Monday, April 30, 2012

Something Has to Change

With all of the injuries to the head that have been occurring in sports like football and hockey, the people who run it have been trying to make adjustments that a) make it safer, and b) still keep the people with the money happy.  It seems that all they've managed to do so far is piss everyone off.

Quite frankly, I don't know what the answer is - but what I'm quite sure of is that all of the people who speak of "the good old days" and how we should get back to that time are somewhat deluded.  While I'm sure that the number of head injuries was lower, the way that the sports were played was different - on top of which, I suspect a number of players actually were concussed, but nobody realized it.

The bottom line is this: the players are not going to get smaller, or slower.  The equipment is not going to become less protective - so the games themselves have to change.  We can wax nostalgia all we want for how it used to be - but if we don't find some way to adapt, then the sports we love so much are simply going bet themselves into extinction.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Are You Letting Them Get Away With It?

I cannot take credit for a single word written below (although, I wish I could). This was an amazing blog post written by Thomas Plummer last week. I just have one question for you after reading it, are you letting them get away with it?

Don showed up to the club everyday, six days a week and had been doing that for 11 years. He became a member the third month the club opened and he considered himself one of the original members in the club. The only day he missed was Sunday, and that was only because his wife said she would divorce him if he didn’t at least go to church with her once a week.

The group always met in the big chairs in front of the shake bar every morning. The average age of all the guys, which sometimes numbered as many as six, was about 60. Everyone in the gang ambled in for morning coffee around 6:30 a.m. carrying gym bags, or if they were retired, they sported every old, tired tee shirt and short combination imaginable. No one wore new stuff, unless it was after Christmas and you had to wear what your wife gave your for at least a week, because new stuff wasn’t as cool as wearing the same beat up workout shirt for 10 years in a row. There was status in a tee shirt that was old and most of the shirts were either acquired free or were from some long forgotten vacation.

These guys were gentlemen loved by the staff and the other members. If one missed, the group was concerned and if anyone needed help the gang was usually there moving furniture, helping with a home project or doing whatever was needed.

Sometimes these guys even worked out. Most of them did the same circuit, using the same reps and same weights, year after year. On off days, they all walked on the treads slowly talking to each other up and down the row, but never fast enough where you couldn’t hold a good conversation.

Don died of a heart attack at age 60 and he died because we failed him. He died because we all knew that what he had been calling fitness for the last 11 years was in reality nothing more than a gentle stroll on the tread followed by a circuit that hadn’t challenged his body since the first month he started as a member.

We failed Don, and all the other guys, and all the other members like Don, because we knew that what he was doing wasn’t good for him or enough of a challenge and we let him get away with it. 

Of course there might be other reasons associated with Don’s death, but for 11 years, six days a week, we knew that what he was doing in this gym was working against him and we definitely did not do our job and intervene.

The real issue is how hard do you want to push the Dons in your business? Even trainer gyms have clients that do as little as possible and after a few years we just let them get away with it. We love them, take their money, and make a few suggestions that they should work harder, but mostly we accept that fact that this client just isn’t motivated and he just keeps moving at his own speed.

We do not do the clients, members or ourselves any good by ignoring what we know to be harmful behavior. If you have these members, you have to do whatever possible to change the behavior and at some point you might be better off pushing enough that the client either changes or leaves. We can justify ourselves and say that at least Don was moving a little every day, but in reality we could also show how much we care, and how much we believe in what we are doing, by pushing hard to get more out of the people who give us money, but don’t get what they pay for in exchange.

We owe guys like Don our best attempt to give them more then they sometimes get from us. We have to remember that we are in the fitness business, not the clubhouse business and if we know that what the member is doing is detrimental to his own well being then we need to sit the member down and have the talk.

If you accept the money; then failing the member is not an option, and the responsibility becomes ours to do what we can, and beyond, to help every member live a long and healthy life.

~ Courtesy of Thomas Plummer

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Challenge. Adversity. Victory!

This article was written by a customer of IF and a good friend of mine. There is nothing I can add to this so I will just post it as is. This is a true story of Challenge Adversity and Victory.

