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Finding Strength, Prioritizing Your Life

Wed, January 25th, 2017 | Posted in: News, Training

We’re four weeks out from the beginning of the CrossFit Open; I am reflecting on almost a year of training in preparation for this event. Anyone familiar with my journey knows that the last two years have been a time of transformation in my life. The specific events are less important than the course of change I have chosen. I reflect upon recognizing certain weaknesses in myself and asking myself the hard questions of staying or leaving, accepting or changing. These questions have appeared again and again over the last two years.

Acknowledging my weaknesses allows me to become strong again.

Mary Oliver writes in her new book Upstream “ The most regretful people on earth are those that felt the call .....who felt their own power restive and uprising and gave it neither power nor time.” When you recognize or acknowledge a weakness in yourself do you see that as something to simply accept about yourself (“It's just the way I am”) or do you see that as a starting point for work?

She goes on to say “So quickly, without a moment's warning, does the miraculous swerve and point to us, demanding that we be its willing servant.”

We must rise and accept the challenge.

I am blessed because every day in my work I get to help people transform themselves. I help people see the way to change. I help them clear a place at the table of life for themselves. So many people who are suffering with being over fat/underfit/over stressed are suffering because they have lost their place.

We all need to recognize that the time we make IS what we value. If you make time for everyone else but not for you...then you value everyone else, but that you do not value yourself. If you work all the time--guess what you value? If you talk about money all the time....etc., GET IT?

I know what I value because that is where I spend my time. If we agree that we only get one shot at this (life!) then it begs a few questions; what do you want to accomplish? What do you LOVE more than anything? What are you doing to be in the process of living toward the answers to those last two questions?

It takes time to distinguish what we want and what we want changes over time. It is important to revisit the questions often. And if you are just dancing as fast as you can without asking the questions......guess what you value?

George Mumford said that we live in this society that values MORE. But what if instead of saying “Don't just sit there, DO something! We say don't just do something, sit there.” Listen to that still small-voice that answers the questions about what you love more than anything, and what would you do if time space and money were not an issue.....

It is only your voice that can answer those questions. All of this is deeply personal.

And if we agree that this is all we get...then BE MINDFUL. Meditate. Live TOWARD what makes you feel ALIVE and discover your bliss!

Oh and one more thing: It's my job to keep reminding you of the priorities you have and help you realize them! I feel the most alive when I am teaching others about their bodies through biochemistry, fitness and nutrition. I am filled with joy each time I discover something new about my body through my own training, through pushing myself in ways I never thought possible. I am adapting to the forces I apply and living toward being my best self.

Four weeks out from the CrossFit open competition and.......I will be competing in an arena I’ve never stepped into before. I am excited to learn about myself through this competition.

Remember, I never lose......I either win or learn!

We’re four weeks out from the beginning of the CrossFit Open; I am reflecting on almost a year of training in preparation for this event. Anyone familiar with my journey knows that the last two years have been a time of transformation in my life. The specific events are less important than the course of change I have chosen. I reflect upon recognizing certain weaknesses in myself and asking myself the hard questions of staying or leaving, accepting or changing. These questions have appeared again and again over the last two years. Acknowledging my weaknesses allows me to become strong again. Read more »

What Drives Me; Why I Train

Wed, August 17th, 2016 | Posted in: News, Training

Alice Munro wrote in her commencement speech at Penn, "Here’s the thing about self-comparison: In addition to making you vacate your own experience, your own soul, your own life, in its extreme it breeds resignation." Your focus on others is simply that. You cannot have laser focus on your race when you are watching someone else race.....insert goal for race.

 

Michael Phelps (R) of the United States leads Chad le Clos of South Africa in the Men's 200m Butterfly Final on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Adam Pretty/Getty ImagesMichael Phelps (R), swimming. Chad le Clos, comparing. 
Adam Pretty/Getty Images

This Alice Munro quote complements my BHAG blog post, because when you don't KNOW where you are going by CHOICE you will go by chance. You will follow others where they are going and be lost from your own path.

There is no integrity in "it's not fair" and "I deserve". I take responsibility for my own well being. This life is not something that is happening to me this is something I'm choosing for myself.

I LOVE training.

Why train? I love being in the arena. I love to be in there doing the hard work. For me it is about doing the hard work. The JOURNEY for me is being in the arena: face bloodied, covered in sweat, driven by my inner voice, my inner choice. 

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;....who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly."*

Training hard gives me an amazing reason to fly right; to eat clean, to sleep as hard as I train, to meditate. And each of these things build on the others.

That's how I train people as well. Know your goal. Meditate. Sleep. Show up ready to train. When it's time to eat, you will be fueling all of the things you just accomplished and building a cycle of shifting toward success. All of a sudden it is easy to make the healthy choices because it rules YOU. 

Meditate. Make conscious choices. Train hard consistently. The choice about what you put in your mouth shifts, and you know you are fueling the next thing, whether it is training, working, sleeping, or being present for your partner/child/parent. 

