Monday, October 27, 2008

What Will People Do?

It should be obvious to those studying fitness regimens for the population at large, that the prescribed “ideal” routines -- of 3 or 4 workouts of half-an hour to an hour each week, won’t be adopted by most people, and sustained over their lifetimes. Why they would keep insisting that people should adopt a routine of behavior that is literally impossible for most to maintain, is sheer idiocy -- quite indicative and worthy of those who design and advocate them.

Meanwhile, they overlook what people would be willing to do -- for their own health and well-being -- and could maintain that regimen all their lives quite easily. That is not unlike much of the way we’ve been conditioned to think in hopelessly fragmented lives, every aspect working against every other, ensuring their failure rather than guaranteeing their success.

First off, a conditioning program that isn’t done every day, and the first each day, no matter how brief, is likely not to be “conditioned” into one’s ordinary routine of life -- like brushing one’s teeth, combing one’s hair, and dressing for the day. As soon as it becomes an option, the choice is just as likely to be not to do it -- and requiring extraordinary commitment to undertake.

That is the essential problem of requiring people to go to centralized locations with the latest state of the art equipment and motivational devices to get one to do it; the problem for many, is simply getting there -- rather than, the absolute need to be anytime, anywhere, any conditions -- especially without the need for rare and costly equipment.

All one has ever needed -- is simply one’s own body to work with, with key being, the proper understanding of that body -- which traditionally, has been maintained by very controlling personalities -- who usually view themselves as struggling (competing) with the trainee, rather than being on the same side. Thus, coaches and athletes frequently have this “us” against “them” attitude, rather than viewing themselves as on the same team.

In this very same manner, an individual supervising their own training, may come to regard their own bodies as the opponent -- of their own minds and wills -- thinking that optimal health is not what the body wants to -- but is the devil incarnate one is doomed to struggle with all one’s life.

So that entire psychology, that entire culture and tradition has to be seen through, and not being reinforced for even greater resistance and power -- to undermine all one’s efforts.

This leads to “opposite-thinking” -- that the best action, is counterproductive in order to produce a desired reaction -- rather than that it is merely counterproductive.

That should be the lesson, as well as the metaphor, that one should not develop machines that produce greater resistance to one’s movements -- but that no resistance is required to achieve one’s greatest range of motion, and it is the range of motion (movement) that conveys and expresses vitality, and not any amount of resistance that prevents it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Power of Observation and Awareness (Exercised)

The really surprising revelation was that a brief program to increase and maintain full (any) range of motion at the head, hands and feet for the people in the weakest condition, also benefits those at whatever level of fitness -- including those at the highest levels of proficiencies -- because the resistance is one’s own range of motion!

This also makes it the safest manner in which to exercise (move) because the body’s natural resistance against unlimited range of movement -- means that the maximum power production is only in the bodies safest position to do so.

While many exercise machines tout themselves for offering resistance through the greatest range of movement, what they always do, is increase the range in the muscle’s weakest range, and not its strongest -- which is what the Nautilus concept tried to address in varying the resistance as the muscle moved into contraction. However, the machines and resistance limit the range of movement into its greatest range -- which is that point in which a muscle cannot work in isolation -- but must engage and activate the synergistic contraction of every other adjoing muscle (all), which is precisely what one wants to do, in every normal, practical and useful movement.

It would never be advantageous to lift a weight only by arbitrarily limiting that effort only to a single muscle. The tremendous advantage would be in utilizing every muscle available to make that movement as effortless as possible. That manner of isolation greatly increases one’s chances of injury. In fact, it guarantees it.

Thus, the manner in which movement is taught and conditioned to use the greatest number of muscles doing so -- is the smarter, intelligent design -- that if achieved even once a day, has a profound impact on preconditioning and predisposing such movements throughout the rest of one’s daily movements.

In athletic competitions, we recognize it as all those “warmups” they do before they even attempt what they are primarily intent to do. But even in doing that, they go about it in the wrong way -- forcing their bodies into hyperstretched positions, usually with the other hand, or their body weight -- rather than voluntary, full-range activation of greatest relaxation alternated by greatest contraction. Again, most of these ranges of movement will be in the weakest, or most relaxed and vulnerable positions rather than in their strongest -- which would protect them against injury.

