Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Ability to Change

The important reason to maintain and develop one's muscularity throughout life is that muscles are the body's ability to change -- and with decreasing muscularity, one's ability to change decreases -- until finally, others can barely detect any change, except to note that there is still a heartbeat and "vital signs" of life -- but the ability and capacity to change in a willful and meaningful ways, have long ago ceased. Then the only prognosis for that "life" is how long before even those minimal signs of life have ceased entirely.

That is what is so distressful about the conditions of deterioration in which one sees life slipping away daily -- with no hope of recovery and improvement. One hopes personally never to enter that stage and condition of life -- but unfortunately, many allow themselves to prematurely and by default, and the commercial interests offer unrealistic milestones by which to measure any positive improvements except for the purchase of their miraculous products.

Such naive people will recommend that one should take up the marathon and run a marathon a day to ensure their health -- and other such unrealistic regimens that ensure that their advice will be ignored -- if their pronouncements are even intelligible. Most of such writing is unreadable, citing all kinds of buzzwords and jargon to impress people with LESS education than they have -- which is likely to be "journalists" whose ambitions far exceed their capacity for understanding anything. They are extremely vulnerable to flattery, pretense and pretentiousness -- because they don't want to seem ignorant.

And so they never question those things they should not assume and presume -- while pursuing vigorously, that which doesn't make a difference, and is entirely bogus sensationalism and conjecture -- to embellish their dull writing and lack of understanding. It's tough to write/work within those parameters.

So when we strip away all the jargon suggesting understanding, we come to the very simple realization, that action of any discernible difference, is manifested in the activation and capacity of the muscles -- to change willfully, effectively and efficiently -- as an indication of one's mastery over the rest of one's faculties. Does it necessarily have to be a world record to every other observer -- or can it simply be all that one is momentarily capable of?

In that case, what would be the opportunity to manifest the maximum change or improvement? Certainly that would be the circumstance in which one is at their least proficient state -- which for most people, is likely to be the moment after they awaken and then prepare themselves for the rest of their day. With the old and disabled, that likely not to be a very demanding schedule unless they deliberately design it to be.. However, how they ultimately fill and fulfill that day is of no concern as we prepare for that day -- other than to raise the momentary capacity from movement of great resistance, pain and difficulty, to that of fluid motion in whatever direction one requires.

That's all an extremely productive exercise and conditioning program has to do -- effectively and unfailingly. It is one's preparation and warmup for every other movement one might make that day just in pursuing every normal activity and opportunity. Doesn't that make a whole lot of sense and is a compelling justification for doing each and every day of one's life? Why would one not do it unless they have given up on life -- and see no prospect but to die?

It doesn't have to be any more complicated and difficult than that -- but the conditioning everybody is used to, is to make everything more difficult and complicated to prove their own worthiness.

Monday, June 29, 2009

You Don't Need to Raise Your Heartrate to Get an Exercise Effect

In the '60s, a book on exercise sold over a million copies, and so it became the most plagiarized book of its time and subject -- because since it was written by a doctor, it was assumed that everything stated, implied and conjectured was the definitive truth -- rather than it was just another imperfect attempt to understand, popularize and commercialize virtually the oldest understanding of human activity, and this notion of improvement and even perfection, of human possibilities and potential.

The immediate previous popular guru on this subject was Abraham Maslow, who largely limited himself to the intellectual and consciousness-raising aspect of such development. Exercise was not a mainstream movement that it was to become starting with the '60s and proceeding through the '80s, which was the height of the fitness craze that started to dissipate in the '90s, and by the new millennium, most of the Boomers realized that such a strenuous demand on their heart, feet, back, and major joints, could not be sustained any longer without it clearly being the cause of most of one's obvious physical discomfort.

And so by their 50s, most people abandoned such strenuous and demanding activity -- except for the few diehards who insist like Orwell's workhorse in the Animal Farm, that all he needed to do was to work harder, and everything would turn out better -- when it was clear to everybody else and most readers, that that overwork was the cause of his breakdown and consumption of his life and vital energies.

But we still have people pushing such primitive notions -- that if something isn't working, obviously they need more force and brute power -- rather than first assuming, that there must be a higher intelligence at work, an evolutionary genius rather than random blind chance. Primitive minds think that death, disease and disaster just happen -- and when it does, a blind rage of power, is its appropriate response -- rather than the learned response of observing before reacting.

