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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"True Happiness"


This blog post in NOT about Fitness.

Now, please continue to read!

This past weekend was labeled as a “mini-vacation” for me, but had truly turned into something that I never expected.

    My fiancé and I were headed to Miami to celebrate a wedding for two of her close friends, Drew and Rory. We left on Friday and it happens that every night before I leave for a trip, there is not a chance that I can go to sleep. So as I watched episodes of “Dog…The Bounty Hunter” (P.S. If you haven’t seen that show, what are you waiting for, it’s Great American TV! lol), I signed up for the Todd Durkin Institute. 

    After being accepted into the Institute, Larry had sent me a couple of emails that helped me catch up with the rest of the group. In these emails contained a lot of homework that I needed to do to not only improve my business, but more importantly, myself.

    One of the emails contained a message from one of the Coach’s in the group, Frenchy from Aspen, Colorado.  The message is as follows:

“This New Year gives us the gift of more than 525,600 minutes. Many of us say we "don't have enough time", but for this next year, as with all other ones, we all get the same amount of time- about 525,600 minutes. What we do with the gift of these minutes determines the quality of our life, the level of our happiness, the value of the memories we create and the difference we can make in the world.

Our lives are determined by how we choose to live our 525,600 minutes each year. Minutes spent stressed or worrying is wasted. Fear not only kills our dreams, it also diminishes our minutes without providing productive results. None of our unused minutes can be saved as "rollover" minutes for the next year. None can be given to others and unused ones will be lost forever. When we look at our minutes from this perspective, it helps us realize the gift we've been given.”

    After reading this, all I was capable of saying was, WOW. I am one of those people that are always saying that there is not enough time in the day, but is there really?  I think by reading this short message from Coach Frenchy, we all should be able to take notice that there is plenty of time for the important things. 

What are the important things in life? Well, I can’t tell you what is important to you, but what I can do is give you a couple of tips that will help you decide for yourself:

1.             Be Positive:                                                                                                        It is important to take notice and realize that in everything we do, we have a choice. Take notice that nobody has the power to put you down or have the power to make you make decisions that you are not happy or comfortable with. We are our own person and have the ability and potential to create our own pathway of life.
2.             Let Go Of The Past:                                                                                          Why are you wasting your precious time in the present with time in the past that you do not have any control over anymore? Get over it and move past it.  Everything in this world happens for a reason. If something happens to not go your way, move on and learn from it. It can only make you stronger and prepare you for the challenges of what’s to come.
3.             Baby Steps…Small And Consistent Steps Forward:                               You must have faith and trust in what you are doing. That faith and trust will carry over with your intuition that you are doing the right thing for your future. If your not getting that gut feeling that what you are doing is something beneficial or helping you take another leap forward, rethink it. If your plan does not work on the first try, keep moving forward. Don’t keep over analyzing and dwelling on your mistake(s). You will come to realize that you have just wasted so much time on this one problem. Stop holding yourself back and making excuses. Move forward.
4.             Laugh:                                                                                                     Remember, that life is short. Look back at the past years. How fast did they go by? When our time is over on this earth, we are not judged by what is in our bank accounts or how many boats we own. We are judged by the quality of our life. Take time to enjoy the people around you. Stop stressing for a couple of minutes a day and take the time to smile and laugh. Do this tip alone for a week and I promise that your life will take a turn for the better. Positive energy only attracts more positive happenings. Who wants to be around a “Debbie Downer?”.
5.             Spend Time With The People You Love:                                                                 This brings me back to Drew and Rory’s Wedding. I got the chance to witness people that have been in each other’s lives since the beginning of college, who all come together for the unity of two people in their circle of friends. 
Now the “Real World” has separated them for the time being, but you know just watching them come together that different states or countries cannot separate their love for each other.
We need to learn to appreciate and cherish the people that are close to us. If they happen to get away, do what you have to do to get them back into your life.  We only live once. Be responsible for how your life turns out in the long run.

These tips will not only help your personal life, but will also you’re your business succeed. We cannot be “SUCCESSFUL” if we are not happy.  Happiness comes from within and is not captured through material things.

Thank you Drew, Rory, Rachel, Brownlee, Heather, Lindz Ryan C., Lauren L., and anyone that I have not mentioned from this past weekend. These people showed me what life is truly about. BEING HAPPY AND WITH FRIENDS.

I am going to end this article with a song that I would like everyone to listen to. ”Home” by Edward Sharp and The Magnetic Zeros. This is the song that Drew and Rory ended their wedding to. I have never heard of the song before, but I just sat and listened to the words. I watched all of their friends come together for one last dance.

Remember, I am not asking you to like the kind of music of which it is, but I am asking you to truly listen to the meaning and the depth of where it is coming from.

Thank you.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Is Weight Training Necessary During The Baseball Season"

Over the last month many players and parents have approached me with questions regarding their strength and conditioning 
program.  One question that is frequently asked is “How important is it to Strength train during the season?”  Since so many players 
and parents have asked this question and I am sure that there are plenty of other people out there asking the same question. 
I have decided to write a quick DO'S and DON"T list that will answer questions about Strength and Conditioning during the Baseball Season.

In­-Season DON'T

-DON’T stop weight training.  You must look to change the volume and intensity in your workout.  The weight training part 
of your workout should only last about 30-35 minutes.  The remainder of the hour will be filled with Prehab, Cardiovascular, 
Core, and Flexibility.  A result of not weight training during the season will be decreased strength, power, conditioning, and 
ultimately performance. 

-DON’T perform a split routine. Rather 2­3 full­body sessions each week works best for most.

-DON’T follow the theory of “light weight and high reps”.  Keep the intensity and drop the volume.  The object is to maintain 
the strength that you obtained during the off­season and maintain that all year.