The best case in point is the familiar Achilles tendon stretch pushing against an immovable object to increase resistance and stress-- that done often enough, greatly increases the chances of getting that otherwise fairly rare injury, by causing low level stress and tear, which a voluntary, non-weight enabled movement would preclude. The safe movement would be shifting as much of one’s weight off of that foot, and raising the toes as much as possible towards the shin. That is the safe direction of movement -- limited by the resistance of its own muscular contraction (range of movement).

In achieving this effect, machines and other apparatus of resistance, including one’s own bodyweight, preclude that possibility. And so the rightful question to ask is, how do we remove every obstacle to that limit (resistance) but the body’s own actual limits -- and not just the machines?

And rather than suggesting all the contortions, of those areas not well designed for such movement, one should first direct such movements where the body is ideally suited for such movement (ranges) -- at the extremities of the head, hands and feet, that activate all the other supporting and stabilizing muscles because that is what they have to do as their primary function!

But because of this lack of observation and awareness, the lack of fitness in affluent societies is not due to a lack of effort with a shamefully primitive and misguided understanding of the body and its processes, but simply requires a review of the right understanding and its exercise (articulation) -- of which there is no substitute otherwise, no matter how much of the wrong thing one does!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Ministry of Health

Since developing my revolutionary insights on making fitness and well-being available to those who require and could benefit from it the most, finding those receptive people and channels, has been the limitation for that worldwide revolution in the well-being and higher functioning in societies.

What is reported, is the increasingly alarming poor health and condition of affluent populations, exacerbated by the prospects of sustaining that low-level of functioning for an increasingly many years -- much of it in a slow, steady decline that can now exceed more than half of one’s life. That is not a healthy and viable prospectus for life in the future.

At best, the present model produces a few extraordinarily robust individuals -- but many more who are “eliminated” from that life of optimal well-being because the bars are set too high so as to preclude them for all practical purposes from that participation.

Obviously what is needed is to lower the bar so that optimal health is pretty nearly as simple as getting up each day and brushing one’s teeth, combing one’s hair, and doing all those inconsequential things to prepare and predispose one to do their best each day -- in everything that they do.

Thus, optimal fitness is not an extraordinary achievement but merely an ordinary one. That is disturbing and distressing to the elitists (competitive) of the world -- who like the fact that they can consider themselves far superior to others because of their abilities to persevere after most others have been eliminated, or dropped out.

But for societies to be functioning at their highest level rather than merely being a macrocosm of these dysfunctions and sub-optimal fitness, we have to improve the weakest links, rather than merely the strongest, and thinking that manner will improve the “average,” or general level of experience and functioning.

Any society or enterprise always breaks down at the weakest link -- and merely improving the strongest without this understanding, increases the probabilities for failure. That doesn’t necessarily mean we have to drag down the strongest -- to achieve that parity.

It is much easier to lift the average from the lowest or weakest, where a little makes a huge difference and impact on the quality of life. A strong person getting another inch on their biceps doesn’t mean a lot, and it’ll probably just make them want another, with no appreciation for any of it.

Meanwhile, one who has nothing, appreciates everything they have -- even when it seems like nothing to those who have much, or everything. That is what it means to be “poor in spirit” -- or to rejoice in gratitude, taking nothing for granted, and appreciating (making greater) what one already has.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Note to Readers

Those familiar with me and my writing, know that I write anywhere and anytime, representing and embodying new thought whenever an opportunity presents itself -- and afterwards, those thoughts may be expanded and expounded at greater length and detail than the original window of opportunity presented itself. Often they limit them to 1000 characters or less, which is about 200 words, whereas my preferred format and genre is the 500 word, exactly one-page essay, justifying my belief, that anything worth saying, can be said in one page or less.

That may be an actual requirement in an age of abundant things to read. Nobody has time to indiscriminately read 1,000 pages, to find out what the author meant -- only at the end, and more often than not, there was nothing to say, but kept one turning the pages. A lot of the old media was designed that way -- that the major reason for its being, was to keep one reading and searching for the answers, because the more one read, the more confused one became, as though the purpose was entertainment, rather than information efficiently and economically obtained.