‘So it looks like there was some cancer in there’.  It was December 30, 2005, I was 33 years old and was told this by the surgeon who removed a lump from my left breast 10 days earlier.  He continued on by saying another surgery was needed to determine if the cancer had spread into the lymph nodes.  They would also be doing a partial mastectomy because there wasn’t enough tissue without cancer cells present from what was already removed (known as a clear margin).  At that moment, life as I knew it ceased to exist.  There were so many emotions running through me and I was in shock – how could this be happening to me?  I kept waiting for someone to call and tell me there was a mistake and mostly, I just wanted someone to tell me I was going to be ok.  Those first few weeks after being diagnosed were difficult as there were so many unknowns and I didn’t know what was in store for me. 

After the second surgery, the news was both good and bad.  The cancer hadn’t spread, however there still wasn’t a clear enough margin and they were now recommending a full mastectomy.  I was so relieved the cancer hadn’t spread and was strangely ok with knowing that I was going to lose my breast.  At that point my thinking was, I would rather lose my breast than lose my life.  Despite that thought, three weeks prior to the surgery I was in the mall and remember looking at the shirts on display in one of the stores and thinking, ‘why bother buying any new shirts, you are just going to look like a freak in them’.  That set off a grieving process as the full realization of what was about to happen hit me and it lasted until the day of the surgery.  After the surgery was over, there was nothing more I could do about it but move on and get used to what was now my new ‘normal’.  At the end of May, I continued on with six weeks of radiation treatments.  In September I had breast reconstruction surgery, a surgery that had to be redone in 2008 due to my body rejecting the first implant. 

Since 1999, fitness has played a role in my life in one form or another and in 2003 I took up running.  I was so thankful to have this because running became an outlet for me to cope with all that was going on.  It was important for me to continue on with life as usual and as long as I was able to be active, I would continue doing so.  Whether consciously or not, at some point I had decided that I wasn’t going to let cancer run my life – it had to fit into mine.  I remember days walking into the radiation treatment room, dropping my running bag in the chair, getting treated, changing into my running clothes after and rushing out the Cancer Agency door to meet up with my running friends. 

Prior to being diagnosed, I wanted to do a marathon and signed up for the 2006 Vancouver Marathon.  I had to withdraw as I didn’t know at that point how bad it was and what my course of treatment would be.  As the weeks went on and my treatment path became clear, I found that I was fortunate enough to be able to continue on with running and other physical activities with just brief periods of down time.  Throughout that year I would assess where I was at physically, sign up for various events and continue on with my training.  Just 2 weeks before my mastectomy I managed to place first in my age group at a local half marathon and was thrilled.  In October of that year, five weeks after the first reconstruction surgery, I finally ran my first marathon in Victoria and even managed to do it in less than 4 hours. 

2006 started off as one of the worst years of my life but it ended up being one of the best.  I grew as a person and learned so much about myself and wouldn’t trade that for anything.  One of the most important things I appreciated is that you don’t know what life has in store for you.  As much as you like to think you are in control, you really aren’t and it only takes one moment to take that all away.  My takeaway from that was – you better do the things you want to do now and don’t wait because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

It was during this time that another friend of mine and I got talking about taking up triathlons and we both expressed a desire to participate in an Ironman.  I never thought I would ever see the day where participating in an Ironman would be something I could do.  I started watching it on TV in the 90’s and was in awe of those people thinking, ‘I’ll never do anything like that’.  Now, having been given the proverbial ‘wakeup call’, I figured, why not…you want to do this, you are in a place in your life where you are able so just go for it.

In January of 2007 I started down the road of triathlon with the goal being to participate in Ironman Canada in Penticton in 2008.  After a 3.8 km swim, a 180 km bike ride and a 42.2 km run, on August 24, 2008, I got to hear the best words ever – Wanita Van Leeuwen – you are an Ironman!  Since then I have been fortunate enough to qualify for and run in the 2011 Boston Marathon.  In August of 2011 I participated in my second Ironman in Penticton and finished 1.5 hours faster than the first time.  In September of 2011 I joined Innovative Fitness and have thoroughly enjoyed the training.  I look forward to every session and am so pleased with the results I am seeing. 

