Thursday, October 28, 2010

Top 10 signs we are in deep $&*!!

1. People believed that change to the most catastrophic economic disaster in decades would come in the form of creating more money vs. CHANGING spending habits.

2. Those same people believed this change would be created, implemented and succeed on the back of one person ‘in power’ vs. millions of people ‘in play’.

3. It is infinitely easier to manipulate people towards “ a popular solution” than it is to convince them of “ the right solution”

4. The middle class is disappearing.

5. World headlines: Tsunami in Indonesia, Mexican police station shot up, French strike costs 57 million / day, Surprise exit on Dancing with Stars

6. $206 million / year in talent [NYY] fell to $55 million in potential [TR] in the Championship series.

7. Budgets for entertainment trump budgets for education by about 1000 to 1.

8. Our ‘icons’ are being busted for cheating... Yet remain our ‘icons’.

9. People are taking pictures of their food and posting them on a website where others comment ‘mmmm’ 'yummy'

10. Few people realize all of this is & will become OUR problem

Time to THINK differently.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Walking Dead

There's something about death that is comforting. The thought that you could die tomorrow frees you to appreciate your life now. ~ Angelina Jolie

I recently listened to a commencement speech given by Steve Jobs, the CEO and co-founder of Apple and Pixar, for Stanford University. In it he urged people to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life's setbacks - including death itself.

He spoke about how each morning, he looks in the mirror and asks himself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' Whenever, the answer is no for too many days in a row, he says, that's when he knows he needs to change something. He finds that remembering he will be dead soon one of the most important tools in helping him make the big changes in life.

My favorite part of the speech was when he said that, death is a destination we all share and is the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent. No one wants to die, but knowing that we could die tomorrow frees us to do what we want today.

~ Sasha

prACTice like a champion

prACTice like a champion.
That little double entendre was taken, along with a whole lot more, from the entrance to the Woody Hayes Athletic facility. This world class facility is where the Ohio State Buckeyes train, study, review game film, practice, and are etched into OSU lore with each passing season.

The reason we are discussing THE Ohio State University today is because they are winners. Under the leadership of coach Jim Tressel, and Athletic Director Gene Smith; the city of Columbus, Ohio has a champion to call their own. Another key slogan, this one from the locker room, refers to how the winning occurs with momentum that is generated via personal character and purpose.

In short, winning, making money, being great at anything - they are the outcomes of champion practices.

While in Columbus, friends and I were privileged enough to visit the longest-running Harley Davidson dealership in the United States. Here, another lesson in winning. The one thing the good people at Harley Davidson had in common, other than their product knowledge - was a passion for riding.

The success we heard of from Harley Davidson was not that they were the number one bike brand in the world (though we did learn they were the number one bike brand among young people, which defeated our view of mid-life crisis baby boomers being their typical rider). The success we heard of is that their dealership was a hub for the community with riding as it's central passion. Every Wednesday was a full out ride party, sometimes generating 8,000 attendees! Their sales of high end bikes have also remained flat during one of the worst economic downturns in memory.

The good people at Harley Davidson win, because in addition to measuring every aspect of their business - they love what they do.

The Buckeyes also measure everything they do; and everything their opponents do. Every practice and every game is filmed and de-constructed. Every team they play is filmed and their games analyzed. Individual and team performance is broken down in every measurable fashion... and their coach and athletic director, and everyone else who even touches a piece of scarlet equipment - loves football, particular Buckeye Football.

Ohio State's success? More Heisman Trophy winning players than any other school in history, 7 national championships, more conference titles than I could count, and the 49 - 0 win over Purdue we took in? There were 105,300+ screaming fans which was the 56th consecutive home game with over 100,000 fans. They also have a higher graduation rate than the student body at large, and have players from their program on every NFL team's current or past roster.

In short, these are two of the best examples of success anyone could hope to have the privilege of seeing, let alone analyzing from the inside.

