Take a vacation from your problems!

Stressing your way to destruction?

Let’s say you are getting better at moving.

You have a greater understanding of your body.

You are eating healthy.

You “take care of yourself” movement based and nutrition based…. but, BUT

You still stress yourself out WAY TOO MUCH.


It doesn’t matter whether you have psychological, emotional, mental, or physical stress in your body, your cells will not know the difference. Eutress, distress, it’s ALL the same. It’s stress in your cells. Stress is stress. I am a ball-iever, a mover, and an advocate of the next position is the best position. AND AND AND no matter how gooood a mover you are, if you stress yourself out then your cells will keep on creating damage in the body at the micro level…. which can slowly, over the years manifest at the macro level.

If sometimes you are not able to move as much, or eat as healthy or do the things you want to do because of “Life circumstances”, it’s OKAY!!! For example: you need to work extra hours… and your office is set up by chair and desk (i.e. sitting all day long). You get upset, frustrated, mad, even irrate! This makes matters worse for the body. Trust me, I know! And I know you know too :)

Let’s be good to ourselves.

Nothing like a good ol’ look in the mirror and “SMILING”
It’s better than beating the shit out of yourself… wouldn’t you agree?
We are hardest on ourselves because it is so easy to be.
Our cultures teaches us so well.

Today, enjoy your day. Take a vacation from your “challenges” in life and just BE you.
Have you ever seen “What about Bob?” with Bill Murray, when Dr. Marvin prescribes Bob to:

Take a VACATION from your problems!

Yes, if you need a glass of wine or feel a chillin’ day is in order “Do it!”.
Enjoying life and have fun!!!!
Or if you need to yell profanities for one minute first-> a pillow or water work well :)

Have a wonderful, fabulous day, afternoon, night wherever you are in the world!!!!!

Your sport movements mimic your daily life movements

If you want to be able to squat, you actually need to squat on a daily basis outside your sport. You can do this by going to the toilet properly (in a squat), hanging out eating a meal, squatting talking on the phone or watching television. The thought of doing “mobility” for hours on end to get into the appropriate squatting position is incredibly time consuming and almost a waste of time because your body doesn’t adapt as well to that position if you are only holding it for your sport.

If you want better ankle mobility start walking up hills in your neighbourhood or anywhere to improve daily mobility! You actually need to “do” the appropriate movements outside of practice and competition so it’s EASY inside training and competing. If there are no hills, crawl your way or lunge your way to success…. or hang out more in a squat.

If you want to improve your overhead squat/snatch/jerk (etcetera) you need to get into that position more often. Have a bar in one of your doorways at home so you can hang upon waking in the morning and just before going to bed. And then… try doing it without thrusting your ribs. That might take a few years!

Here’s the point I am trying to make: there’s so much talk on mobilizing for your sport you forget how much easier it would be if you actually did it outside of your sport.

Everytime you think of a certain position, exercise, activity that needs to be done within your sport, say to yourself: “How can I mimic this in my everyday life?” Your sport and body will love you for it.

Movement is behaviour over time.

Did you get that?

Movement is behaviour over time.

Sitting is worse for athletes

What does performance recovery mean?

Performance recovery (or athlete/sport recovery) is getting more scientific and detailed encompassing way more than just rest in between workouts. In the simplest of terms, training is where you wear + tear your body/muscles and recovery is where you repair/rebuild/restore your body/muscles. Yet, there’s a million ways in which to recover. A lot of times people (coaches and athletes) aren’t aware of certain recovery practices and what that entails.

One of the huge no-no’s as an athlete is to sit in a chair too long (or car, or bus or train). Let’s say throughout the day no more that 2-3 hours (yes, that includes meals, driving, meetings, classes/school/work, watching TV, etc).

Yup, you already know that sitting kills (i.e. sitting is the new smoking) in the kazillion articles written on sitting. But but but but… Sitting is horrific in athletes that are training hard in their sports because it predisposes the athlete to increased risk of injury. Yes!!! If the athlete already has issues/nigglies/pain/injury sitting will ADD to it! When you passively load muscles or position muscles to a shortened and weakened state (i.e. calves, hamstrings, psoas while sitting) it will have serious consequences to your recovery; hence, to your performance. Once again, you are creating further tension/increased adhesions/decreased circulation and electric flow in those areas. It’s all about groceries IN and garbage OUT when dealing with recovery. Please don’t make matters worse and sit too long!