I don’t want cancer to define who I am.  Even though it will always be a part of my life, it is only one of the many things that make up who I am.  I am an athlete.  I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt.  I am an employee.  I love shoes and wine and my fat cat.  I have an amazing group of friends, a wonderful family and a husband who has stood by me through everything.  Life is good and I feel blessed to have been able to do the things I have done and I look forward to accomplishing so much more

I leave you with a saying a very good friend of mine gave me as encouragement before having my mastectomy.  Not only did it make me laugh but it also summed it all up for me and became my mantra…Courage, Sacrifice, Determination, Commitment, Toughness, Heart, Talent, Guts.  That’s what little girls are made of; the hell with sugar and spice!

~ Wanita

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Life Lessons From the Inca Trail

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness" - Mark Twain

After returning last week from hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, taking a day hike in Ollantaytambo, a day tour of both Cuzco and Lima, and spending time with the porters who carry almost all of our stuff, one can't help but leave with some fresh/ refreshed perspective. Things I learned or remembered in Peru.

1. Someone who is busier than you is running right now. We've probably all heard that quote or 'liked' the post on Facebook. What does it mean? It means 'comfortable' is dangerously close to 'complacent'. Our guide, who spoke 3 languages and hikes the Inca Trail 4 - 5 times a month during the peak season; has a degree in tourism and is finishing a second degree in law. He is going to define the spirit of capitolism and what can be acheived if we never stop working for our dreams.
2. Less is more. No TV for at least 5 of the days, no email access most of the time, no phone calls meant all we were able to do is be truly alive more moments of the day.
3. We were meant to move. 5 cities and 4 historic sites in 8 days (2 of which were entirely spent travelling), poor sleeps every night and yet I return at peace. In our constantly plugged in world our brains & parasympathetic nervous systems are on all the time, yet our spirits rarely see any stimulation. We witnessed food storage areas that would be 20 minute (or longer) hikes away from where people would eat or prepare food, but the Inca's were anything but lazy. Machu Picchu remained as an Incan site undisturbed by the Spanish because "who would build a settlement way up in the mountains?"
4. The greatest legacy you can give your kids are life lessons and opportunities to demonstrate what they've learned. Most of our porters worked solely to pay for their kids' education to give them a better life than they had. In many cases this meant living in different cities & rarely seeing your kids. How many of us could be that unselfish?
5. We are most alive in the pursuit and attainment of our goals. No matter how old or young you are, it's never too late, to early, or too frequent (depending on your roles & responsibilities) to be getting busy making the most out of your one shot at life.

There are many, many more lessons that the Inca Trail can teach - but the one thing I can say for sure - is that these lessons can only be learned by living life, not reading about it. Get busy living!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why Should I Hire You?

Cartoon from:

My sense of the typical Swimupstream / Innovative Thinking reader is that they are currently employed.  Therefore, this post is likely one for you to send to your teenaged son or daughter, or maybe file in your memory banks to teach your child before they go for their first job interview.

There are a thousand (actually 13,900,000) websites on "how to ace a job interview" so I'm not wading into the mix with a definitive reference manual on the topic.  I'm here to give a single tip.

In a job interview there is only one question you have to know how to answer really well.  If you have a well thought out response to it, you'll be able to handle any question the interviewer comes up with.  That question is:

"Why should I hire you?"

It's pretty basic, and it's not a trick question...  however I'd say 9 times out of 10 when I ask that question the candidate looks at me blankly as though I've asked a real 'stumper'.  That look is usually followed by a stumbling, overly humble answer or an answer that in no way separates the candidate from the competition.

When prepping for an interview EVERY SINGLE ANSWER a candidate rehearses should be designed to contribute to answering that single question.

If I was in the business of coaching people to ace job interviews I would get them to list all the reasons why they should be hired for the job in question.  If there are any less than 10 reasons you probably aren't right for the job or your confidence / self-esteem needs work.