-DON’T waste time training small muscle groups with isolation exercises such as bicep curls, wrist curls and calf raises. You 
will get plenty of work to these muscles during your compound exercises.

-DON’T train the day before a game unless you have found this specifically works for you. 

-DON"T let In-Season training session go beyone 60 minutes.  This will include 30 minutes of weight training and 30 minutes of Prehab, Core, and Flexibility

-DON’T eat junk food…including soda and coffee. 

-DON’T underestimate the value of sleep.  Get off Facebook, Xbox, or anything else that keeping you from getting your 8 
hours of sleep.

-DON’T ignore what your body is telling you.  Learn to pull back when your body is fatigued and push it into another gear when you are feeling good. 

In­-Season DO

-DO weight train. I have found 2-3 sessions per week lasting 60 minutes works best to maintain strength, speed, power and 
help facilitate recovery.  Each session should include Strength, Prehab, Cardiovascular, Core, and Flexibility.

-DO use compound movements such as pull­ups, pushups, squats, lunges and deadlifts. 

-DO focus on the speed of the bar.  Explosive athletes need to be explosive in their training, so that they are explosive on the 

-DO perform sets of low reps between 8 and 10.

-DO train immediately after or the day after a game. 

-DO perform a few static stretching sessions per week, lasting between 10-15 minutes after practice or a weight training 
session. This will help recovery and regeneration of the body, which will keep you fresh, fast, strong and feeling great.

-DO perform a few sets of external rotation exercises and scapular exercises a few times a week. Keep weight light on these 
and train within 12­15 rep range with these.  

-DO eat whole foods and focus on getting adequate amounts of quality proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats. 

-DO keep your body properly hydrated.  Everyone knows this, but few do it.  This does not mean tons of sugar laden sports drinks.  Water with added electrolytes works just as well.  Simply add a small pinch of sea salt to every 1 liter of filtered water you drink.

For more information or In-Season Programs that Leverage Training Center has to offer...Please contact:
Rich Mejias
Leverage Training Center
Co-Owner/Strength and Conditioning Coach

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Modern Day Core Training For Firefighters"

Does this sound like your “Core Workout”?
100 Crunches
100 Decline Sit-ups w/25lb plate
100 Side Bends w/45lb plate (50 each side)

If this sounds like your “Core Workout”…than my friend…we really have some work in front of us.  This is the same exact “Core Workout” that bodybuilders 20-30 years ago did to look good in front of the mirror.  As a Firefighter, even though it is nice to look good in front of a mirror, it is much more important to be functional with your “Core Workout”.  What you do inside of the gym may mean the difference between you saving or not saving a 6-year-old child in a burning building.

To become the best Firefighter that you can be, you must always look to improve upon your total body strength, core strength, and overall endurance.  As a Firefighter, working out is not only beneficiary for your health, but helps to benefit others in case of need and emergency. I am sure there have been plenty of scenarios in which you had to pry through doors, carry heavy objects/people, or push yourself through extreme measures to complete a task. Have you ever asked yourself that if you trained the right way, meaning, a specific type of training for which your body needs to train in order to help enhance performance; could you have done that job better? Faster? More efficiently?

There are so many reasons why I feel it is necessary to have a strong core.  Here is my top five:
1.     Strong Core is essential to a healthy lower back
2.     Enhances balance and stability
3.     Improve posture
4.     Improve functional movement
5.     Help you lift heavier loads…like a human body
Are these enough reasons to continue reading this article?

When I train Firefighters, their program design will always include some hard-core fitness, weight training, plyometric, and endurance training. Not to forget to mention that every session WILL include core training.

Top 3 “Bang For Your Buck” Core Exercises:

Turkish Get-Up
The Turkish Get-Up is one of an exercise that every one should be doing, and do not see enough of.  This exercise has an endless number of benefits such as total body coordination, proprioception, overall mobility, shoulder strength, and most importantly core strength.
How does the Turkish Get-Up work the core? The load is continually held overhead while you progressively move through the steps of the exercise underneath the load. By having the load overhead, moving from a supine position to standing position, forces the oblique’s and transverse abdominals to stabilize, while the rectus abdominals are used to prevent spinal flexion. So what does this say to me?  A hell of a lot of core work.

3.  TRX Body Saw
The TRX Body Saw is a complex move that I first learned from Dr. Stuart McGill, one of the world’s leading researchers on the lower back and core.  Dr. Stuart McGill’s research has shown that repeated spinal flexion (which is what happens when you perform crunches and sit-ups) damage spinal discs.  You can actually get a more challenging workout for your abdominals without increasing the risk of injury to your back.   
The TRX Body Saw is a core exercise that I always recommend my athletes add into their programming. It provides a combination of stability and mobility. It is a very deceptive and challenging move and requires you to totally lock up the core before you start to incorporate any type of movement.

3.  Ultimate Sandbag Shoveling
Ultimate Sandbag, or USB, Shoveling closes the gap between the weight room and functional movement. It may sound great for a Firefighter to be able to do 100 crunches in a certain amount of time with no rest, but unfortunately will not help them in a case of emergency.
USB Shoveling is another one of those exercises that may look to be deceiving.  This is because of the dynamic rotational movement needed to properly execute this exercise. This movement is without a doubt a total body movement. Relying solely on the trunk will place unnecessary stress on the spine, but by taking advantage of the power in the hips can prevent any back injuries during rotation.  Also just like the Turkish Get-Up, the USB Shoveling provides hip mobility which will prevent Firefighters for having their hips lock up and allowing for extreme stress to be placed on their lower back.
Another unique aspect that USB Shoveling provides is the eccentric load in a multi-planar base.  Eccentric load and extreme ranges of motion are two variables that bridge the gap of why people get injured during training.