Fitness is not only the physical response -- but a total response to the challenge, which means taking in information from one's senses, and being able then to select the most appropriate response -- which is likely to be neither fight or flight, but something in between, something more subtle, unexpected and unique -- unless one is conditioned to no other. But that would not be the best response -- unless one was the best at that response and skill. Something more appropriate to the unique individual, would likely achieve a better result, and make the challenge, revolve around new axes of uncertainties.

Such improvisations, are also the expression of the greatest possibilities and potential of unknown talent and abilities. We no longer assume that we know what they are -- for each individual to conform to the pattern of our limited previous expectations -- in the virtual universe, in which a lot of things go on and manifest. So to reduce all human performance and well-being to one measure, would seem to be the height of folly in describing the condition of any individual as well as societies.

Those are not ideas that stand the test of time. Instead, we have to look for measures of qualities much more universal and timeless -- than simply the measure of how fast we can move a mass a certain distance. That is a very primitive measure of "work" but by no means the definitive explanation and standard of it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Whatever Happens is Information

One of the curious features of people who have learned everything they know in an academic setting, is that they regard actual happenings, as "anecdotal" and invalid -- rather than that is what is actually happening -- in that particular instance. Many of those actual "incidences" is what compose the statistics and the generalizations that grow out of them. It is not that the anecdotal is less true than the generalization -- as much as the individual is dependent on the reliability of the reporting individual to observe the truth of the matter, and not be convinced by the trivialities and their own wishful thinking as to what they would like to believe is actually happening.

In fact, many such people, believe that if they simply maintain their assertions, using all manner of authority and authoritarian manipulations, that that will make everything they say, the "truth," and not that there is a systematic way of approaching these inquiries -- which of course, is the scientific method, and not merely the appearances of it.

Those are my immediate impressions ins seeing the typical experts presented to the public via the media personalities -- that they are impressed by those with the best gimmick and gimmickry, rather than ANY insight to the inquiry into any matter.

They are the most susceptible to reliance on marketing effectiveness -- and that is all they know and recognize. So while some person may actually have the truth of the matter, if they do not come forward with flattery and guile, they are not recognized because they display none of the attributes such people can recognize. They are not trying to make people believe what is not true. They are just content to present the complete picture -- rather than a partial (half-)truth, or an overwhelming number of them.

The amount of energy and effort that goes into convincing others that is not true, far exceeds the little energy left to attend to that which is simply true -- and needs little or no effort to convince. But in this world of artifice, almost all the effort and energies are diverted and devoted in this manner -- and so thee is no time and energy for doing the little that is actually productive. People are conditioned to believe that the expenditure of great time, energy, and other resources, are necessary to live an adequate life -- because mass media requires so many sacrifices, controversies, arguments, and misunderstandings -- to perpetuate and justify itself.

Controversy and confusion, have therefore come to have a higher standing and actually be the object of their programming, rather than the resolution of it. In this way, it is a self-perpetuating machine of greater inefficiencies -- leading to the demand for more, mass media entertainment as an end in itself. Thus the objective of advertising, is to create ever more advertising -- to counteract previous false information.

To propagate any real truth directly in such a toxic culture, is the last thing one will hear. If that truth is eventually revealed, it must be after exhausting every falsehood first -- as though one cannot achieve any success, unless by first making all the possible mistakes -- first. And so those who do come upon the truth, are revered as the great survivors from having run the gauntlet.

But is there another way? Can one come upon any truth directly? That is mostly the "conditioning" we receive in life before a few manage to mold their own destinies. It is much more difficult to mold oneself into everybody else, than it is to actualize the highest possibility of one's own unique being. All the energy is consumed in trying to become what one is not -- which is everybody else -- while ignoring the importance, of fully actualizing, their own potential. That is the diversion of mass media and other entertainments -- that keep one away from attending to the real business of their lives.

And so it is necessary to get away from what everybody and especially the "experts" say about these things and set into motion all the arguments and expenditures of ever more energies, and consider how real understanding, brings an end to further effort -- by understanding the simple truth of the information one observes.

It should be clearly obvious then, that the best manner to get "in shape," are simply a few movements that directly put one into that shape -- instead of turning treadmills endlessly with no idea of what one is doing and even diverting one's thoughts from the dreariness of their activity. Certainly, that should be a giveaway that everything done that way is a diversion and disconnection of the reality of what one is doing -- and such conditioning, produces those who have no idea what they are doing, or care to.