After the list is created and committed to memory you are ready for your interview.  When the questions come you simply relax, and tell the 'boss' why he should hire you - sharing facts, (appropriate) stories and experiences that convey as many of your reasons as possible.  (Note:  Take care not to come across as overly full of yourself!)

I'll use everyone's favourite question as an example:

Question:  What are your biggest weaknesses?

Potential Answer:  I'd say the biggest professional challenges I've faced to date were to do with time management and organization.  When I first entered the workforce these were areas where I was ill-equipped to succeed.  Since then I've searched and found methods that work for me - like this daytimer that is my bible, and my smartphone where I keep voice notes and lists...  but it's an area that I have to be very vigilant and hard-working because I don't have a mind that keeps every detail organized without these tools. 

In this case the question has provided an opportunity to convey several answers to "Why should I hire you?"

1.  Because I am able to analyze myself and draw valuable conclusions.
2.  Because when I have a weakness I view it as a challenge to be worked on.
3.  Because I am (now) very organized.
4.  Because I (now) have excellent time management skills and have given you examples.
5.  Because I have a great work ethic that I use to shore up any weaknesses.

What are the best interview tips you've heard?  Do you have any advice to share?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Right vs Wrong

Back when the Kyoto Accord was first being debated, I remember an analyst saying something that really resonated with me - "There are no 'good' policies and 'bad' policies... there are only policies with pros and cons that must be weighed".

I realized then that this applies to most of the decisions that we're confronted with - rarely is there a black and white, right and wrong comparison. More often than not, we have to weigh the cost and benefit of our decisions, and decide not only which one is right for us, but which one is right for us at that time... knowing that, at some point, everything could change.

This isn't mean to cause people to second-guess themselves, but rather to have a little more understanding when someone takes a different view than they do - and to potentially create a little more empathy to them. Because although the cost/benefit analysis makes perfect sense to you, doesn't mean it will to another - and if your job is to convince them that you are correct, then understanding what makes something better or worse for someone else can only help you to strengthen your position.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Who Run The World?

"Be the Queen Bee, not the Busy Bee," ~ Ally Brown.

This one is for the ladies. We (on the whole) are excellent muti-taskers, it's one of our greatest gifts and biggest pitfalls. How many of us can relate to this
I Don't Know How She Does It? We need to learn how to be the master and not the slave to our "To Do Lists," then and only then, will we be able to harness our power for the greater good.

We need to develop the one thing that will make us more effective multi-taskers, that which will strike fear into the hearts of "to do list tasks" everywhere, and that's tunnel vision. In the words of Johann Von Goethe, "Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least."

In more practical terms, what one thing will have the biggest impact on what you wish to accomplish? We have the tendency to start with smaller tasks in an effort to make ourselves feel more productive, and wonder why we still feel stressed at the end of the day. Duh. It's because the big task is being carried over into tomorrow, looming overhead.

One of the greatest pieces of advice I ever heard was when you have your "To Do List" for the day, rank each task in order of most important to least, and that's your plan of attack. Develop tunnel vision. Get focused. And, learn to say "no" if something doesn't fit into your big picture.

And, after that,

Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?
Brain: The same thing we do every night.
Pinky: Try to take over the world!
~ Sasha

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Coaching = Making Yourself Better

Today I am reflecting on what it means to be a coach. Taking the time to coach kids is something that we all should do at some level. There is a huge lack of coaches out there who are willing to work with the youth of today (without getting paid!) and that is a tragedy. Normally I would stress the rewards of helping the young and what an important thing it is to do, but today I am going to talk about what coaching does for a coach's own skill level.
I work with a junior girls development basketball program called Junior Cascades ( I have worked, in some capacity, with this program for 7 years and I can honestly say I love the feeling of giving back and helping kids learn new skills. Yesterday, however, it really dawned on me how much coaching was also helping me.
This philosophy is based on the premise that to get better at something, try teaching it to someone else! When you have to break down a skill that you have taken for granted, it helps you better understand what you are doing and how you can do it better. It is one thing to do an inside-out crossover but quite another to break it down segment by segment to somebody who has no idea how to do it.
This principle works with every skill in every field. Last weekend I ran an Innovative Fitness orientation with training coach candidates and, as I talked about the basics of personal training and the core of our business, I realized that it was helping me understand it better myself. Almost 10 years in the industry and 2 years of running an IF franchise and I am still learning new things about the simple basics of what I do!
When you feel you have reached a high level of a skill, it is time to break it down to the nuts and bolts and rebuild it to see if you can improve upon it. While you are doing that, you may want to consider taking someone with you. Share the basic knowledge that is needed to do what you do. Help somebody else out and, at the same time, get better at what you do. This is the great thing about coaching. You get to help others and leave a legacy while improving your own skills and revisiting the things that made you good at your profession/sport/skill in the first place.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Vancouver on the Brink

