, writing with both hands at the same time. “WHOA! That’s so neato,” yelled the kid next to me, “I’m going to try that!” She couldn’t, but in seconds, everyone had two pencils, one in each hand, trying to repeat my trick. No one could. A few kids ran over to my desk and asked me to show them how to write “backwards and upside down.” Looking up at my teacher sitting there, smiling, she said, “Go ahead, Scott! Show’em whatcha got!!” A crowd formed, and everyone tried it out. It was the best day ever.

Superpowers. I spent the rest of my life dedicated to unearthing hidden abilities. It wasn’t an easy, confident or direct route. That great day was only one. Many dark years of turmoil lay ahead, eventually leading to institutionalization in a childhood psychiatric hospital, but even there, the seed had already germinated… Superpowers. Nothing would stop me from transforming from my Clark Kent childhood into the future cape wearing Kal-El. That one great day was enough to cement in place the idea that within me lies greatness, and those who can’t see it, don’t realize yet their own.

When someone says that someone cannot do something, that someone is incapable, incompetent, inept… I feel very sad, because they can’t see the hidden superpowers of the person they’re judging; worse still, when the judged individual believes them, too. But we are all part of a league of super- heroes and super-heroines. Some just can’t see it yet. A sad few suffer their entire lives not realizing it.

Be your own superhero… So that you can crusade for others to become theirs. Thank you to all of the teachers who have helped me along my growth. You’re doing incredible, life-altering jobs with just the simplest gesture, smile and supportive belief in our potential. Thank you to all the parents who love their children so unconditionally that they realize their children have untapped potential beyond what they can comprehend. Your love will unearth their superpowers, and they will grow into those abilities, despite all the hardships they face now. ”

 

Hope you enjoyed it as much as me.  Sometimes the things that makes us weird, are in fact our super power. My super power for example is losing things.  I have a great ability to misplace things even when I’m not moving.  I could be writing quietly at my desk when all of a sudden… POOF!  My pencil is lost.

Most Important Health Tips I Have Learned in the Past 5 Years

health tips

In the past 5 years I have enjoyed the healthiest and most pain free days of my life. I have never really been a sick person, but I did get injured a lot. I lived by the “no pain, no gain” motto, and wore my injuries la battle scars.  For some stupid reason I thought that pain meant I was doing something right.  Fortunately, life brought coach Scott Sonnon into my training. At first I just liked the exercises in his TACFIT programs, and never made sense on all the other stuff he talked about.  Then on one boring and cold winter day in Barcelona I decided to listen to what he had to say.  What I have learned so far from him (I have also learned a lot from other coaches) has really changed my life, and to him I am in great debt.  I find myself obliged to pass his teachings along and help others achieve the health they deserve.

Health tip # 1 Body controls the mind just like the mind controls the body.

health tipsThe book that probably changed my whole perspective about how my mind and body work is Body Flow: Freedom from Fear-Reactivity. I always believed, or have always been taught to believe, that the mind controls the body and that is it. I guess this train of thought began with Descartes and his famous quote, “I think; therefore I am”.  Little did Descartes know that the body controls the mind just as well; just smile and see how your attitude changes.  The mind learns through what our senses teach it, and through our movement.  Exercising for example helps the production of certain hormones in our body (i.e dopamine, endorphines, seratonin) that help us focus and think faster.

Health Tip # 2 In training we die a little, while in recovery we grow and become stronger

I always thought rest days were meant to be spent in front of the TV watching Seinfeld reruns.  I did this for a very long time, and most of the time I felt more tired after my rest days than after my training days.  It took me a while to learn the importance of active recovery.  When I learned the term I began spending my off days shooting hoops, working on technique, or going to the pool (my favorite choice).  Mobility exercises like Intu-Flow are also great, because the are more effective in opening ranges of motion and feeding the joints; they are not much fun, but are highly effective in restoring damaged tissue. Our body needs a break from all the stress induced by exercise.  Recovering properly helps the body adapt and become more efficient at what ever it is you are training.

Health Tip # 3 Carbs suck and should be limited in your diet

I love trying diets out.  During the last few months of 2012 I decided to try the Paleo diet.  I have a very good friend that has had very good results with it so I decided to try it out.  At first it wasn´t easy, because in my native Colombia Carbs comprise a great deal of our diet, especially white rice.  I have to admit I didn’t cut them out completely, but I did restrict my intake by following these rules:

  1. No carbs past 4 pm.
  2. Only have carbs and hour before and an hour after a high intensity workout.
  3. No refined sugar.

Just by following those simple rules I managed to drop my body fat to 10% (I previously stood at 13%).  It is also worth noting that I didn’t do any type of cardio during the time.