And that is the problem -- and not the lack of effort in making oneself immune and insensitive to what they are doing. They make themselves weary of caring -- and why such conditioning programs are abandoned as soon it is convenient and expedient to do so. Why design conditioning programs that eventually eliminates everyone? What is the intelligence in that?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Health Actuzlization As A Primary Responsibility

Recently, I've been working with some "recovered" stroke patients, to help them expand their capabilities -- and at first, I wasn't sure about this, but my feeling grew that their "recovery" was actually a dysfunctional one -- to where they used to be, rather than what is fully possible for them, and not just getting back to where they used to be, but now disabled and handicapped.

It is not unlike the adjustment of healthy people who go on to compensate for their disabilities by developing extraordinary abilities -- that seem at first bizarre but really may be the most logical adaptation -- of painting with one's feet or mouth. People get good at what they want to or need to -- and won't, if others are too willing to help them in every little matter, even if they could do it for themselves.

Such people have a need to be needed and so vastly complicate the maladjustments, dependencies and arrested development. As I was teaching computer skills or determining if there was any movement possible at an extremity or limb, I kept encountering the question of whether the limits were actual physical limits, or merely conditioned and expected responses.

My question often was, if you cannot move that hand or feet individually, can you use all the other functioning muscles of your body to move relative to that part that you cannot move otherwise -- because I've long-noted that if one can produce a change, in the end, it doesn't matter what changed, or how it changed.

What matters is that one can consistently produce that effect -- which is why there is no "cheating" if one can reliably come up with the answers. That is very disturbing to the traditional mind that thinks that one should only be able to come up with one's answer without the use of calculators -- and then others, might be more insistent that it should also not be calculated on a scratch paper -- or the answer should even be just the answer regurgitated back from memory/instruction, and not induced by logic or independence of thought. All those are arbitrary handicaps on learning -- and doing anything.

A major precondition for learning and conditioning still popular to this day, is the belief that learning anything should be made hard and difficult, and as a reward, should be made harder and more difficult still -- until, at the highest levels of achievement, nobody could know what it is that is actually going on in one's mind. At that point, one was pronounced "brilliant," and the next day, hospitalized and confined, for bizarre and antisocial behavior.

So when one does suffer one of these calamities that set one back in life, is recovery going back to where one used to be although greatly impaired and forgiven for that lack of proficiency and competence, or would recovery be actually an improvement from the limitations of their past? -- because as I increasingly noticed, that the limitations to progress were not so much a lack of functioning and present capacity -- but an erroneous learning style that actually limited (re)learning anything at all.

That is the difference between learning by rote (memory, knowledge, thought) -- and learning directly from one's actual experiences and choices. Computer students know this difference as the difference between the previous sequential data processing model and the current random accessing of information (virtual reality) -- even if one has not encountered such an experience or learning previously, yet succeeding nevertheless.

Up to twenty-five years ago, to the appropriate landmark date of "1984," most of the learning done and conducted, was with this sequential accessing of information (memory) -- to previously learned knowledge, and if it wasn't learned prior, it could not effectively be encountered (processed) -- since the answer could only be that which was previously known, and could just not be discovered by anyone -- who was not properly and appropriately recognized to conduct that inquiry.

So it was a landmark in quite a different way than was widely anticipated and thought about -- because the change was much more profound -- in the ending of time, as a precondition to learning -- which is a difficult concept for those educated largely prior to that paradigm shift. Prophetically enough, the most memorable image and commercial of that time, was broadcast during the halftime of the SuperBowl in that year -- in which a woman warrior, threw a sledgehammer through the projected image of Big Brother representing centralized (sequential) information processing and the control of IBM mainframe dominance (hierarchy) of data processing departments.

In my concurring many years of meeting some fairly extraordinary people, discovering their own realities and potentials guided their ultimate development rather than merely conformance to predetermined charts of expectancies and outcomes -- that allowed for no deviations even if it represented a better possibility (adaptations). So it has been quite a liberation in the thinking that any condition one presently is in -- has a greater possibility for actualization than has been thought possible, if one can in fact, discover this new reality himself -- without a preconceived notion of what he has to go back to.

"Can you go and do what you haven't done before -- as easily as what you have only known before?"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The National Health Crisis As I See It

Most of the mainstream media and the political talk addresses the health care problem as the matter of 50 million Americans being uninsured -- rather than the appalling physical conditions of the 50 million Americans who are insured yet whose health is only a step away from a total disability.

It's no secret that at some of the best paid and most secure workplaces in the country, that you see people who are grossly overweight and out of any recognizable human shape -- and so their health problems is not the lack of access to medical care and health benefits. In fact, that health care system seems to enable their bad habits and makes them feel secure that if the worst happens, they have full coverage, and can then can go on full disability for the rest of their lives -- even if they have to fake it a little, until there is no real difference from their actual capabilities, because they have no way of exercising them.