Since I don't know how to make a catchy Canuck parody of a top 40 song, I will dust off my 7th grade poetry skills to mark this day...

Vancouver on the Brink - April 18, 2012

In Ornskoldsvik the children play hockey all day,
"I wanna be like Danny and Hank" they say.
Art Ross, Hart, and President's Trophies, all won at a clip,
One gap on the mantel, one cup left to tip.

Enter Duncan Keith and the Blackhawks. Why, I oughta!
Thought that series last year woulda taught ya.
That cheap shot started players a sparring,
When Danny's frontal lobe took an unfortunate jarring.

Now our hopes seem to rest on Kassian and crew,
Forgive me if I ask, "sorry... on who?"
Yeah, you remember - Cody Hodgson was traded,
Sami and Zack were paraded (we'll call it "Playoffs Take 2!")

Three games now without the twin magic,
Shakespeare himself would call it quite tragic.
Sure, together the sum exceeds two,
Alas, results show one red-headed Swede just won't do.

Word on the street is that Lu and Schneids just ain't Quick,
And that Burr and Lapierre, well... they're pricks.
Round the league our Nucks are widely hated,
At home our Cup dreams for now are abated.

And thus Canuck Nation leaps off the bandwagon,
When one short year ago we "slayed the dragon".
Now those dreams of a rematch with Chara,
On hold like a cheap shirt at Zara.

Condo dwellers in a rainforest unite!
This deathly pall on the city's a blight!
Back on with your jersey and paint your face blue,
Cuz this series, remember, ain't through...

However, If tomorrow we rise and it's over,
Let's hope we kept ourselves sober.
Burning squad cars, broken windows and tear gas,
A fading memory of a playoff long past.

~ Meyrick Jones

Monday, April 16, 2012

Losing vs. Being Beaten

Do you all hear that creak? It's the sound the bandwagon makes as everyone jumps off.

Not me. I'm still a Flames fan first (despite the fact that I have absolutely no idea what the end-game is for management, as they seem perfectly happy to hover around mediocrity or something below), but generally a fan of most of our Canadian teams. I say "most" because I just can't bring myself to cheer for Toronto - though that's a different subject.

That being said, I had a bit of an argument with my brother about how the Vancouver series has gone. See, I feel that for all the criticism that is (inevitably) lobbed at the Canucks - some of it deserved - I don't think people are giving credit one the LA goalie for the role he's playing. Some of the comments I hear are that we're shooting straight at him, we're not making him work, etc etc... but, quite frankly, I think that the fact he doesn't look like he's working is more a credit to the quality goaltender he is. You don't make 46 saves in one game, then follow it up with 41, just because the other team is "shooting at your chest" or is "unlucky" - it happens because you are playing just that well.

And Jonathan Quick is playing that well.

Yes, games 1 and 2 were not our best efforts, and no, our goalies have not been to blame (I'm squarely in the "trade Luongo and keep Schneider" camp). Indeed, the Canucks haven't gotten a bounce, and their powerplay is just rancid. But, particularly in game 3 - I have to say, I don't think it's as simple as seeing the team losing because of these things... I think a significant part of it is that we're being beaten by a very good goalie as well.

Can the Canucks come back? Statistically - no. Does that mean I'm giving up? Nope.