WHAT do athletes do in between practices? Let’s go with the student-athletes. Hhhmmm let’s see.

1. Sitting in chairs at desks in classes all day

2. Sitting in chairs at meetings (strategy sessions) hours on end

3. Sitting on sofas to watch plays/tactics/strategies/etc everyday

4. Driving to and from practice

5. Sitting on sofas relaxing before and after practice for no other reason that to relax (even though it is doing more harm than good).

Yes, I understand that sitting is required in certain circumstances; although, may I suggest a slight alternative?

i. When sitting always sit on your ischial tuberosities (your sit-bones). This will help your spine, pelvic floor, organs and hamstrings.

ii. When sitting have your legs straight out so there is NO knee flexion. This makes a huge difference in the leg circulation.

iii. Have standing meetings. I know it will be hard coaches because you will actually have to stand as well! Get off your asses and stand for a meeting.

iv. Sitting meetings? Get them to sit on a block just above the floor and have them stretch out their legs. Once again, this does wonders for circulation and it helps stretch the athletes out. Many, many, many, many football players have tight hamstrings. Just by stretching out of the legs, within a matter of a couple of weeks, players can notice a huge difference in mobility. Why not try it! Especially if you want the winning advantage.

If you still don’t understand why sitting impedes recovery; then do an experiment! Have 1/2 the team do as little sitting as possible for 2-3 weeks weeks and the other 1/2 sitting (or status quo). I understand, this can be hard because you won’t see them all day everyday. Who knows what they do at home… on the sofa… watching TV… eating honey nut cheerios. I don’t know… just sit less please :)

Studies on human movement throughout the day

In order for change to occur in certain countries studies/research needs to be thoroughly carried out. And, after many years results and conclusions can give way to policy… then implementation… how many years are we talking… oh! 5, 10, 15… things take time.

I honestly don’t think we need research to realize the effects of minimal movement in our society today. Please don’t count your daily dose of exercise, move as much as possible throughout the day.

** Research is GREAT… I’m just saying implement more doses of movement throughout the day today…. not a decade from now!

How I help athletes!

[Please look at video first; then, read response below]

A response to Kristin Marvin:

I have just watched an excellent short you tube clip posted by Kristin Marvin. I met Kristin through Rowperfect and was interested in her take on body balance and the effects of sport, particularly high performance sport, on our bodies.

Kristin’s point is that by endlessly repeating one movement as we do in rowing we risk imbalances in muscles and skeletal misalignment. I can only agree; I still show the signs of having rowed many years on stroke (port) side – much more flexibility to the right than the left.

Kristin offers her services to help athletes rebalance and realign. Perhaps though we coaches should be trying to reduce her work load by helping our athletes stay balanced and aligned? I am thinking here of club and junior level rowers rather than the high performance types with their teams of support staff.

I believe we should encourage all of our young rowers to use other forms of exercise and training. Running; particularly off the hard and smooth city surfaces – sand dunes, beaches, farmland and hills for preference. Any; or many, of the various field and court games – football in all its varieties, hockey, basketball, squash, almost any game. Cycling; though the dangers of cycling on the road are considerable. Ergometers have become the standard alternative to rowing when weather or other circumstances make time on the water difficult but we should look at what other alternatives we have.

If we did this I believe we would reduce the risk of injury from rowing, help with general muscular and skill development, add more fun to our training, and help prepare our young athletes for high performance rowing if they decide to follow that path.

So what gets in the way of such alternative exercise? The pressure to perform is one consideration. Every coach and rower wants to win the next race and to be fast at the end of the season championships, and often taking time out of the boat to run or cycle will feel like a second class session. Short term it may be less effective but coaches should look at the long term, what is best for development. Sometimes a step back in order to take two steps forward is the best option.

There is also a distressing tendency for children to be encouraged to specialise too early. We used to play at least two sports, one summer, one winter, or in my case, with my sports mad friends we all had at least four sports at school. Now the pressure to win is such that all sports are extending their seasons so it is often not practical to have both a summer and a winter passion.

Good rowing coaches have to live in the real world, and your young athletes are under pressure to train enough to win, have difficulty finding time to play more than one sport, and often live and train where running on the beach or cycling on low traffic roads is not easy to organise. Be confident enough though to put some ball games, some running of whatever kind, some field or gym games in to your programmes. The pay off may not be immediate but it will come.

~ Duncan Holland, Remote Coach for Rowperfect UK