So the real problem is not the lack of this professional care and expertise, but actually the results of an understanding of basic health that undermines the actualization of greatest health -- because of that reliance and mentality of the medical health system to make one well, rather than as each individual's primary responsibility, calling and duty. I think that is the real issue -- this manner of thinking.

Such conditioning begins with the present education of relying on the "other" to provide one's guidance and competence -- rather than each individual empowering themselves in that way. The ultimate consequence of such codependencies is that we eventually get to the point in which it requires two or more, to take care of the life of one -- and obviously, such a society must fail -- because there is no longer the energy and resources for anybody to pull ahead at that point. The efforts of society are entirely consumed in preventing death, disease and dysfunction: that is dystopia -- a vision of reality in which everything is a problem, as opposed to the utopia, where every effort is a solution.

But many are conditioned to undermine and contradict every good society creates -- if only at first, as a devil's advocate -- to argue for argument's sake, as though that was an intelligent thing to do -- rather than the great waste of resources in solving imaginary problems so that there is no time, energy and resources to solve the pressing and urgent problems of the day. That waste is often called entertainment -- for those who don't know how to employ their efforts in productive channels.

You see them all the time in newspaper forums trying to discourage others from doing anything worthwhile -- as though the status quo of seemingly insurmountable problems and difficulties, must only get worse -- because that is their essential conditioning and orientation, which they feel they must propagate to everyone else .

So the great challenge of society at this time, is the education and conditioning to create a an intelligent nation of problem solvers rather than problem creators -- as though that was an intelligent and productive thing to do. But the hope and promise of these times as any other, is that the few who do solve problems, continue to outstrip those who can only foresee a worsening of the human condition as the only fate for humankind

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What is a "Certified" Fitness Instructor certified in?

I think most people would not find it shocking to learn that "certified" fitness instructors are not certified to be competent or knowledgeable about exercise, physiology, nutrition and all those things they claim being experts at, but upon registering for such classes, must present a current certification from the Red Cross or similar certifying agency, that they have taken a Basic First Aid and CPR course -- which an academy, or institute of pretentious sounding names operating out of a P.O. Box -- will duly certify they have seen.

That's all they are certifying -- and that such individuals have paid the $500 for the one-day or weekend class of indoctrination of how to sound like an expert -- by referring to an undocumented and unattributed manual, not to be shown to anyone else who hasn't paid for that course in certification.

One of the first things they do, is tell one the formula for calculating the vaunted "Target Heart Rate" -- as though that was some kind of universally agreed upon standard -- instead of just an arbitrary formula based on nothing more than age, ignoring that the differences between the best conditioned in that age and the worst, is much greater, than their difference in age.

While a person at 80 is probably not as fit as that same person at 18 -- that does not necessarily say that an exceptional individual at 80 is not more fit than a severely handicapped person at 18 -- and that is why real medical professionals usually take an individual's unique medical history and profile, as the single most important factor to consider about the health of that individual.

One of the great presumptions fostered by mass education, is that everybody begins and ends equally with every other -- rather than the notion promoted by Roger Williams in the early '60s -- competing along with "target heart rate" and other popular notions through the mass media -- that the differences in individual variations in almost every measurable scale, varied so greatly that such generalizations were bound to lead one to erroneous conclusions about individual manifestations and outcomes. Most of his work was done with nutritional tolerances -- showing that one man's meat was another man's poison -- which predates the age of food allergies and tolerance -- but has obviously been noted through history.

And so it was that although penicillin was a wonderful miracle drug, to some, it could cause death in a few. In fact, it wasn't until the '80s that I recall seeing the first book that proclaimed it was the first book describing milk, or lactose intolerance -- as a fairly widespread phenomenon, which up to that point, even the medical profession denied. However, Dr. Tom Dooley, had described it previously in The Ugly American, as the reason some countries being sent this food as aid were suspicious, and used the powdered milk instead, to whitewash their houses rather than drink the toxic to them, beverage.

Around the '50s, 60s, and '70s, there was an increasing drive by the institutions to generalize everything for mass consumption and marketing. The universities themselves, made the generalization of everything, its holy grail. The average became the standard, the ideal, what everyone must strive to become. The IBM mainframe computer, processed and distributed everything anybody needed to know. The New York Times, wrote all the news fit to print. That was the world we evolved from.