I figure I just have a little more elbow room on the bandwagon.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Strong Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

Strong comes in all shapes and sizes. The very definition of strong is: (1) Physically powerful; capable of exerting great physical force, (2) Marked by great physical power and (3) In good or sound health; robust: a strong constitution; a strong heart. As a woman, and a Professional Training Coach I wholeheartedly embrace the trend of ‘strong as the new skinny,’ however, my concern is that we (women) are embracing a body image, and not an ideology.

Please don’t misunderstand me; I don’t want to take anything away from the ‘uber-fit’ woman who appears on the cover of the latest fitness magazine or whose picture is used with the inspirational quote super imposed over her fit form (I love those!) And, let’s be honest, unless she’s been gifted with some incredible genetics, she’s worked her butt off to own her fine form, and we should respect said work.

What I think needs to be understood (by all of us) is that the woman mentioned above is only one version of strong, and we need to be careful not to embrace her body, so much as what she stands for. Let’s not let the message of ‘strong as the new skinny’ become so garbled that it turns into an obsessive quest for the ever elusive six pack because that’s ‘what’s in now.’

We’re smarter than that. We’re more than an image, and it’s time we realised it. Let’s embrace the message, and not the body type - strong comes in all shapes and sizes. ‘Strong as the new skinny’ is about changing your view of what’s possible to find out what you’re really capable of. That’s strong.

~ Sasha


Change is often a scary subject. Making a change can be exhilarating and positive if we allow it to be, but there is always some trepidation and anxiety that goes along with it. Humans, in general, like routine and structure even if we don’t want to admit it. Entering into the unknown, even if it is for the better, brings about feelings of uncertainty and dread.
How do we know that the proposed change is a good thing? How do we know it won’t end in catastrophic failure? Well, the answer to that is we don’t know, but it is this lack of knowing that makes it exciting. Trying something new can allow us to grow as individuals or it can end in disappointment, but that's okay too.
If we don’t allow for change or don’t even let the possibility into our consciousness, then, when there is an unforeseen change, we panic and the outcome is much more likely to be negative.
When do we know it is time to change? If you are doing the same things time and again and they are ending in the same unproductive results, it may be time to change.  
Change is hard, it is scary, it is stressful at times, but it can also be worth it! Take a leap and challenge yourself.

Now, while I feel the sentiments of this blog are true, I think it is also important that we address the other side of change. People often feel that, if they change their scenery or their situation, it will change who they are. I admit that our surroundings have an impact on us - that goes without question, but who we truly are will follow us everywhere.
For example, if you are in a relationship and are constantly jealous and worried that your partner is unfaithful to you, that personality trait is likely to be your own. Finding somebody new will undoubtedly end in the same result, (unless of course that person is actually unfaithful and your worries are accurate!). The new partner can't change your own true self.  That kind of change only happens through self-examination and hard work.
If you think that moving cities or jobs will reinvent your life and you will suddenly be changed into a different person, you're likely wrong. We carry ourselves with us wherever we go. Our fears, superstitions, and self-inflicted drama will follow us no matter where on the globe we are. This change of scenery idea is often a notion believed by the young. “I need to get out of this crappy town and go somewhere better” is a statement I have heard many times and even said myself. I even tried it once. The problem is that our chosen social circles and our attitude towards our surroundings are our own. They don’t change because we have transplanted ourselves. You can surround yourselves with positive people in any city on the planet. You can meet new people and experience new things no matter where you are.
Making change can be very positive, but expecting that a superficial change - different environment, different partner - will make us into a better version of ourselves is incorrect. To develop a better version of ourselves, we need to look within. Making a better you starts with you.
In order to make fundamental changes in ourselves, we need to recognize and address what our own problems are and that is often extremely difficult. We humans are generally egocentric and expect that the world should change while we stay the same.  After all, everyone else is crazy while we are totally sane, right? The problem is that we all believe that to be true. Somebody is wrong.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Good Game?

Scene I: Second Period Intermission – West Vancouver Arena - Atom A game. Home Team is up 4-1, the game is well in hand with the West Van kids outplaying the other team quite badly for two straight periods.