Everything is connected. Give it your best. When you KNOW where you are going, when you actively choose your path, THEN you have something to give; to yourself first, and then so much more to others. 

I just like to show up strong, silent, doing - and that is my winning. Doing. How do I take what I am learning and actually change the way I am living?

Doing. Training. Practicing who and what I want to be. 

*Theodore Roosevelt, "Man in the Arena," 1910

Training hard gives me an amazing reason to fly right; to eat clean, to sleep as hard as I train, to meditate. And each of these things build on the others. That's how I train people as well. Know your goal. Meditate. Sleep. Show up ready to train. Read more »

What’s your BHAG?

Wed, August 10th, 2016 | Posted in: Events, Nutrition, Training

BHAG (Acronym): Big. Hairy. Audacious. Goal.
Used in a sentence: Getting to the Olympics is a BHAG!

Brenda Martinez. Photo: Patrick Smith

Brenda Martinez. Photo: Patrick Smith

A term coined by Jim Collins, BHAGs can be daunting, exciting, motivating, and devastating. A perfect example for today: making it to the Olympics.

Entrepreneurs and individuals often set huge goals for themselves. As a society, we encourage each other to reach for the stars. But, let’s take a step back. How does a someone accomplish their big hairy audacious goal? How do you stay motivated? How does one avoid the disappointment of feeling that goal slip out of reach?

It’s all about the process!

Recently, NY magazine produced an article about Olympians and their goals. I highly endorse giving it a read. But the summary, for those with a short attention span (myself included): Setting those huge goals can have a number of unintended negative consequences; cheating or cutting corners to reach the destination, or giving up altogether. Focus on what you need to do in the immediate future: today, this week, this month. Create your goal, and then “forget about it,” and immerse yourself in the work it takes to get there. Sometimes, even Olympians fall short of their stated goal. In the case of the Olympian in our story, Brenda Martinez, she was tripped from behind by a competitor. Not something she could have accounted for! But, she refocused her energy on her process, and made it to the Olympic team with the next event.

So. Focus on the process.

As you accomplish milestones on the way to your goal, you’ll get the encouragement and positive feedback you need to continue and remain motivated.

Still feeling lost? Ask yourself WHY you are making these goals, and WHY you are putting your process in place. Work with me, and we’ll figure out, together: what’s at the heart of your goal, and what’s at the heart of your process. Eventually, those daily challenges and decisions will become a non-issue. Avoiding ice cream, beer, etc., will become second nature if it doesn’t fit with your BHAG! We’ll focus on the WHY of your BHAG, and craft an individual PROCESS that works FOR you, not against you.

I started my business to help people change their lives and become their best selves. It’s not just about one race, or one competition. It’s about those daily wins, lifting a little heavier, eating a little better. Let’s take advantage of this exciting time of year in the sports world to recommit to ourselves and our goals; I’ll help you create a process you can maintain, and keep you accountable. You’ll reach those goals before you know it.

Ask yourself WHY you are making these goals, and WHY you are putting your process in place. Work with me, and we’ll figure out, together: what’s at the heart of your goal, and what’s at the heart of your process. Eventually, those daily challenges and decisions will become a non-issue. Read more »

Smarter Training for Older Runners

Tue, July 22nd, 2014 | Posted in: Training

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result: That’s the definition of insanity! Yet, when I see how older runners train for long-distance endurance events such as the marathon, I can sense frustration in them by the fact that they can’t get the same results now from the same kind of training they’ve always done.

Approaching a goal like a marathon in the same way when they’re in their 60’s as they did in their 20’s? That route is just a little, well, crazy.

It’s perfectly OK to still want to do marathons or other types of long-distance runs. But not all training programs are created equal – and what I mean by that is that not all of them are right for us as we get older.

Some programs will have you starting up your mileage right out of the gate at 30 miles a week and rapidly building up from there. In just Week 1? Are you kidding me? What if you have a smaller frame, eat a diet very low in fat and don’t do any weight training? With any long distance endurance sport like running, especially marathons, you’re “eating” muscle tissue to perform in the sport. The next time you watch a world-class sprinter like Usain Bolt, check out the muscles on him. He’s got a body type that’s muscular and made for the explosion required for short distances.

You may not have the body of a Usain Bolt and breaking sprint records right and left, but there are many things you can do to train smarter for longer distances. Because when you have a diet low in fat and not building muscle, you’re setting yourself up to be slower during a race and more fatigued more often. Let’s change that.

Start with your diet, not just your distance.
If I was to increase the protein and fat in your diet – not hot dogs and potato chips, but good protein and fat, that would be a terrific first change. At the same time, we’d want to take a look at diminishing your consumption of carbohydrates. 

How about we mix up your training too?
Runners tend to just run, run, run, run and run. And yet, they should be doing more cross training so they aren’t fatiguing the same muscles over and over again. So I’d limit the number of days you ran – such as three days a week - while incorporating cycling to mix up your training and increase your aerobic capacity. By using different muscles through an exercise such as cycling, you’re helping yourself from a cardiovascular perspective while encouraging more time for muscle recovery.