Another benefit I got from reducing carbs in my diet was no mid day drousiness.  I always had to take a nap after lunch just to be semi-functional in the afternoon.

Health Tip # 5 Have Fun at whatever it is you are doing.

healthy tipsThe best exercise for weight loss or health, is whatever exercise you can do consistently.  Look for something that you like and would enjoy doing everyday.  For some people it is going to the gym and pumping iron, for others it can be staying at home doing bodyweight exercises (that is me right there).  If you like sports go ahead and practice one.

The important thing about having fun is that at some point you are going to want to improve, and that will is what motivates you to take on a healthy diet and leave the other junk behind.

Health Tips # 6 Patience

Before I discovered TACFIT I really had a hard time sticking to one program or coach.  In a span of a year I went through Turbulence Training, No Nonsense Muscle Building, TACFIT, Bodyweight Revolution, etc.  It wasn’t until I read Body Flow: Freedom from Fear Reactivity from Scott Sonnon that I really decided to stick with him.

I believe that you should give a program or coach a 2 months before you decide to change.  In this time period I believe you can get to know him or her pretty well, and you can see if you get results.  Flipping from program to program will only bring you frustration, and zero results (trust me I’ve been there).

Delicious Smoothies for Fat Loss (or at least in my opinion)

My girl friend went to live in Edinburgh, Scotland about three months ago, and for some reason everybody thought I was going to starve to death.  Apparently there is a lot of people that really don’t know me; I can cook… stuff. I’m no Jamie Oliver, or that other English chef that likes to yell at restaurant owners on TV, but I can make myself a good meal.  Ok, I have to admit I don’t always cook, at least not since I discovered smoothies.

Smoothies are a bachelors best friend.  First of all, you can get a good healthy meal in about 5 min; and secondly you don’t have to do any dishes… I know it doesn’t get any better than that.  Ever since my girlfriend left, it seemed all I did was wash dishes.

Poor little me, I know.

Another great advantage of this “smoothie diet” I’m on is the amount of fat I have lost. I’m not overweight or anything, but I did manage to drop my body fat percentage from 12% to 10% in a month. This got me pretty excited so I set a new goal: to be under 10% by the end of the year.  To keep losing fat I think I’m going to take on some interval training to go along with the smoothies, since it has been lacking a bit from my usually routine.  I’m going to avoid jogging, so I’ll be switching it up between cycling, swimming, jogging, and jumping rope; this way I won’t mess up my knees like I have done in the past. If you want to do something similar I suggest you do this interval training on your off days,  which is how I’m doing it.

smoothie

Smoothies for Fat Loss Schedule

I drink a smoothie in the morning before leaving the house.  This smoothie usually has the following ingredients:

  • Banana
  • Papaya
  • Oatmeal
  • Honey
  • Protein powder
  • Flax seeds
  • Aloe vera
  • and some type of nut (i.e Almond or walnut)
This gives you a thick and creamy smoothie. Don’t worry about the aloe vera or the flax seeds, the won’t taste like anything, they just add a bit to the texture.  The oatmeal is good fiber to keep you full for a while longer.  I usually have this around six in the morning, and by 9 or 10 I would have a vegetable omelette.
My second smoothie is more like a soup, because it has vegetables and I heat it up.  You can have my recipe here. I’ve seen some people eat them cold, but I just think it is gross.  I boil my vegetables first and then I blend them.  My favorite ones are with spinach, carrots and pumpkin.
My third smoothie comes after my workout, and is very similar to the first one; the only difference is  I use berries.  The reason for this is because berries have tons of antioxidants which are great for reducing inflammation and DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
Sometimes I might have a fourth one right before I go to bed, but this is not something I do usually.  So there you have my little secret into how to stop washing so many dishes, and losing fat in the process.

 

 

 

Sleep: Brian waves and more

sleepWe spend a third of our lives asleep, but sleep researchers still don’t know why. Some researchers regard sleep as one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of science, even though all animals do it in one form or another.

I decided to touch on this subject because I have discovered that people don’t get enough quality sleep.  Various factors affect our quality of sleep like, stress, obesity, technology, etc.  To start things off I wanted to define what sleep actually is for humans (remember not all animals sleep alike).

How do human people (term coined by Phillip de Franco) sleep?

Before I continue to explain this it is important to understand what brain waves are.  Brain waves. Our brain is constituted by over 100 billion neurons (I don’t know who counted them), that communicate with one another through electrical changes.  These electrical changes can be seen as waves through an EEG (electroencephalogram).