In both cases, the precision of measurement, the discipline with fundamentals, and understanding of the respective business is phenomenal. And in both cases, the fundamentals came before the success. Both have experienced (a lot of) adversity. But both have weathered all storms and stood as great examples that if you love what you do, you are willing to do the work to be great at it, and you refuse to quit - you stand a pretty good chance of being your own success story.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Marathon running may increase the risk for heart disease...

While watching the evening news last night I was surprised to hear about a study that was recently completed in Quebec. It showed that marathon running males might be at increased risk of heart disease / attack.

20 runners were assessed, with particular attention being placed on the left ventricle of the heart.

The leader of the study, Dr. Eric LaRose (Professor of Cardiology at Laval university in Quebec)), said the link between higher VO2max and less stress on the Cardiovascular system was the key to avoiding heart damage due to marathon running.

Athletes with higher Vo2max (how much O2 can be taken up and used by the body in 1 minute), place less stress on their hearts, and the functioning of the heart, than less conditioned athletes.

The left ventricle is divided into 17 segments, and when one of the segments no longer functions optimally as a result of, say, running a marathon, the other segments take over. The heart appears to be functioning normally, but in realty, it is not.

The study found that athletes who were less well conditioned for the marathon:
  • had lower V02 max, so they had lower exercise capacity.
  • they became more dehydrated
  • their hearts showed greater signs of injury.
  • experienced greater loss of function associated with lower blood flow
  • showed greater irritation of heart segments.
The bottom line here is that runners who do not prepare appropriately for ultra endurance events may be putting themselves at risk. They might think they have a good level of conditioning, when in reality they are not as "fit" as they think.

Take away message: Ensure you are following a well prepared and well structured program that will ensure you are at optimal fitness for your event.

(Read the full article here...)

Monday, October 25, 2010

"To Each His Own"

For some people, the marker is a monetary value - "when I'm earning $x, I've made it".

For others, it's when they can afford the house, the car, the clothes... the lavish lifestyle.

The thing is, personally I think it's sad when people's focus is on such material things, or when they feel that their measure of success is based on things... but then I remind myself that's simply my own, personal perspective.

Me? My measure of success is that doing what I love allows me to keep a roof over my head, food in my belly, friends and family taken care of, remain debt free and take an occasional trip to a faraway land.

But most importantly, I want to wake up every day looking forward to what constitutes my life - and in that regard, I'm already there.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

What's Your Purpose?

No on can advise or help you - no one. There is only one this you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And, if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple 'I must', then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness tot his impulse.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

When I was younger, I loved watching movies. My particular favourites were Pretty Woman, Dirty Dancing, The Cutting Edge as well as, Sister Act 1 and 2. I really enjoyed one scene in particular in Sister Act 2 - it was when Whoppi Goldberg overheard Lauryn Hill singing and realised how talented and passionate she was was and that she was not going to pursue her dreams due to her defeatist attitude and overbearing mother.

Whoppi confronted her one afternoon on Lauryn's way home from school and said:

I went to my mother who gave me this book called 'Letters To A Young Poet' by Rainer Maria Rilke. He's a fabulous writer. A fellow used to write to him and say: I want to be a writer, please read my stuff. And, Rilke says to this guy; don't ask me about being a writer. If when you wake up in the morning you can think of nothing but writing, then you're a writer. I'm gonna say the same thing to you. If you wake up in the morning and you can't think of anything but singing first, then you're supposed to be a singer girl.

Purpose is the thing in your life you will fight for. It is the ground you will defend at any cost. Purpose is not the same as incentive, but rather the motor behind it, the engine that drives why you have energy for some things and not for others.

For a few people, naming one's purpose comes with remarkable ease. The individual feels it in the deepest part of his or her soul; the purpose has always been there, even if it got lost for a very long while. To find one's true purpose sometimes takes work. Fortunately, the skill it requires is one that every person is blessed with.

Once you know your purpose - that is, what matters - then everything else can fall into place. Getting your purpose clear is defining your truth. What is the purpose of your life? Whatever it is, it had better be something for which you will cross a narrow plank 175 feet above ground, gusts of wind or no gusts, seven days a week no questions asked.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Have you heard of Modern Society Developmental Disorders (MSDD)?

