Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Now is the time to invest

Maybe the credit crunch hasn't hit you yet, perhaps your bobbing and weaving off the ropes, patiently waiting for your chance to hit back. Believe it or not, now is the time to invest.

"Where is a mans wealth? his wealth is in his knowledge. For if its in the bank and not in his knowledge then he doesn't posses it. Why? because its in the bank."
Muhammad Ali

I would go one step further and say that your wealth is in your health. A physically fit and emotionally centered person will be more effective in life and a lot more joyful than one who is sick from stress, worry and physical inactivity. So considering the state of the financial markets, now more so than ever is the right time to invest in your health.

Do whatever is necessary to claim back your mental calm, emotional and physical wellbeing. Take time to invest in you.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Steve Cotter IKFF Kettlebell Course

IKFF and CJS Fitness Team

I've had the opportunity of Kettlebell training with steve cotter on a number of occasions over the years. This was the first time that he had held a UK IKFF (International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation) Certification course in the UK. This was also the first time the legendary Ken Blackburn had crossed the pond to bless the us with his presence and Kettelbell teaching skills. We were not disappointed.

It was a very demanding and amazing course, with an amazing bunch of people and Kettlebell trainers that attended - from all corners of the earth. Steve Aish of London Kettlebells summed it up perfectly in their recent newsletter so I'm not going to try and top it. The news letter is available in full below. I'll be writing more about my experience of the Kettlebell course, and the strong man competitions on the course that I got stuck into!

London Kettlebell Newsletter September 2008

The London IKFF Certification report by Stephen Aish

I recently had the pleasure of a weekend's kettlebell training with the IKFF. This was a certification course run by Steve Cotter and Ken Blackburn. While being no stranger to kettlebells, I certainly took away a lot of learning points and training methods. I also thought the joint mobility section that Ken delivered was fantastic and extremely functional.

Now to the trainers themselves - Steve is without doubt one of the worlds leading kettlebell experts in both knowledge and ability. He trains like the Duracell bunny and you know he isn't even out of his warm up phase by the smile. His knowledge as a trainer is first class and extremely in depth. The points he has picked up through the contacts he has had in the professional kettlebell world can add to every ability from novice to experienced lifter.
Ken is also a fantastic coach and his level of conditioning has to be seen to be believed. There are not many guys out there at 240lb that can squat thrust, tuck jump and even ground flip with a gymnast's agility and then lift 32k kettlebells without breaking a sweat. Kens knowledge of bodyweight mechanics was demonstrated by a fantastic joint mobility session and his kettlebell ability needs no introduction. When you can chair press a pair of 32ks once you are strong. When you hold the world record with 52 reps you are in a league of your own.

One of the things that really makes the IKFF stand apart from most kettlebell businesses and most businesses in general is that it is a passion first and foremost and a business second. This is easily demonstrated by the fact that the IKFF is focussed as much on what happens to you after a seminar as during. Their aim is to help you promote your kettlebell business and any events you do and to strengthen that long term relationship with you.

If you are serious about learning kettlebells properly or have been using them for weeks, months, or years and think you know what they are all about, drop the ego, book a seminar space and get some serious knowledge under your belt on how to really use kettlebells from true professionals.

If Steve Cotter is humble enough to state that he has been using kettlebells for many years but only using them "properly" for the past couple of years then just maybe more people will realise that the same could be true for them.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

One big reason you're not achieving your goals

The bottom line is, how important is that goal to you? I read an article by Strength and Conditioning Coach Charles Staley, while simplistic in nature, it rang true. If you hear yourself repeatedly telling yourself (or others for that matter) about the weight you want to lose, the marathon you want to run, the weight you wish to lift, the competition you want to win, and you've been saying this for some time (and it still hasn't happened), I urge you to read his article, it will have a profound effect and may just make all the difference between you achieving what you truly want or not.

Here is an extract from the article by Strength Coach Charles Staley, creator of Escalating Density Training.

"Look: You are exactly where you want to be right now. If you REALLY wanted to be somewhere else, you'd have taken the steps necessary to be there now! Now you might say "Well, that’s not true - I know someone who is 100 pounds overweight and he’s miserable!"

To which I say, no, he’s satisfied. Clearly, the benefit he’s deriving from his behaviors still outweighs the drawbacks, or else he’d change those behaviors!

OK, let’s use me as an example. I’m reasonably lean and my goals revolve around...." For full article click here.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Omega -3 Fats cut your chance of death (or hospitalisation)

Omega-3 fatty-acid supplementation improved life expectancy and decreased incidence of death in symptomatic heart-failure patients according to a study released on medscape. Now what was interesting to note statins (a commonly prescribed drug) failed to have any beneficial effect in the same group of patients. Check out the report here

So if you didn't know already fat is good for you. The right type of fat that is. Saturated fats and monounsaturated fats are not nutrients, you do not need them (although you can use them to make energy), but polyunsaturated fats or oils are essential. Essential fats not only reduce risk of death and readmission to hospital from heart disease, but they can reduce the risk of cancer, allergies, eczema, depression, fatigue and even PMS. The two essential fats being omega 6 and omega 3.

The key is to get them in balance. Most diets however will be deficient in Omega 3 as it is properties are more prone to damage in cooking and food processing. Probably the best natural sources of Omega 3 include Hemp seed oil and Flax seed oil (cold pressed), flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. The right amount of omega 3 varies depending on which source you read (and your body requirements!). The optimum nutrition site has some sound nutritional advice.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The Strength Connection

Fact: You are only as strong as your weakest link.

Sensible strength training takes this into account. Whether you are weight training for strength endurance, power, pure strength or whatever, it would be a good idea to bare this in mind if you don't want your muscles and joints popping and locking like an international break dance convention.

Connective tissue (such as tendons, ligaments, joint capsules) adapt at a slower rate then the structural changes that take place within the muscle tissue. Ligaments, tendons and joint capsules play a vital role in stabilising joints, absorbing shock and facilitating contact between moving parts. Increasing load too soon can place undue stress on structures which are not ready to cope with the demands placed on them. This can put you out of the game for a long while.

If you're prone to injury (and its not a mechanical or technique fault) you might want to look at how you are increasing your loads and make the necessary changes. The above factors underlying strength production should be a big feature in your programme design, before its too late. Mel C Siffs, Super Training is well worth a look if you want a more indepth look.

Check out the clip below, it might give you some food for thought.