Through an EEG we can measure the frequency of these ways in Hertz; the least frequent or slower the waves are, the slower the brain activity is.  Scientist so far have identified 4 main types of waves (these now have been subdivided by I’m not going to get into them:

  • Delta waves (below 4 hz)- These usually occur when you are sleep.
  • Theta waves (4-7 hz)- they are associated with sleep or deep relaxation (like hypnotic sleep)
  • Alpha waves (8-13 hz) – when we are relaxed and calm.
  • Beta waves (13-38 hz) – occur when we are actively think or solving problems.
Something important about brain waves is that they don’t occur separately, but more at the same time.  What changes among them is the strength and quantity.  Not feeling drowsy or to active is a balance between all four waves.

How to achieve Brain Wave Balance?

There are two main factors you need to achieve brain wave balance: flexibility and resilience.
By flexibility I mean to adjust your brain to whatever it is you are doing.  This is an ability that must be trained like any other, and is much harder than what you think.  If you are at work focus on work, if you are at home resting let your brain rest.  A lot of people worry about home when they are at work, and worry about work when that are at home.  This eventually leads to an accumulation of stress that soon or later begins to interfere with your sleep.  From here it is just a downward spiral.
Resilience refers to stability- being able to bounce back from negative events. In my moms words, this means that you need to take an I don’t give a crap pill every morning and don’t let any problems tear you apart.  Leave your work problems at work, and remember every problem has a solution, and if it doesn’t then there is nothing to worry about.  No problem is worth your mental and physical health.
Taking the previous into account, human sleep can be divided into two types: rapid eye movement (aka REM) and non-rapid eye movement (nREM) sleep.

NREM can be divided into 3 stages

Stage N1 Here the bran transitions from alpha waves to theta waves; this is when we begin to feel drowsy.  In this stage some people experience hypnic jerks which are those “falling” sensations you sometimes get and that awake you all of a sudden; quite humorous if you see someone do them.

For the curious ones: Hypnic jerks have been linked to anxiet, caffine, stress, and strenuous activities at night.

Stage N2 is where sleep spindles and K complexes occur.  Environmental awareness is lost (good time to pull a prank on somebody) and muscle activity decreases.  This stage makes up about 50% of adult sleep.

Stage N3 This is the worst stage of sleep.  It is characterized by a minimum of 20% delta waves; for those of you who were wondering. Here is where all the wetting the bed, talking in your sleep, night terrors, and parasomias happen.

REM Sleep

REM sleep is where most of our memorable dreams happen; it constitutes about 20-25% of human adult sleep. It is characterized by rapid eye movement and descending muscle tone.  It is believed that this last feature is to protect the sleeper from hurting his or herself from any sudden movement that could be caused by the vivid images of a dream.

How do we get sleepy?

For more information on the topic I recommend you this website where I got most of the info.

sleepSleepiness usually hits us at night, but also throughout the day.  Sleep regulation is controlled by two systems:  sleep/wake homeostasis and the circadian biological clock.

Sleep/wake homeostasis is the system that tells your brain or body that it needs to rest after being awake for a really long time.  If we only had this system we would be full of energy at the beginning of the day, and close to being dead as a log a night.  In other words sleep/wake homeostasis helps us keep a balance between sleep and wakefulness.

This clearly doesn’t happen, because we don’t always wake up with the greatest of energy or the best of moods. Our internal circadian biological clocks are the ones in charge of regulating the timing of periods of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day.  Circadian rhythms generate peaks of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day.  They are the responsible ones of making people the “morning” type or the “night” type.  I’m definitely a morning person.

These circadian rhythms are closely linked to sunlight.  Sunlight helps the release of a hormone called melatonin which has been associated with sleep onset, as well as sexuality.  The more sun, the more sex you will want to get.  This explains the reason why most tropical countries are overpopulated, and more temperate countries have a population crisis.

I leave you this short video of Dr. Oz where he explains this in a very Dr. Oz kind of way.

I’ll continue talking about sleep in future posts hope you enjoyed this one and learned a lot.

 

Boxing Fit Clicks: Mama’s going to knock you out edition

Mike Tyson’s Training regime before he got an acquired taste for opponents ears of the day

boxing tipsMike Tyson was the last great boxer according to me.  After he lost to Buster Douglas boxing became dead to me.  I watched a little during the Holyfield and Lennox Lewis days, but it never was the same for me.  Tyson was literally a beast, the guy was lightning fast, and had the power of a 1000 men (I made this up).  For those of you who might be interested here  is a copy of his training schedule.

If you would like a couple of to drills to improve hand speed I suggest you follow this link.

 

Sexy Boxer of the Day

If my girl friend ever wore this I would not punch her, but she would definitely get a spanking.  Here is a gallery of the top 50 boxing babes according to the people in “Banned in Hollywood” (don’t know much about women’s boxing so I just taking their word for it).

