Sunday, November 28, 2010

7 STEPS to Make a Training Plan for the Holidays

I am an athlete in training and I have found myself in the midst of the holiday season without a plan.

This predicament of being an athlete, being in training, being in the middle of many holiday parties, and being without a plan is not new to me.  I have always been an athlete, I have usually been in training, and I do not think I have ever had a good plan of attack to deal with the holidays.

The holidays need to be dealt with for obvious reasons: they involve lots of food, traveling, and stress.

Food gets sweeter and heavier; traveling pulls you away from your gym, and your workout routine; stress increases when unexpected challenges present themselves, and we often find ourselves facing all of these holiday pitfalls alone.

This year needs to be different.  It needs to be different because tryouts are approaching for the Boston Militia!  If tryouts are in January, this month, December is precisely the time I need to be kicking my training into full gear.  I cannot get lazy.  I am going to follow these steps to create my own plan AND I am going to come up with some tough input and output challenges to make sure I am working towards my goals and becoming a better athlete than I was in college.

STEP 1: Think about the big picture
This is important, ask yourself at the end of the holiday season: how will you know if your training plan worked?

STEP 2: Pick one or two things to focus on
You cannot fight every battle, so what battles are you willing to fight everyday?  Is it more important for you to focus on your food, or getting your workout in?  Make sure you know what your priorities are so that if you are running out of time and you need to cut something, you already know what you can cut.

STEP 3: Make a calendar
Part I: Decide how many days a week your want to work out
Part II: What days, and what time you will hit the gym, or get a workout in?
Part III: When will you go grocery shopping?
Part IV: When will you cook?

Monday, November 22, 2010

POSE Running

This past Sunday I signed up to go to a 3 hour session on the barefoot/POSE running technique at Crossfit Boston done by Upstream Fitness.

I have been wanting to go to a barefoot/POSE workshop for a while because, to be honest, my run has always been a little off.  I almost always run heel-to-toe, except when I sprint.  I run heel-to-toe for distance, and when my body gets tired.

I need to work on my quickness and my speed if I want to be a wide-receiver; quickness and speed come from your muscles fibers being trained and ready to fire.  To get my muscles fibers to fire more often I had a feeling I needed to get up on my toes.  When you are on your heels you are at rest but when you get up on the balls of your feet, suddenly your body has potential force for quick movements.   Barefoot/POSE running is all about changing where your foot strikes, how long your foot is on the ground, and what you can do to harness potential forces like gravity.

Here is my before and after footage from the workshop:

You can see in my video, that there was a pretty noticeable difference between my first and my second clip.  I changed my heel strike to a ball strike, and I was able to get a much better "pull," getting my foot off the ground and move forward fast.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And the First OUTPUT Challenge: to get my benchmark numbers for Crossfit

Reason: Because I need to take my baseline of fitness on bodyweight exercises for future comparisons NOW

Even though this Output Challenge will not take me 10 days, it will take me 1 unpleasant day/hour.  I would like to give myself adequate rest in between each exercise, and I know throwing my body at the ground for a solid minute for my burpees will take a little working up to.  The exercises that I will be testing myself on are listed below, and can also be found with my goals, and benchmark numbers.

The Movements are max reps of:
1. Push-ups (consecutive)
2. Pull-ups (without coming off the bar)
3. Sit-ups (in 2 min)
4. Squats/Pistols (without stopping)
5. Burpees (1 min)
6. Dips (without coming off the bars)

I will alternate movements to make sure I am not tiring out one muscle group or part of my body too much; this will be helped by the fact that my dips and pull-ups will need to happen at Crossfit on Friday because I do not have the equipment for those in my house!

Goal for this Output Challenge:
1. To meet all of the Level I benchmarks for all 6 movements

Get your benchmarks and test yourselves!  Push-ups, sit-ups, and squats can be done anywhere.  If you are looking to try something new or want to see a movement done again, check out my Beginner's Guide for great websites to reference.  Beat me, and post your numbers!!

The First Input Challenge: No nuts or nut butter for 10 days

Reason: Even though nuts are a great source of things like fat, protein and minerals like zinc, I like nuts too much.  Unsalted raw almond butter is like candy to me.

Since taking the Paleo leap (and even before) nuts were an easy out.  A handful for a snack, or a couple tablespoons with an apple.  Unfortunately when you do this several times a day, your fat intake gets high fast.  My weight has always been pretty stable, but I know if I want to get as competitive and fast as I can that means changing my body composition: loosing fat and gaining muscle.

Goals for this Input Challenge: 
1. To include nuts in my diet 3-5 times a week instead of everyday
2. To get creative and think of better snack options for afternoon hunger
3. To stop eating spoonfuls of almond butter for dinner

Challenge Ends: November 20th, 2010

Snack ideas and encouragement are welcome.  If you have ideas for future challenges, or if you have a vice  you are struggling with post them or write me!