Rather than 6-7 days of long-distance running, your week might look something like this:

Running 3 days a week (1 day of long-distance, 1 day of high intensity interval training and 1 day of steady state running)

Cycling 2 days a week

Weight Lifting 1 day a week

Diet: Increase fat and protein

You may be surprised by the decrease in mileage here, but we’re also ramping up the intensity and adding cross training.

With the help of this kind of training plan, I have seen clients well into their 60’s qualify for some of the top marathons in America. It’s a thrill for me to see them training for the Boston Marathon or training for the Chicago Marathon.

The fact is, when you hit a certain age and recognize the same training you’ve been doing your whole life isn’t benefitting you nearly as much, you have to make a change. As my clients reach a certain age, there’s really no better time to bring weight training into the mix while changing their diet so that they’re increasing their “fuel source” of protein and fat as well as decreasing carbohydrates.

None of us have the same bodies in our 50’s and 60’s as we did in our 20’s and 30’s – but that simply calls for adjustments. And never giving up.

Don’t let age discourage you from your next big goal – whether that’s losing 20 lbs. or running the Chicago Marathon. When it comes to getting back on the right path for nutrition and exercise for where you are in life, nobody can put you in alignment quite like BodyByG’s Giulia Isetti. With her background in biochemistry and sports nutrition, Giulia brings the best of both worlds to put you in the very best position to succeed on many fronts.

So why not chat with Giulia about your challenges today with a complimentary evaluation? Call 708.267.7173 or email g@coachingbyg.com.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result: That’s the definition of insanity! Yet, when I see how older runners train for long-distance endurance events such as the marathon, I can sense frustration in them by the fact that they can’t get the same results now from the same kind of training they’ve always done. Read more »

Summer Training: Prepping Your High Schooler For The Next Level

Fri, June 6th, 2014 | Posted in: Training

When your child has been heavily involved in a sports activity in high school and performed well, you (and your child) may be considering how to prepare for collegiate level sports.   After all, there can be big changes on the horizon for athletes transitioning from high school Seniors to college Freshmen – greater intensity, a longer schedule and even stronger competition.

Greater discipline is key

True, your former high school athlete probably has plenty of discipline – during the school year, when surrounded by coaches keeping them on track and one competitive event after another (and/or my program). But once they throw that cap in the air upon graduation, kids can be less inclined to maintain consistency in their training even when their future college coaches send them a training schedule.  Many graduates wait for a training program to start before they get serious about conditioning-but that is too late and can impact not only their playing time in college but can contribute to higher injury rates. 

That’s why it’s important for me to keep the athletes in my program very engaged and accountable, so that I see them more frequently than I ever might have during the school year – twice a week at a minimum. The summer is actually one of the best times to build up strength and conditioning for athletes in school sports.

This also very much applies to entrants into West Point, the Naval Academy and Air Force Academy who have to prepare for basic training – let’s just say you can’t show up to any of those places with a body that’s in less than ideal condition. 

Functional training specific to the sport

All athletes should have a natural agility and functional mobility. But every sport demands a different type of strength and power – in the right parts of the body. 

For example, we don’t want pitchers to develop large biceps when they have an aggressive throwing motion. We don’t want swimmers to develop kyphosis, which is a curve in the upper back that comes from the shoulders rolling forward. Rowers use their legs, back and triceps when they row – but we don’t want them to be so much weaker in other areas of the body. 

So it’s vital to design a strength and conditioning program with exercises that support those other areas, while reflecting their natural movement patterns for their sport.  

Have they truly found their “natural” sport?

On more than one occasion, an athlete who is very good in one sport can be absolutely dominating in another. It’s merely that they haven’t discovered the natural sport that they are the very best at. Some athletes have a body that calls for explosive power while others are better suited toward endurance sports – but it’s not as obvious to them. 

Does your athlete have the explosive power of a shot putter and not realize it because they have focused on an endurance activity? Conversely, do they have the strengths of a rower but never would have considered that due to being in a different, more explosive power activity? 

Let’s get them ready for their best years yet. 

The Body By G Sports Performance program is perfect for every aspiring athlete from the middle school level to high school to the NCAA collegiate level. We work with athletes in sports that include, but are not limited to:

  • Rowing
  • Track
  • Throwing
  • Swimming
  • Aikido
  • Ice Hockey
  • Soccer 
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Field Hockey
  • Water Polo
  • Wrestling 
  • Football

Our strength and conditioning program features intense 60-90 minute workouts that encourage functional movement, foot speed and agility, power development, weight training and functional strength. To schedule a free initial conversation about Sports Performance training for your young athlete with Giulia Isetti, Ph.D., call 708.267.7173 or email g@coachingbyg.com.

Your young athlete has truly shined in high school. But if they want to continue their success at the collegiate level – with tougher competition, a more rigorous schedule and more intensity – they’ll need to pour a lot of discipline into maximizing their preparation this summer. Body By G’s Sports Performance training program can surely help. Learn more about this vital program as well as how it may even help uncover a sport for your child that’s the most natural fit for their body type yet. Read more »

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