Boxing

Boxer Recipe of the Day

boxing

To tell you the truth I could not find any good recipe related to boxing.  All I came up with were recipes for dogs, and some drinks.  The picture above shows a ham and cheese quiche, which you can have for breakfast, or at any other time if you please (if you are a boxer probably nobody is going to argue with you). Livestrong.com has a small article on diets for boxing, which you should read if you have any spare time; doesn’t include steroid, I checked (terrible joke, I know).

Inspirational Boxing Video of the day

There will never ever be another boxing movie like Rocky.  I have to admit the last couple of ones sucked, but they mostly rock.  My favorite is Rocky IV. I just love his training in the snow, the music, the fight, the drama, etc.  So here are a few inspirational quotes from Mickey to help you through your day, or even life.

Jump Rope like a Boxer video of the Day

Have to admit Rocky was the reason I decided to learn how to jump rope.  I personally enjoy it a lot.  It’s a great for developing quick feet, stamina, and other stuff I can’t think of right now.  So here is yours truly with a small tutorial on how to jump rope.

Boxer Dog Video of the Day

I’m just posting this video because I love dogs, and this one reminded my o mine.

Flow Fit: Lose Fat, Gain Muscle, Regain Flow

Flow FitFlow Fit is an exercise program that has the purpose to help you move better.  Movement, as done in sports, is the transition from one small movement to the other.  Most workouts focus on making you faster, stronger, or more powerful on those little movements, but none teach you how to become faster, quicker, and more powerful through the transition. Now don’t he me wrong.  Training those small movements individually is important for gaining strength speed, etc., but learning to transition between movements is vital if you want to improve in any sport.

Flow Fit was created by Scott Sonnon.  Scott has an extensive and impressive background as a martial artist, coach, and fitness expert .  Scott had the chance to train in the former Soviet Union, where he learned their most secret technology for performance enhancement.  As you can recall, the soviets used to be the powerhouse during the Olympics until it dissolved, so Scott had a lot to learn.  Flow Fit was born out of this experience and created to help you lose fat, gain muscle, and regain your Flow.

Read Scott’s bio here.

 How Flow Fit Works

Flow Fit has 4 levels of difficulty or sophistication.  Level 1 is the easiest and simplest, while level 4 is the hardest and mos sophisticated in movement.  The movements come from 7 different families, which give you a complete workout.  Your body will move along it’s 6 degrees of freedom preventing you from generating any imbalances which can lead to injury.  These 7 exercises are put together into what is called a flow.  In other words you will be transitioning nonstop from one exercise to the next for a given amount of time.  Breathe, posture, and movement are emphasized throughout the program. You will find that the exercises are quite unique and challenging, and will help you gain strength, mobility and aerobic resistance.

Exercises in Flow Fit

  1. Spinal Rock:  Great for increasing back mobility and strength
  2. Squat:  Great for legs and abs
  3. Springing Tripod: Works your obliques, hip drive and hamstrings.  This is one of my favorite exercises
  4. Down Dog:  Gives you much needed rest.  Helps you stretch your abs, back and hip flexors.
  5. Swoop:  Love this one too.  A lot harder than what it looks.  I think capoeira has something similar to this exercise.  It is great for the hips, legs, and abs.
  6.  Press: Builds shoulder and arm strength.  This exercise helped me a lot in rehabilitating my shoulder.
  7. Twist:  Helps stretch the back and glutes. I’ve also found it helps improve coordination.  For some reason some people have a hard time getting the coordination right.
The video below is a demonstration of the 3 level of Flow Fit.  I just did three rounds to avoid making the video to long.

How to use Flow Fit

If you are a beginner (not quite in shape yet) Flow Fit should be used three times a week as your whole workout.  Go for as many rounds as form allows during a given time interval.  If the flow seems to tough at the beginning, then go ahead and work each exercise individually in circuit fashion.  Try to reduce rest intervals as much as possible. Remember to warm up properly and stretch what ever feels tight afterwards.

If you go to the gym frequently and are growing tired of doing long and boring cardio, then you can replace your cardio session with Flow Fit.  Depending on your level I would do something between 10 to 20 minutes.  Go for a round each minute.  You can also use Flow Fit as a Metabolic Finisher.  Spend the last 10 minutes of your workout doing Flow Fit to burn extra fat after your strength training session.

Where to buy Flow Fit?

If you are interested in acquiring this awesome program, you can purchase it through amazon.com or you can go to the rmax store.  I’ll leave the links below, so you won’t have to spend time searching for them.

Buy Flow Fit through Amazon.com

Buy Flow Fit through rmaxinternational.com

 

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