This new manner, makes entire industries devoted and dedicated to wasting as much time as possible, obsolete, as there is no room in contemporary life for learning for its own sake -- in the mistaken notion that one is doing anything useful or purposeful. I think one has to be awfully bored and misguided to seek “professional” entertainment, instead of finding everything they are doing in their daily lives as entertaining and engaging.

That appeal for mass entertainment is one of the things I find most peculiar of the times we now live in -- that many of an older generation, still largely live through media personalities and celebrities of having to find out what “Oprah” thinks or what “Today” thinks is what we should all be now thinking. I recall in a younger age of reporting that one dutifully saw the “Tonight” show and discussed those items as though that was the bonding everyone displayed to show how “current” they were on what needed to be known.

That was the beginnings of
political correctness -- which is how we all ought to be thinking about things, because that’s what the supposed powers-that-be, wish us to think.

Fortunately, in my life, I’ve had many encounters with larger-than-life real people who do their own thinking and were invariably at odds with such popular media and the self-proclaimed dictators of what everybody should be thinking.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Enhancing "The Flow"

What we are trying to accomplish is not to reinvent the wheel from scratch -- and discovering life and its processes as if for the first time, and in no relationship and relevance to anything else -- but to be mindful of what already exists, and do our best to optimize those processes and functions.

What has been noted my medical researchers, is that there is some kind of beneficial effect to bodily health in exercise, because it enhances the circulatory effect -- which unfortunately, due to specialist (specialized) thinking, has been limited thus far only to the function of the heart, measured by its rate -- rather than it is an objective that can be undertaken by the entirety of one’s whole being, including and especially the brain (which also regulates the heart).

Then when we consider the circulatory function as being a coordinated function of one’s entire voluntary capacities to effect, it becomes a very simple process to enhance this circulatory effect, which in larger terms, is what is referred to as The Flow -- which is the term used by athletes, artists, scientists, achievers in every activity -- to indicate when everything is in “synch”(ionization), everything is moving together, with this synergy that makes everything not only possible, but even easy and effortless. It is like padding (or not) downstream -- rather than struggling mightily against it -- in the mistaken notion that if one merely endures at it long enough, one will overcome and defeat it, rather than becoming exhausted and drowning.

Obviously, one will experience much greater success in the many journeys of life, if one learns the nature of things -- and how to let them work FOR one, instead of conditioning oneself to work mightily AGAINST all the other processes, forces and people one encounters -- as one’s personal modus operandi, and way of doing anything.

And that is what it means to have a real and valuable education -- and not merely being able to impress a few others with one’s knowledge of jargon, clichés, buzzwords, and the familiar -- fooling others who are also impressed by such things. Undoubtedly, that would be most people conditioned to regard mass media as their ultimate arbiter of truth -- that what they see on TV is more likely to be true than what their own senses tell them is true. That is the unfortunate consequences of conditioning in which there is division between the “mediated” and actual realities of the world, the former which is the manipulations of mass opinion that has become many people’s only participation in society anymore.

But if one can turn down and tune out the noise of other people’s thinking and what they would like us to believe, there is the very powerful reality of one’s actual life, and being -- that reveals itself very powerfully as what is actually happening in the world, and in our own bodies.

That is The Flow of Life, happening in our own bodies -- that is the measure of what is important, and not pushing around other objects, people, and ideas -- as though that was the greater reality. And so that practice, that movement, that meditation, that focus, is what connects one to the power of their own lives, and essential being -- to effect whatever changes they want to accomplish in life.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Increasing Resistance (Intensity)

An inevitable question of those who have been training successfully and productively -- while briefly and effortlessly, is how does one increase the intensity of their conditioning.

An important lesson in conditioning oneself to effect the fullest range of alternating muscular states, is the realization that the fullest contraction produces its own resistance to further contraction -- so that the greater the range, the greater the resistance, and therefore the intensity -- so while ostensibly doing the same amount of repetitions, it is possible to increase that intensity geometrically, and even logarithmically (tenfold) -- just in extending, or attempting to extend the range of movement further, even fractionally!