And so if one has a chance to get ahold of one of these manuals for these classes -- they are written in the style and manner of "the experts say," while notably never citing any specific studies or individuals. They've merely codified all the hearsay that has passed down from generations of physical education teachers and wives tales to sound like contemporary science -- while having not a shred of it except the authoritarian manner of expertise without merit or substantiation.

Most honest people who actually know something, realize it is a bogus credential -- like many are, these days. The major promoters of such certified training, have been the health clubs -- hoping to monopolize/legitimize that business, which they have not been successful at for the last 25 years -- since the peak of the Nautilus machines required them as basic instruction for using their machines.

The claim by its inventor was initially that the machines were so perfect that even a fool couldn't fail to get results using them -- to the explanation that the reason people weren't getting fabulous results, was that each repetition needed to be personally supervised by himself -- or by a person previously trained and authorized to supervise such a workout. That was the rationale for the certified fitness instructor who would vouchsafe that the machines were being used properly and effectively, and therefore gains would be forthcoming -- as guaranteed.

By the '90s, those machines fell out of favor. However, the selling of such certifications have remained a lucrative business.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Natural Tummy Tuck

As a young boy involved in Pop Warner football at the age of 12, we had a coach who was easily 250 lbs. when that was not so common a sight in the world, and the team of impressionable young boys' perception of him was that he was just a fat guy with a notably big gut -- which kind of undermined his credibility as a coach tremendously. Since it was the first year of our organization into competition, for which I had personally recruited most of the team, they looked up to me as the leader because I was just in naturally good shape.

One day however, after a practice in which his authority was questioned, he did the unusual thing for him of taking off his shirt and sucking his gut in to reveal one of the most impressive physiques I had ever seen -- which was the first hint to an unbelieving team, that he actually might have been the All-American football athlete he once was, and knew what he was talking about. Everyone was shocked in the sudden and impressive transformation only kids would imagine possible.

Later on in my younger years, I hung around a lot of gyms and got to see a lot of these former great athletes who had gone into professional wrestling as one of the venues in which they could continue to work with their natural proclivities. Not only was this kind of instant transformation possible with most of them, but when I later met some of the great naturally gifted bodybuilders and trained alongside many of them, it became very apparent that they were drawn to bodybuilding because of these fascinatingly exceptional abilities to transform themselves.

In almost all cases, it was to exaggerate their appearances to look awesome -- but a lesser known and exhibited ability among that crowd, is also the ability to look in terrible condition too. Only a few would jokingly play around in that manner, but some people who were well known public figures exploited these abilities -- usually as "performers" -- finally reaching its ultimate form in the kung-fu, martial arts movies which is a series of poses -- long having surpassed the eye's ability to follow the movement -- from one impressive transformation to the next -- but omitting the most impressive of them all, which would be from a terribly out of conditioned form to an immaculately impressive one -- and vice-versa.

But they do have that ability -- but why would they want to look terrible? What would be the point? However, some people pride themselves in their ability to "play all the parts," as demonstration of their remarkable abilities -- while many others do it just to fit in and be considered "normal."

Modern education has reinforced the notion that change takes a lot of time, energy and money -- and that we must go through them first to achieve our ultimate goals, when in fact, the most successful of any field of industry, are those who create and challenge all the rules, and in this manner, create whole new worlds of possibilities and seeing them (paradigms).

One hopes that happens in every life -- that they get to meet a few that expand the frontiers with their thinking and doing -- because that's what they were born in the world to do, and their lives is the summation of evolution up to this point -- and then somebody will take it further. But that's another story, another life, and we just need to concern ourselves with one, for the moment.

The normal human being has muscles to express this range of movement, abilities and appearance that far exceed their idea of what is momentarily possible for virtually every individual. They've just never been taught the importance, or need, except when studying in a formal class for that instruction and competition. People seldom instruct really being in condition because it is not in the best interest of the instructor to divulge that information immediately -- but one is expected to apprentice for many years first to demonstrate their worthiness and dedication to receiving such wisdom.

Those are the great traditions of "physical culture," in which the master often demanded of the disciple, unquestionable and undeniable obedience -- to learn all the secrets. Many other disciplines in the past also adopted that manner of teaching and instruction -- that many years, hard work and of course, lots of money -- because the gods of wisdom, do not come cheap and easy.

Usually in the movies, the prodigy realizes it himself -- that the great lesson was there before him all along, but he could not see it because of his past erroneous conditioning to confuse and complicate it.

