January 4, 2021

Fitness season, for many, spans from early Jan. to early spring. Fitness season, ideally should be All Season. Your efforts should be aimed at reaching your best performance. Your best performance is a performance at or near your potential. In this article I will provide some basic information about fitness (exercise, nutrition and mindset) provide links to useful sources and provide some fitness tips from pros.

I read excessively and watch tons of videos related to exercise. I have worked in the industry for a long time and have been privileged in interacting with a range of high level fitness, nutrition and sports people. Thanks to all of them for sharing their knowledge and know how. This is a very brief list of some recommended fitness and health sources- including websites and articles.  I need to emphasize very brief  list, as there are many more valuable sources I haven’t listed. The list here should be enough to get your started, and put you on the road to fitness.

Sports Scientists– great site that involves top level analysis and practical suggestions to maximize performance.  “Welcome to the Science of Sport where we bring you the second, third, and fourth level of analysis you will not find anywhere else.” The site provides exceptional information regarding analysis of scholarly papers – going beyond most analyses. Autism Fitness– a site dedicated to high quality exercise recommendations for autistic individuals. “Every program, event and tool inside the Autism Fitness framework is designed to enable effective, fun and meaningful fitness outcomes for every individual across the spectrum.” Stanford Mind & Body Lab: Top level science  regarding the impact mindset has in an array of contexts. “Dr. Crum’s research focuses on how changes in subjective mindsets—the core assumptions we make about things and processes in the world—can alter objective reality through behavioral, psychological, and physiological mechanisms.” Barbara J. Rolls @ Penn State: Rolls is high level researcher and she is the author of The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet. She has published a plethora of studies.

What Makes The Best Diet? Diet an important factor when considering overall health. Television shows, books, and various media outlets are saturated with advice on what and how to eat. A lot of information is conflicting, which often makes it hard to choose the right diet. How can there be so many “best” diets?  Low carb proponents would have us believe low carb is the way to go. Proponents of a low-fat diet insist that’s the way to go if health and weight loss are your primary concerns. Those are two of the many diets on the market. Is there a single best diet?…..

The Truth About Nootropic Brain Supplements…Nootropic substances—from the Greek words meaning “mind-bending” –are ingestible chemicals often promoted for their cognitive enhancing properties (Jasanoff 2018). According to companies selling nootropic products, benefits of using the products include prevention of cognitive decline, enhanced memory, increased learning, improved concentration, and rapid cognition. Nootropic drugs include stimulants like amphetamine and methylphenidate, marketed under the names Adderall and Ritalin, as well as sleep suppressants like Modafinil. Nootropics also include a range of dietary supplements…

Basic Nutrition What is a calorie? A calorie is a unit of energy. It is the amount of energy or heat that it takes to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). One calorie is equal to 4.184 joules, a common unit of energy used in the physical sciences. The energy derived from foods when they are oxidized in the body is measured in kilocalories (thousands of calories). A kilocalorie is the amount of energy required to raise 1000 grams of water one degree Celsius. A kilocalorie is written as “Calorie” (with a capital C) or it may be abbreviated to “Kcalorie” or “Kcal.” Therefore, whenever the word calorie is used in connection with food or nutrition, the meaning is always kilocalorie or calorie.

Tip: How Much Protein Do Your Really Need? The RDA guideline for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day. So if you weigh 190 pounds (86 kilograms) you’d need about 69 grams of protein. That’s fine for inactive couch potatoes, but is that enough for athletes, bodybuilders, and lifters? No. In fact, it’s not even close.

Myths Under The Microscope: The Low Intensity Fat Burning Zone Why do natural bodybuilding contests for the most part look like swim meets minus the pool? The obvious answer is the relative absence of anabolic and androgenic drugs that enable “enhanced” athletes to hold on to considerably more muscle under prolonged metabolic stress than natural pre-contest trainees. The other part of the answer is that naturals as a group tend to undermine their efforts by copying the training and nutritional practices of their pharmacologically advantaged brethren.

Ab Mania Virtually everyone is obsessed with seeing the six pack (which is a matter of having a low body fat percentage, muscular development and low amounts of extracellular fluid). Training the midsection using thousands of reps does little to enhance midsection maximal strength. Over reliance on midsection movements can also lead to an imbalance in overall fitness.