In many unfamiliar with what that would be like, it would be to pause in their present fullest contraction for at least a second, and maybe two, rather than simply moving from full contraction to full relaxation rhythmically without a pause. Just a few repetitions with this increased attention and pause in the contracted position, produces a significantly and noticeably higher level of intensity and exertion -- so that each repetition then becomes the equivalent of ten.

but first, it is necessary to know where, or in what positions, the body must be in to effect a muscular contraction -- that must happen because of the design and function of the muscles -- and NOT because of the resistance into moving to those positions, that is popularly though by the design of most exercise apparatus -- which actually precludes the possibility of actual full range.

That is to say, that the fullest range of muscular contraction cannot be achieved if there is any prior resistance on that muscle to achieve its fullest range. That fullest range can only be achieved when there is no load on that axis being exercised.

That in itself was one of the most remarkable revelations in developing a new understanding of conditioning -- that disputes, or lays waste to any claim of a machine that does provide resistance through the full range of movement that is possible. THERE MUST BE NO RESISTANCE or the fullest range of that movement possible for that muscle is not possible -- and it is the fullest range of that contraction, that is the greatest resistance possible to achieve.

And so not only is no MORE exercise necessary to increase the intensity of one’s conditioning necessary, but done exceeding well in this manner, becomes prohibitively impossible.

That is the metaphor for this new understanding of conditioning -- and how it can be supremely effective; it is not the quantity and any parameters of that discussion, but is an entirely different quality of movement and understanding.

Such movements are not to be confused with the old isometric exercises of static movement -- in which one employed either weights, immovable objects or one’s own muscles to provide the resistance to such movements -- which conditions the body (muscles) to work against itself -- in the manner that no evolutionary process would ever design. However, in moving to the greatest range of voluntary movement possible one’s present current range of motion is this resistance -- that can be increased even minutely, infinitely.

Monday, October 06, 2008

What To Do Now

The current financial crisis is the reason you want to make as many mistakes as possible when you are young, and can learn from them so that you're prepared to deal with anything -- and especially the challenges of change. That is the virtue of having made fortunes, even if one has lost them also. The worst thing, is to have been successful all one's life in everything, so that when blue-chip investments go to ZERO, one can recover from them, or any other death-defying experience.

That's why I like the experience of John McCain for president, because he faced death every day for several years; one develops a resignation, realization and resilience of knowing one can come back from the edge of death -- rather than never experiencing that severity of challenge -- to know that one can recover and transcend that experience. When one risks their fear, all they can lose is their fear. That's very different from merely the challenge of academic tests, or learning to say what others want to hear, so they don't have to deal with reality.

That is the beauty and willingness to move somewhere else and start life all over again, because that is what it also means to be reborn into the new. Those who live their lives for a false sense of security, and the promises of security, eventually have to face the realization, that they are only promises and fantasies of reality.

Originally, retirement planning and provisions were about preventing extreme hardship at a very vulnerable stage of one's life. In recent times, people were convinced that they required at least $10 million so that they could take as many trips around the world each year and own as many houses in different parts of the world as their "entitlement" for having worked and gone to school in life.

And that scenario seemed to play out as long as real estate "always" went up -- but they don't tell you that for extended periods of time, real estate doesn't always go up, and in fact, most of the time, drifts down, and sometimes becomes illiquid, with brief, speculative runups that the promoters convince us are the rule.

But then the money runs out -- and many are left holding the bag -- looking for that next guy to buy at higher prices, endlessly. That is the current financial crisis -- that probably takes a while to work through.

The faster market that recovers, is the stock market, because it is never illiquid. One can always buy and sell at the current market price -- but there is always a market. That is the advantage of the stock market over every other market -- you can always sell, or buy; no waiting for customers. No muss, no fuss. It is easier to take gains, as well as losses.

As that market recovers, the real estate market will have more people who can afford to buy -- and that money is not being drained off into real estate speculation, and other alternative, tangible "investments," that people think are also “real” and therefore can never go down, much less disappear. But they all do.

Life is change -- and the greatest value in life, is the ability to adapt to those changes, rather than developing a mentality that seeks the security of no change, even if it is merely an illusion and delusion that if you vote for the right demagogue, nothing can ever go wrong again in life -- and that one can live peacefully forever after, with no sacrifices -- nothing but one’s own wishful-thinking.