While preparing for a couple of presentations at a conference I am speaking at on Friday, I came across a very interesting topic on the premature development of children.

It is a topic that I had learned a little bit about doing my Functional Movement Screening certification, and now that I have a baby boy at home, it is a topic that is becoming more and more interesting (an relevant) to me.

In his book Form and Function - the anatomy of motion: 2nd edition, Evan Osar, a Chiropractic Physician, coined the phrase Modern Society Developmental Disorders (MSDD) to describe "those common place items in our society that go against the inborn or natural tendencies of our bodies."

Simply stated, in the our modern world, there is more often than not a need for both parents to be working, or at least multi-tasking. As a result, children tend to spend an increased amount of time in child support apparatus such as strollers, high chairs, play pens and portable carriages.

He explains that habitual placing of children in this upright position inhibits the development of the cervical musculature (neck) and the vestibular apparatus (of the ear) from optimal development.

The result is that children and adolescents struggle to maintain proper posture thanks to under-development of stabilizer muscles and over compensation by prime mover muscle groups.

This cycle is exacerbated by our societies need to encourage children to progress faster than their bodies are capable of safely progressing. Reasons include parents wanting their child to be "advanced" for their age, or, so they do not have to pick them up as frequently.

This acceleration of natural progression goes against the normal progression cycle a child should move through:
  • lifting their heads
  • rolling over
  • sitting upright
  • crawling
  • pulling themselves up
  • balancing
  • walking
  • running
Altering this progression impacts on bio-motor development and results in an increased stress on articular surfaces at the joints, especially at the hips and lower backs (implications as we get older: back pain, hip replacements).

Furthermore, movement patterning is not fully realized.

An example is crawling and how it is an extremely important part of development and the maximization of an infants neural cross wiring.

Research has demonstrated that children who did not learn to crawl often lack basic coordination and motor skills.

During studies, when exercises similar in nature to the cross pattern motion of crawling were introduced to children, they showed marked improvements in the following areas:
  • stamina
  • coordination
  • hearing
  • vision
  • breathing
  • writing
  • concentration
  • comprehension skills
The conclusion: crawl patterning is vital in the enhancement of neurological development and the integrated functioning of both hemispheres of the brain.

The bottom line, not only is the proper developmental progression of a child vital to their current health but plays an enormous part in their future health and wellness.

Monday, October 18, 2010

You're Only as Valuable as Your Reputation

Well, Jillian Michaels has yet another problem - besides the lawsuits against her regarding her nutritional "supplements" (the parentheses are purposely used to represent my sarcasm and utter disdain for these products), now she's had a scathing review of one of her fitness DVDs.

You hear that noise? It's her credibility crashing.

The truth is, I have no idea if Jillian Michaels is a good trainer. I checked out her supposed certifications - one never expires (which makes me question the legitmacy) and, quite frankly, the fact that I hadn't really heard of either of them before makes me suspicious about their quality. But let's assume she IS a qualified, competent trainer - why has she let herself be represented and/or attached her name to such questionable things?

The bottom line is that her value is only as high as her public perception, and as more and more of these continue to pile up the further she falls. Yes, she may land in a pile of money - but like any other Faustian tale... in the end, she will have to ask herself if it was worth it.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

“Keeping my options open”

Each time I hear this from a new acquaintance or old friend who hasn’t lasted more than 365 days on one focus, I chuckle. (inside of course). I immediately think of all these like minded peeps who’ve left their ‘just wasn’t working for me’ jobs for a smoother path towards greener paychecks. Lets just say thank god I wasn’t holding my breath until they reached their promised fantasy land.

Yet the cycle continues, every day at jobs (for those who have them) around the world we play this little game of confusion around what the word ‘work’ really means.

Here’s a couple of facts we like to share with young people when we’re talking with them about real life ‘today’.

1. the world is in a recession. In 1/2 part due to the consumer driven infection that drives us to spend more than we earn and the other 1/2 part due to the misnomer that we think someone else should be paying us more in order to balance our personal lunacy.