Talking Fitness and Health Neural training is a label used for any of the following: speed strength, strength speed, variations of power, and or maximum strength training. Motor unit recruitment, rate coding, neural facilitation and neural inhibition are important, as they are key factors associated with neural training. It is often said that protocols used to enhance these qualities are neural in nature, often juxtaposed with metabolic conditioning / training (endurance or hypertrophy training). These regimens (neural training means) train the nervous system, so do all other training regimens.

Fitness Defined

Hatfield (1993) defines fitness as “Your ability to meet the exigenics of your lifestyle with ease- and room to spare for life’s little emergencies. Thus, what constitutes ‘fitness’ for one person isn’t necessarily fitness for another” (p.419). Hatfield goes on the list 15 components of general fitness. Siff (2000) provides the following definition: “physical fitness refers to the functional state of the slow changing physiological components relating to motor activity. One’s fitness state does not vary significantly over any period up to as much as several days in length, but one’s ability to express fitness at any instant may be substantially affected positively or negatively by mental state, sickness, fatigue, sleepiness and other fairly transient factors. This ability, or instantaneous preparedness, is defined at any given instant and varies from moment to moment” (p.33). I define general fitness as demonstrating at least a moderate level of speed, strength, agility, range of motion and endurance. Fitness is concerned with motor, motivation and cognitive factors. Eating behavior is an important factor when considering fitness.  I agree with Siff and Hatfield in identifying fitness as a concept-complex (involves different components and varies contextually). So, looking fit (lean and or muscular) doesn’t always mean that one is fit.

Tips From Fitness Pros

“So my one tip to maximize your fitness is to realize that implementation and consistency are among the most fundamental elements in any successful behavior change. You can have the best diet plan, the best cardiovascular exercise program, or the perfect strength training program, but if you can’t implement it and do it consistently, it most likely will not help. Many people start with grandiose goals, but they fail to realize that it will be almost impossible to implement and also do consistently. Better to start small and increase it once it has become a habit that you can do on a consistent basis.” Lars Avemarie, Physiotherapist, Internationally Acclaimed Lecturer, Personal Trainer

“If you want to maximize your road to fitness in 2021 you need to know this simple truth; you will consistently do what you like… Your fitness road needs a plan and scientific principles need to be respected… But don’t forget to enjoy yourself! Research and experience alike show us that the number one driver of results is adherence. And you are much more likely to show up each and everyday to apply yourself to a routine that is satisfying. If you enjoy it, you’ll keep doing it!” Todd Sharrock, Owner of Ludus Strength Athletics, [email protected]  

“It doesn’t matter where you are at the moment, start where you are and take it from there, one single step today is more than none from yesterday, one step at a time is how we move forward. Find accountability, whether from a friend, a coach, a piece of paper and a pen, write it down daily, commit to it, one day missed is not a failure, because ‘we can’ keep at it tomorrow and consistency is key for success. It is by switching our mentality to what we ‘can do’, what our body ‘can do’, that keeps the fire burning because you will be able to do more and having more fun as you progress. Creating new habits is challenging, but changing one single behavior, not so much; focus on what you ‘can do’ today that can make your tomorrow a little better. If you start today by daily building one single behavior, in three months, you will have one instilled new habit and by the end of the year, maybe 2 or three intentional habits of your choice rather than the unintentional ones from the previous year. Focus on the process, not the end goal, have fun with it, it’s that pattern of behavior that will bring a long-lasting change.” Mariana Abadie, Personal Training ISSA/PN1 Nutrition coach, Strength Sisters 101 

“If there’s one thing that 2020 has taught us, it’s that Nietzsche got it right when he said that there are no beautiful surfaces without a terrible depth. Your fitness status is no different- under the shiny exterior, there are multiple mechanisms which work synchronously, hopefully allowing for the state of high performance. In practical terms,  in order to make the process sustainable it means that not only do you need to look after the goose that lays the golden egg (aka yourself!), but you need to do so across multiple dimensions: since performance and wellness are such multi-faceted phenomena, you’d do well to address all the elements (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual capacity). Chances are, you are probably lagging in one of those areas. Identify which one it is, and start with the least objectionable action item. ” Kamil Celoch, MA, MS, CSNS, CISSN, CPPS  Kc-Performance