About 6 weeks ago, I sprained my left ring finger. No, I didn’t do it training in anything martial arts related. I managed to catch it mid jump while doing squat jumps on my stairs. It has been an annoying recovery process, having had to scale back in a wide variety of physical activities as it healed, but a couple of weeks ago, it was starting to get well enough that I was willing to try pushing it a little. A couple of Sundays ago, I went climbing at the climbing gym. (more…)
Last week, I wrote about why martial artists should do strength training. One of the reasons was injury prevention by surrounding your joints, spine, etc with muscle for support. It can also help by preventing a worse injury, as I discovered while training at the summer camp last weekend. One of my training partners accidentally pushed my locked shoulder beyond its range of motion while rolling out of the prone subject control position in which I was being held (the arm was supposed to slip out during the roll). Fortunately, the extra muscle support I had from strength training meant that it only caused a minor muscle pull rather than causing joint damage, for which I was relieved. I was still injured, nonetheless, so I had to carefully consider how to proceed. (more…)
Over the weekend, my dojo was rented by Jitsu Canada to run a local grading. I hold an intermediate rank in their style (Shorinji Kan Jiu jitsu) in addition to being a Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu 5th Dan. Helping out by being a partner/attacker for these gradings is a guilty pleasure. I like helping out by putting a little extra pressure on the candidates while using my skills to help keep them safe while doing so.
Early in the grading, they were doing a striking “V”, basically an intensity drill to test their ability to strike incoming attackers. The candidate was moving in aggressively as I stepped into attack, leading him to step into my foot, catching my big toe and injuring it. It hurt quite a lot at the time, but I tried to soldier on to keep helping out, insisting I was fine. It wasn’t very long afterwards that a white belt happened to innocently step into my foot and bump it slightly, causing me to step off the mats again. Chris Sensei (who is ranked Shodan in that style in addition to Can-ryu) told me I should get off the mats. As I started to protest that I was fine, he asked me would you let one of your own students continue in this situation. I opened my mouth, then closed it again and stepped down. (more…)
The ability to sleep well is important to our physical and mental well-being. People who don’t sleep as well as they would like often find themselves more prone to illness, stress, headaches, lack of sociability, dips in productivity, listlessness, and more conditions besides. Every person is different, however, so no one set of sleep tips will work for every person. You have to accept that you have your own unique characteristics and habits to work with. Some factors can be controlled. Others cannot.
I don’t have all the answer for all people, but I can tell you one thing. I sleep well. I fall asleep easily and sleep soundly. It’s my super power. Because of this fact, I have more energy throughout the day. I work productively. I manage a fairly physical lifestyle. And for the most part, I have a positive emotional outlook on life. Sleeping well is a significant contributing factor in my mind. Here are some of the reasons I sleep soundly: (more…)
Almost everyone I’ve ever met has a desire to adopt new healthy habits, whether it’s establishing a regular exercise routine, eating healthier, meditating or quitting smoking, reducing drinking, minimizing TV/Internet use, etc. It is readily accepted that it takes at least 30 days to establish a new healthy habit or remove a negative one. Here is a TedTalk discussing how 30-day challenges can change your life:
Matt Cutts says that if you really want something badly enough, you can do anything for 30 days. I believe this is true, as I discussed in my blog post How to Move Past Excuses & Start Living the Life You Choose, but in wanting it, you might have to find ways that make you stick to it, ones that are personal to you. (more…)
Of all the healthy habits I’ve introduced in my life over the years, meditation is one that has had the greatest impact. With only 20 minutes of daily sitting, focusing on my breath and letting go of busy thinking, I have found that I think more clearly, work more productively, exert greater control over my emotional states, and am more grounded in all aspects of my life and my endeavours.
Doctors and scientists have compiled plenty of research that confirms a wide variety of benefits, including reduced stress, improvements in mental conditions (anxiety, depression, ADHD, etc), reduced incidences of illness, enhanced creativity, increased productivity, and more besides. Read more about the benefits of meditation in this detailed list from Psychology Today. With all these documented benefits, one might wonder why more people don’t adopt meditation as a habit. There are many reasons why as a society, we aren’t so inclined to try it or maintain it. Here are some of the issues we face and how to deal with them:
I recently reached a bit of a plateau in my strength training regimen. I had made some decent progress in my strength over the past few months but a few weeks ago I was finding myself sore for several days after working out, with no improvements in my performance. I decided to seek out professional advice from a friend who is a personal trainer. He gave me two pieces of advice that made a huge difference:
1) Make sure you eat 0.3-0.6 grams of carbs per pound of body weight immediately after working out.
2) Don’t do your cardio training and strength training on the same day. (more…)
Since last year, I’ve been much more conscious about controlling the amount of refined sugar in my diet. There have been a lot of articles (like this one from CTV linking soda pop to 180 thousand deaths per year) and documentaries like Hungry for Change (Watch this one for sure!) that are unified in their message; we need to cut back! Last year, I wrote a blog post about ways to cut back refined sugar intake, but I sometimes find myself missing sweet treats for desserts. I recently found a delicious and healthy sweet treat that fills this need: chia seed pudding.
Chia seeds are really high in fibre and are considered one of the three “super seeds” along with flax and hemp hearts. They also have the wonderful quality of turning into a gelatinous paste when soaked in liquid, making them a supremely healthy base for a pudding. Because these recipes are so healthy, they can also make for good breakfasts (I particularly like the cinnamon raisin nut and berry based recipes for this purpose.) I have tailored a nice base recipe for the chia seed pudding, and have 7 different “flavour” modifications for different types of puddings, which I’ll share here. (more…)
Over the past few years, fascia fitness has become an important topic of discussion in sports and physical development. Previously, fitness was seen as being a combination of muscular strength, cardiovascular conditioning, and neuromuscular coordination. But now, more modern research suggests that our body’s fascial network, a structure of connective tissue that surrounds muscles, blood vessels, and nerves, binding some structures together, while permitting others to slide smoothly over each other, play an important role on movement efficiency, injury prevention and overall body performance. For a more detailed explanation of the fascial network and their role in the body, read AnatomyTrain.com’s article on Fascial Fitness. Below is a video showing what the fascial network is with some explanation on how it affects our bodies. (more…)
As I looked back on 2012 and thought about all the great experiences I had, I realized that one of the best things I came away with was a new-found love of running. I had started running purely for practical reasons originally. I was being considered for a stunt doubling role for a local film, but they asked if I could lean up lose a few pounds in order to better match the skinny actress. I had only a few weeks to do it, so I started eating uber-healthy and took up a rigourous training regimen with a variety of forms of exercise, including running. I never really enjoyed running, but I recognized it was the best form of cardio with which to lose weight fast. (more…)