2. the gap between the wealthy and poor is at an all time high. Middle class is disappearing. That’s a fact that few seem to be exploring and asking the all important question – why? Why? Because the middle class got wrapped up in trying to be the upper class which resulted in them becoming the lower class.

3. there’s 2 disconnects that exist in the workplace. People knowing what they are passionate about and people knowing what they are good at. Lots of people who think they’re good at positions they are not and lots of people passionate about something that they are not working on or in at present.

4. the stat of young people going through 8 different jobs while their parents may have gone through 2 would only be a ‘see – told you so stat’..... if we were not in a recession. The REALity we’re in a recession kind of speaks to the fact that statistic NOT being used as an argument ‘for’.

5. the wealthy will continue to get wealthier by selling the poor things they actually don’t really need.... Under the pretense of making their lives easier. eg: ‘selling the dream’. The wealthy hire people (marketers) to speak to you in language that makes the poor feel they cared about. Question. Ever had a salesperson you turned down try to continue to spend time getting to know you?

6. there is a common denominator in situations that have gone wrong and right. If you ever want to give yourself.... say...... a SELF EXAMINATION answer the following question honestly. Was my attitude the same during the last week as it was my first week? Then take a guess at the main person who changed the most during that timeframe. Take another guess at what’s going to happen at your ‘next new best job’.... then connect the dots as to why young people actually have 8 different jobs before they quit, move back home and go ‘back to school’ to get more education.

7. ever notice what happens to people with great attitudes, who do more than what they contractually agreed to and carve out their own successes? Right, the happy water cooler peeps call them names like kiss asses and spread rumors about what they must be doing to get ahead. Water cooler people.... it’s actually not that complicated.

8. most great businesses will thrive in your absence. In fact, because most people who depart don’t know ‘how to’ do that professionally either, customers, peers, managers and employers are HAPPY to see the door hit the back of your ass and instead of people talking in ‘remember how great x was’, they say nothing or... Man, they just hated life at the end didn’t they.

Read these facts. Share them with friends and family you hear lamenting about how they are undervalued and ready to move on to something “way better”. Because the REALity is the next best thing is supposed to be created by the very people who are out of tune with the fundamentals of life so instead of becoming stronger – they become weaker. They become followers.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The price of complacency

It's been said that more change will occur (socio-economically speaking) within this day than someone who is 90 has seen in their entire lifetime.
While some have said, "the more things change, the more they stay the same", consider this...

For over a decade, companies with names like "AAA Plumbing" thrived because they would be placed alphabetically first in the phonebook, the same companies may not even appear in the first 10 pages of a Google search. All a company had to do 25 years ago was add an extra 'A' in their name to trump the phone book competition, however today the playing field has changed.

Rather than being displayed alphabetically, companies are now sought out in terms of, among other factors, their RELEVANCE. A $50 nuance search and a few hundred to incorporate your company no longer keep you in the game.

The companies that survive, and thrive, today - are the ones who have made a habit of reinventing themselves and getting their message/ brand/ logo/ name out there (directly to the right audience as well).

It's very possible that what may have worked 25 years ago doesn't even get your foot in the door today. Social media is not a fad, it is where business and customers live. The fastest growing demographic among Facebook users? Women 55- 65.

The rules of business have changed and if you are not a part of that change than someone else is re-writing the rules of engagement that you have to live by.

The price of complacency in today's business world? Extinction.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stop sugar coating the truth - sugar can shorten your life!

One of the things I enjoy about Blog postings is they provide an excellent opportunity to acquire new information in a quick and easy manner, provided the source of that information is reliable.

A posting that I have been following quite a while now is written by a doctor called Gabe Mirkin. I like his postings because they are always relevant and very informative.

One of his more recent postings looked at Why sugar can shorten and lengthen your life.

It is a very relevant posting, not only because of the explosion of obesity in all age groups, but also because by not fully understanding the basic science of what sugar actually does to our bodies, we are less likely to make a change to our eating habits.