As an exercise for reducing one's girth, suck in one's gut to make it as small as possible -- 50 times. That's probably the greatest transformation anybody can do -- in whatever present condition they're in.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Any Movement Can Be Your Mantra

When I give my presentations on exercise, I show five basic movements that cover movement at pretty nearly all the joints (axes of rotation) and muscles effecting them -- but I also point out, that if one feels particularly comfortable doing one while the others may pose a problem, any one of those movements could be one's mantra, or specialty that they've decided to place all their energies into mastering and perfecting -- because it is that focus and clarity of purpose and ownership of that process, that becomes the organizing principle upon which their life and health will be built.

Most people will not be motivated to become merely theoretically healthy, or if they do, it has very little meaning and cannot be measured or observed in any meaningful manner by others. Such people will vehemently insist even, that they are in perfectly good condition -- not requiring any change or modification, because in their minds, they know what they should be doing, and could be doing but never actually do -- because there is no connection between that world in which they think and how things actually are -- and that is probably the greatest reasons one must make this connection daily, as soon as one awakens and begins the activities of their day.

They need this clear understanding -- of what is reality in their minds, and how they actually interface with the real world of gravity, resistance, and limited resources. Yes, our actions would be very different if all the time, energy and money -- were not finite and even diminishing -- while at other times increasing, and one must have that connection of what the present condition actually is -- and not simply one's memory, thought and knowledge of some previous time.

That might have been useful in times when very little changed -- but now, living in a time of rapid changes and developments (discoveries) daily, one needs a new kind of "education" (conditioning) to not only meet the challenges of their present environment, but to actually change it if they can and desire to -- through their involvement, understanding and actions.

It should be obvious to observant and thoughtful people that things and events do not just happen -- but that any outcomes, are the interaction of themselves (and others) with that environment -- to create something else entirely -- or just to continue the pattern while thinking nothing can ever change or be different.

So those who can change even one thing, become very powerful "players" in the world -- capable even, of dictating what game is being played, and how that game is being played. These people change the world, because they can change themselves.

That is the beginning of every change in the world.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

On the Average...

Most people get enough exercise but a few get too much and many others get zero -- and that is the problem, but on average, everybody gets exactly the "right" amount. That is the problem of mistaking the average or the normal for the ideal -- or the optimal. The average person will be the average person -- by definition.

That is the most misused and misunderstood concept in the study of anything -- that the average is what people ought to be striving for -- instead of an ideal, which then tends to skew the results, because people are not doing what they do for a random result. That is the common fallacy of applying natural science methodology to the study of social phenomena -- which is decidedly not random, or blind.

Yet such a mistaken notion, doesn't stop many pseudo sciences from proclaiming from every rooftop they are allowed on, that that is information worth knowing. You see it in the reporting of financial news -- in which many reporters think that the goal of all investors is to obtain the "average" return -- rather than the greatest.

In like manner, the contemporary reporting on fitness news and information follows that same line of false conclusions -- since they begin with the conclusions they want to prove in the design of their studies, and simply throw out all the exceptions to the rule they want to promote, leaving them with the idea they began with -- which is invariably how they are going to make billions of dollars marketing their latest fitness gadget or gimmick.

Unfortunately, that's the prevailing rule of what comes to dominate the latest promotions tied to fitness. That's actually the rationale for the often quoted "target heart rate" -- as the basis for selling an expensive heart monitor or monitoring services to everyone, regardless of whether it serves any useful purpose to do so.

Of course, in the world of marketing and transactions, anything is permissible if engaged willingly by two sane adults -- except that which are expressly forbidden. What the government agencies can enforce, are claims of truthfulness, which usually presume a lot -- usually that all people are created exactly alike, which is untrue. But with that assumption and presumption, one can easily arrive at their preconceived conclusions of what they know to be true -- without ever really questioning it, and even examining what they are saying as meaningful or not.

In business transactions, that would be the cliche, "Buy low, sell high," as though that were some great wisdom suggesting the speaker should be listened to -- or knows what it is all about, when in fact, that is all they "know" to say on that matter, and then most others will not inquire further if there is any depth to that understanding. For the truly knowledgeable, that signals a complacent and closed mind -- which is not worth the time to enlighten or correct.

In the field of exercise, the common misunderstanding is the belief that "More is always better," as though simply more is what distinguishes the good from the better. Better is not necessarily more -- unless there is only one thing. But the fact of the matter is that there are many things and many ways -- and not just the one thing the salesperson wants us to believe is the only thing, and they have a "patent pending" on it.

Almost everyone presumes they are an expert on exercise because they "know" that "More is better" -- without inquiring if "any" of it is a good thing, and in what causal manner, other than that it is a belief imposed upon the most authoritarian persons -- as the way they know to achieve compliance with their dictates.