As the players take the ice for the 3rd period the timekeeper plugs 7:00 into the clock – an abbreviated period to stay within the allotted ice time.

Scene II: Final buzzer. Home Team LOSES 5-4 after surrendering 4 straight goals in a spectacular collapse featuring ZERO back checking and substandard efforts from every player.

Scene III: Home Dressing Room. Kids seem totally unfazed by the loss, laughing, fooling around, smiling… As parents enter and greet their children the following phrases are heard, "Great job out there!", "You guys played great!", "Nice effort!"

Background: These are kids (9-10 years old) who take hockey seriously, have a coach who teaches them break-out plays, has players arrive in shirts and ties with jerseys on hangars 60 minutes prior to game time for warm-up.

Question: You walk over to your son/daughter who, like everyone else, showed little effort in the third period, what do you say and why?


Monday, April 09, 2012

Too Much of a Good Thing?

It's a funny world we live in. It seems like every time something comes through that is perceived as "good" for us, there will be an initial period where a few outliers try it out, maybe see some positive results... and then the marketing and hype get a hold of it and suddenly everyone is doing it all the time, and touting it as the best thing ever...

The thing is, there usually is a tipping point where it becomes too much - but generally, by the time it's discovered way too many people are using/loving it, and the evidence to the contrary is dismissed... at least for a while. It seems much harder to eliminate things from our collective consciousness than it is to implement it.

A couple of examples come to mind - the first being barefoot running. A lot of the research shows that putting some barefoot training into the program allows for a certain degree of correction to your gait that may help to lower the incidences of knee issues... but this means a slow integration of barefoot running, and potentially just doing short (500m) repeats on a soft/grassy surface - not dropping the shoes for a pair of vibrams and hammering off a 5-10km the first time you try them.

Similarly with long distance running. Being able to run that 5-10km (usually in shoes) is good for your heart health - when you start adding in volume, distance and generally taking it to a higher/more intense level, you begin to see issues on the other end of the spectrum. In fact, this study demonstrates that competitive endurance runners actually show scarring and damage to their heart from the trauma of the training and races that they're doing...

To be clear - I'm not suggesting people "shouldn't run", or that we "should always be wearing shoes" - or any other absolutes. All I'm saying is that no matter what, extreme activities produce extreme results (on both ends of the spectrum) - but the extremes don't always create lasting effects and will sometimes create a "robbing from Peter to pay Paul" turn of events.

I find keeping Newton's 3rd law in mind to be a good check and balance to my days and activities: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.


Friday, April 06, 2012

Let Your Freak Flag Fly

I recently read an article in SUCCESS magazine called, 'Decoding Zooey Deschanel,' and in it, the author talked about how 'The New Girl' star's natural appeal could show you a simple way to increase your own. I was intrigued, what do myself, and Zooey Deschanel have in common? (Side Note: For those of you that don't know, Zooey Deschanel is an American actress, musician and singer-songwriter. Her older sister, Emily Dechanel, is also an actress and stars in the TV series Bones).

Right now, Zooey Deschenel is the hot knife to everyone else's butter. Every man wants her and every woman wants to be her. To men, she's hot, funny, girl-next-door. To women, she's independent, smart, relatable. So what is the core of her appeal? She's unconventional - the opposite of all things logically popular - yet we are still drawn to her.

"And that's something interesting to think about. Perhaps we could all do with a little unconventionality in our delivery, our appearance our air. Maybe it's as simple as allowing that one trait you bury to breathe again. You know the one I mean. In our quest to stand out, we all try to be something a little different than what we really are, which ends up making us exactly what everyone else wants to be: unintentional clones."

What we all can learn from Zooey Deschanel is how to let our freak flags fly. Stand out, stand proud, eccentricities and all.

~ Sasha

Monday, April 02, 2012

What More Do We Need?

This video has been around for a while, so many of you have probably seen it - but I have to tell you, whenever I start getting a bad case of the "first world problems"... I go to this clip of Louis CK and ground myself in reality.

Happy Monday everyone!