Basically when large amounts of sugar are consumed, Glucose (sugar) is converted to Fructose and this is then broken down into sugar alcohol (Sorbitol), which basically destroys cells of all types, and ultimately causes Diabetes with its wide range of side affects:
  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Kidney damage
Don't get me wrong, sugar plays an essential part in our daily functioning, and without it our brains would not be able to function. In fact 98% of the brains energy requirement is met by Glucose.

Without sufficient sugar circulating in the blood, the liver releases sugar that it has stored to meet the requirements of the brain. Insufficient stores of glucose will result in the body converting protein to glucose - not an ideal scenario.

Muscles are run on Glucose energy, and with assistance from Insulin, Glucose is drawn from the blood into the muscle.

It is interesting to note that during physical activity, muscles do not require Insulin to draw glucose from the blood. Active muscles are also extremely sensitive to Insulin, which means far less total Insulin is required to provide energy to the working muscle compared to the inactive muscle.

The benefits of this are at their greatest up to about an hour after exercise (also known as the Glycogen window). This elevated sensitivity lasts up to 17 hours post exercise.

Generally, when sugar is consumed during times of inactivity, the body shuttles it to the liver where it is stored as Glycogen (the storage form of Glucose). No problem.

There is a problem, however, when large quantities of sugar are consumed because large amounts of Insulin are required to deal with the elevated concentrations of blood sugar.

Sugar is then converted into triglycerides (fat) and one of the side affects is increased abdominal fat storage. This leads to a blocking of Insulin receptors, which in turn males blood sugar and Insulin levels rise even higher.

A vicious cycle.

With Diabetes, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases making health headlines on a daily basis, it is clear to see that a major culprit is sugar.

By monitoring and controlling our intake of sugars, we will be able to reduce the risk of falling prey to the numerous life threatening diseases that plague our society today.

Friday, October 08, 2010

What's Your Number One Priority?

Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?

~ Edgar Bergen (1903 - 1978), (Charlie McCarthy)

Have you noticed that it has become socially acceptable to be a workaholic? Everyone is so focused on their work that no one has time for quality of life anymore and they justify it with the need to make a living. What people seem to be forgetting is that without your health, you have no livelihood.

Being in the health and fitness industry, you hear this excuse all the time - I'm too busy. What I hear people saying when they say that, is that my health is not a priority. Maybe when your health starts deteriorating and affecting your work, it will become a priority, but why let it get that far?

There are 168 hours in a week, can you honestly justify saying that you don't have enough time to dedicate to your well being? Without it, it doesn't matter how many hours are in your work week because you will not be able to slog through any of them.

So, the next time you're sitting at your desk answering that last e-mail, or taking the call from the person who can't wait instead of showing up for your workout or missing your run keep this in mind - I can guarantee that your work will be there when you get back, but your health will not wait for you.

~ Sasha

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

If it ain't broke...

...don't fix it goes the conventional wisdom.

The fact is, the only constant is change.

Penicillin was discovered by accident, and some of the greatest inventions, revelations, and ideas aren't "planned".

3M, one of the companies most accredited with technology and change ("we didn't invent the things you love, we made them better"), institutes a rule wherein 15% of each employees time is to be spent creatively, challenging the status quo and free to explore in unrestrained territory.

Today's message is short, sweet, simple, and straightforward.

If you aren't changing on your own terms, you will be changing on someone else's.

If you aren't reinventing yourself, you will be struggling to keep up with someone else who just did (and who grabbed a portion of your market share in the process).

If it ain't broke, break it.

the great companies think that way,
the great athletes think that way,
the great societies in history started that way before ego or complacency spelled their downfall.

Do something different today and then do it different again tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A lifelong commitment is required!

We are all aware of the positive impact exercise and physical activity has on our overall well being.

Unfortunately, as we age, it becomes a little more difficult to hold onto many of the components that comprise fitness, such as flexibility, muscle strength, balance and co-ordination. With these components decreasing with age, there is is often an increase in the risk of injury and the occurence of accidents occuring.