While that may work and sometimes be necessary, those wishing to achieve the greatest control over their own lives and destinies, would quickly abandon that approach -- recognizing that replacing one master for another, and one prison for another, is not freedom and fullest actualization, but not understanding the question, meaning, and purpose -- of anything being discussed.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Lessons From the "Extreme Makeovers"

When they first used to produce these "reality shows," they'd actually take several months to effect these dramatic transformations in people -- until they finally came around to realizing that it didn't take weeks, months or years to effect such transformations, but could be done virtually instantaneously once one had the winning formula down.

It's a lot like writing computer programs -- in that it may take a while to solve a problem for the first time, but once that has been done, one can repeat that process over and over very quickly.

Many years ago when I ran the Scientific Weight-training program at the Boston YMCA as one of the first adult education co-ed classes in weight training in the mid70s, we used to take exhaustive information and measurements to verify our actual results as proof that a very brief amount of intense exercise could sustain noticeable, undeniable results -- including taking before and after pictures at six-week intervals.

What became fairly obvious to me was that with training, it became possible for advanced subjects to alter their appearance (shape and condition) as dramatically in one session, as they could in the difference between the before and after pictures taken six weeks apart.

That's how I got the idea and notion, that the difference was not time and energy consumed, but a difference in their understanding and ability to effect change -- instantaneously, once they developed the skill to do so -- and maintained that skill and practice daily. Even exercise as a minimum daily practice is still regarded as a revolution in the thinking that one needs to take a break from "too much" exercise.

If one does too much exercise, it is well recognized that one requires a break of a day or two to recover and grow from that stimulus -- but is there an amount of exercise that doesn't exhaust those recovery abilities to that extraordinary extent. That would be a deliberately limited mini-workout not exceeding five minutes -- in which one invariably is left feeling one "could" do more, and likely will -- but that regimen doesn't need to be enforced, but is predisposed.

That right amount, is generally what athletes in any competitive activity, usually do as a warm up -- not thinking it is very important -- except for the exceptional few, who do everything as though it matters greatly. It is this attention to detail into what most others would consider not important, that will distinguish those functioning on a much higher level of achievement and performance.

The world-class performer does everything as a performance -- because they exceed the parameters of expectation that greatly, so that their least effort surpasses most people's best efforts. That's kind of shocking to believe in most daily activities which largely centers around the average "expectation" -- rather than is witnessed in its most extreme -- usually by others with those same pre-inclinations and talents, and is therefore likely then to be taken for granted as the "average."

But it is far from the average -- for most of the general population. In like manner, many are not or haven't been exposed to people with great abilities to transform themselves greatly, instantaneously -- but those subpopulations exist in every arena of human activity -- as extraordinary talent and ability that cannot be learned, or worked for. However, even among the gifted, there are secrets to doing things better, easier and more effectively -- which only they have the gifts to manifest fully, but 90% of that benefit, can be learned and benefited by the average person -- once it is observed and identified as the significant factor in a phenomenon.

What is the 10% that gives one 90% of the results (effects)? That is what is significant to know and master.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

You Get Good at What You ACTUALLY Do

It's kind of amusing to hear people lament that they do not have "washboard abs" when they never do anything directly to create that effect -- but think only that in some round about way, that if they cut down their calories, walk on a treadmill for 30 minutes -- their body will know it should take on an impressive "washboard ab" look.

The only way you will be able to effectively produce that particular effect, is by practicing that direct outcome -- just as one wouldn't expect to become better at "free throws" by simply cutting down their calories and walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes.

In order to become good at any movement or appearance, one actually has to practice it and perfect that movement and outcome. But the surprising thing is that it doesn't take that much -- about 25-50 repetitions are usually sufficient to imprint that effect -- and predispose that movement and effect until it becomes integral to the memory of that muscle and nerves.

It becomes good at it because that it what it practices to perfect. The problem with contemporary modern living and lifestyles for most these days, is that what they do, is largely what they are interested in doing -- rather than what they have to do merely to survive. And given this luxury of choice and freedom, many choose to assume the shape of whatever they are being supported on, which more often than not in their leisure moments, is a poorly designed couch. Thus, people will remark that such devotees of the couch positions in all their variations, tend to resemble potatoes to a striking degree.

Not surprisingly, they have merely gotten very good at what they actually DO -- and the form they assume. It's not about calories they consume or expend, but is immediately and directly, the body they express -- largely unknowingly and unthinkingly, what desiring otherwise, that they should have "washboard abs."

But surprisingly, rather than thinking they need to walk 30 minutes each day on a treadmill to get those washboard abs, a minute daily of such focused movement is all it takes -- to achieve and perfect that effect. Right then and there, one is already doing a thousandfold more than zero -- and that is what makes the greatest difference, the greatest increment of change. Once one gets up to "50" there is negligible further gain in continuing so -- because one has already proved that such a movement can be sustained for more than the less than "10" that is characteristic, of an anaerobic movement -- by which the object is to produce failure in the momentary ability to continue.

This is a style of training frequently used by bodybuilders -- to great detrimental long term effect because it achieves its effect by causing an overcompensation to address the damaging effects of depriving circulation to the brain particularly, which then causes the cessation of ANY further efforts.

That is the importance of an "aerobic" activity -- that it doesn't shut off the circulation of blood and oxygen to the brain, by constricting the muscles and vessels to it, in activities that in this manner, are anaerobic in performance and effect. That manner of perrformance, is most characteristically in single lift maximum attempts -- or sets of repetitions less than "25," and thus that is the marker, of when a movement is being performed aerobically or anaerobically -- which is being able to carry on a conversation while performing that movement or activity.

It is not inherent to a kind of activity, but can be done with any activity -- or not. That is what one must first be mindful of -- in making a positive difference.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Exercise and Aging

Most do not believe this is true -- but it is possible to continue improving and growing in health -- regardless of age, IF one takes into account, the very important but generally overlooked consideration of precious and decreasing recovery ability.

This decreasing recovery ability is what even great athletes start to realize after the age of thirty, is their inability to recover as quickly and as surely as they might have in their younger years. Unfortunately, the typical conditioned response is to think that they now have to do even more to retain their same level of performance and proficiencies as before -- instead of suspecting, that it is quite the opposite -- and the need to do less , is paramount and indicated, because the ratios of work to recovery ability, are decreasing at an undeniable pace.

The change in the body, doesn't necessarily indicate deterioration -- but is a sure demand for how the resources and resourcefulness of the body is being used. It requires the older person, to become wiser and better, and if they don't, the consequences are punishing and unmistakable. Unfortunately again, one is conditioned to fight those realizations, to ignore and try to deny and defy them, thinking that if one increases their workload, surely the body has to adapt to those increased workloads -- rather as it will happen, shut the body down completely with an enforced injury or disability.

At this point, many people's conclusion is that they have to abandon exercise entirely -- rather than suspect and experience with the obvious, that they MUST do better so they can do less -- and that stimulus, will determine the shape, condition and form an individual will perfect -- in their movements and activities.

Those who don't notice any better, think that with increasing years, they should put less demand on improvements for the better, and simply accept the worse -- and simply prescribe exercises that ensure that outcome -- that a person surely becomes worse, than better. That is mainly because with their present understanding of conditioning and their effects, and not paying attention to the actual results and cause and effects, that they believe the erroneous pronouncements of those whose only knowledge is persuading others and manipulating beliefs, rather than the truth of the matter.

Such people think that if one doesn't like what one is seeing, one should merely change their perception rather than the actualities that create that impression. In this way, many in declining physical health, can convince themselves that they are superbly conditioned -- because they are spending more time, energy and effort on these things -- rather than the cessation of those concerns.

People who are more preoccupied with their health, are less healthy, than those for whom health is not a concern, or limiting factor. A person who devotes five hours or every waking moment of their lives to concerns about their health, is morbidly unhealthy. A person who has no concern for such limits on his activities, is as healthy as they can be -- yet this attainment in conditioning, can usually be obtained with a minimal amount of time, energy and effort -- when the UNDERSTANDING of this process is high enough.

That is the real limiting factor -- and no amount of the usual poor understanding of this process can result in any other than the typical poor results -- leading most people to accept the futility of the productiveness of exercise and conditioning activities as they age -- as the only way things can be.

The first thing that must be changed, is not one's activity levels, but their whole understanding of this process -- which is entirely fallacious because it is the conditioning that it requires great amounts of time, energy and effort to achieve -- rather than changing the essential understanding -- that one can alter one's condition and shape directly -- and not by buying all the gadgets, club memberships, nutritional supplements, spa treatments, garish clothing, videotapes, etc.

The unfortunate condition is that the "fitness industry" and its self-designated "experts," are the primary source of these advertisements and promotions of these counterproductive beliefs and understanding, which merely replaced a previous generation's misguided physical education teachers.