The increased risk of falls and resultant bone fractures and breaks is a real area of concern for aging population groups and medical health care providers alike.

With so many research studies showing such a high correlation between exercise and enhanced quality of life, in both physical and mental sphere, the case for remaining physically active throughout our lives grows stronger every year.

In fact, a recent study published in the September 27 issue of Internal Medicine Archives, looked at the impact a home based exercise program had on a number of women, diagnosed with osteopenia (mild bone density loss), over a period of 7 years.

It concluded that "a home based program of regular exercise can significantly improve balance, gait and functional ability, and lead to fewer fractures..."

Further findings showed that those who participated in the home based program of regular exercise had:
  1. less postural sway
  2. faster walking speeds
  3. no hip fractures compared with 5 in the non-exercise group
  4. bone density deterioration was the same in both groups
  5. 1 death while the non-exercise group had 8 deaths
So once again the importance of continued, and regular, physical has been empirically shown.

As Coaches and trainers we are both facilitators and educators - experts on the subject of how to lead a balanced and healthy life. As such, we should be motivating and inspiring individuals from all age groups to a lifelong commitment toward exercise and physical activity.

Monday, October 04, 2010

And then Came Jar Jar Binks...

In 1973, George Lucas began the treatment for what would become a defnining film for an entire generation - although it went through many titles and revisions, on the 25th of May, 1977 Star Wars was released. For the next two movies, he brought in a few others to help out with the writing and directing - Lawrence Kasdan and Irvin Kirshner amongst them.
The result of this was the creation of a movie series that became the modern-day fables - the ultimate and forever ambigious definition of the never-ending battle between good and evil. It was a defining component of an entire generation and had an impact that is yet to be seen again in popular culture.
Then, 20 years later, he began work on the prequels. However, by now it would seem that his ego had become as large as the influence of Star Wars, and he didn't collaborate with anyone else for the prequels... the result of which being movies jam packed with characters, poor dialogue, choppy storylines - and Jar Jar Binks.
He had effectively destroyed everything that Star Wars had become, and with each prequel it lost even more of it's luster.
Don't let this happen to you. Remember that times, people and situations all change - as do you. Don't be afraid to bring others in to help you with things are not your strength, don't be blind to your shortcomings, and keep your ego in check.
Work to preserve your legacy - or you run the risk of forever being remembered not for the amazing things you've done... but for your own Jar Jar Binks.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn't Work Hard.

"Do, or do not. There is not 'try'."

~ Jedi Master Yoda

If you had natural talent, what would you do with it? My youngest sister is a gifted track athlete, and like many gifted with something, she never really had to work hard at getting better at it. She was a big fish in a small pond in high school and is now in her first year at university and little fish in a big pond.

They recently held tryouts for the track team and the head coach told her in no uncertain terms that there were people that were better than her, and that they would rather work with people to refine their talents, instead of developing someone else's. He finished by saying that if she paid five hundred dollars for the year then she could train with the team, not with the head coach, and that she could compete in local events, but there's only one. Now she doesn't know what to do.

When I was in grade nine, I tryed out for the basketball team and didn't make it (and if anyone has seen me dance they will understand why). I was devastated, I really enjoyed playing and I was humiliated. I went home and told my mom and she said that if I really wanted to play that I would find a way. The next day, I went to the coach and asked him if I could practice with the team, and go to the games but that I understood that I wouldn't be playing unless a few others were seriously injured in a fluke accident.

I went to every practice and worked my butt off. I showed up for every game, home or away. I considered it a privilege to be a part of the team. Then one day, our team was creaming the other school and the coach pulled the weakest line in to play and I was on it, and surprisingly, not that bad. That one game turned into me playing more often and eventually starting every game. I ended the year with MVP and will never forget the experience.

I know that I don't have a natural talent for basketball, I just worked really hard to improve my skill. I know that my sister has a natural talent for track and field but hasn't had to work for it yet. I can't make up her mind, but I know that trying and failing is worth more to me than never attempting. 'Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable,' ~ Sydney J Harris.

~ Sasha