Float Away

Whether it’s physical feats through sport/activity, the grind at work, or pressure at home, it’s hard to turn OFF. Our frenetic identities of “living” today, are a multichotomy, to say the least.

What are you doing to wind down, relax, let go, take respite? What are you doing to recover from hard workouts, difficult weeks, and life stresses?

Some of you may or may not have found your gateway to ease (i.e. deep breathing, walk in nature, ocean swim, meditating, yoga, massage, stretching, etc.). Here’s something else you can try!

I recently went to “Life Spring Float Tank Centre” in Cockburn. Watch my video above to see the float pod and set up in a private room.

To be honest, I initially looked at floating as a ‘placebo’. Whatever it is that you like, want or feel the need to do-> THAT will help you! Back to floating… after reading many articles dispersed over the last 50 years I was schooled and intrigued.

Generally speaking here, from a few standpoints (there are more):

Physiology- ↓ heart rate, ↓ blood pressure

Neuropsychology- ↑ production of alpha & theta waves and ↓ production of beta & gamma waves

Pain- ↓ chronic pain

Recovery- ↑ musculoskeletal recovery

So what? Well, it has helped thousands of people with anxiety, PTSD, addictions (smoking, alcohol), fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, psychosomatic illnesses, and athletic recovery.

Most studies work with the R.E.S.T. {Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique/Therapy} principle/theory which ties in perfectly with reasons why people would want to try a Float in the first place. You have a private room, private pod, no sound, no vibration, essentially no stimulation. It’s just your naked self in the water.

Now, if you are an A.I.R. head that might be a challenge. A head that has the “Anxiety Induced Relaxation” attached to it, going to a million thoughts a minute upon ‘trying to relax’. You might want to pretend it’s a game and do exercises in the water to help you get in the mood of chilling. There is plenty of room in the pod to stretch, do yoga, squat, etc. You don’t HAVE to close your eyes and sleep the whole time. I, myself, did 30 minutes of stretching. It’s your 30 minutes (or 1 hour) of time. Do as you please!

We are all bombarded with hyper stimulation today, producing way too much cortisol, creating a cataclysmic effect on all the systems in our body. Everyone knows stress generates inflammation. Small amounts of inflammation that the body can flush out are fine… but heightened, prolonged tsunamis of inflammation will not go unnoticed. How the inflammation manifests itself is entirely individual. How are you switching off today? Why not try a float! It might be what you need.

What to eat? What to supplement? ACK!!!!

I do not consult on nutrition nor do I talk about supplements; even though I took several courses in University, continuing education as an exercise physiologist and was a nutrition researcher at the Institute of Population Health. I spent an entire year researching chronic disease [i.e. type 2 diabetes] relating to culture, country, age, gender, and race associated with nutrition. Bringing it down to the nuts and bolts the results were clear~ drum roll please~~~ people who ate more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis were healthier and less likely to acquire chronic disease. Sounds familiar? Sounds simplistic? Yes; yet, it is true! No amount of foreign/human-made products you put in your body will all of a sudden make you healthier. Absolutely, if you are sick and need help… if you live somewhere impossible to find fresh produce, absolutely… there are exceptions to the rules all the time. However, if you eat like crap and take supplements what do you think will happen in your body? It is like the analogy of sitting at your desk all day and exercising for just one hour. Extensive, world wide research has shown: your daily (one hour) dose of exercise will NOT reverse the side effects of inactivity/lack of movement all day in your body. Hence, your risk of cardiovascular disease, chronic disease, obesity, cancer and death {just to name a few} will increase significantly…. Well, the same applies to your nutrition.

How much fresh produce do you have on a daily basis? Count up those fruits and veggies. If you are eating a certain way and don’t believe fruit is that good for you because of ‘sugar’ then how many veggies do you have a day? And, I’m not talking about all the extra calories from protein, fats or extra carbs, I am simply talking about your F and V = living foods. Try not to jam/juice/smoothie your way into one SHOT a day of your FV. Do your best to have it scattered throughout the day, just like your movement practice.

How many supplements do you take? Pills? Just curious. Now, I understand certain supplements/pills are required… let’s say it’s winter where you live and/or you just can’t get outside enough, and/or your cultural beliefs don’t allow you to show much skin to get those rays of sunshine allowing for production of vitamin D [your body converts ultra violet rays into vitamin D3]. Yes, in this case, a vitamin D supplement can be recommended to you! There are situations like these that have drastic implications on your health if you can’t consume a certain vitamin or mineral through food. I get it!

Our bodies don’t create all the vitamins and minerals needed for our health. A balanced food nutrition plan is needed. I understand that taking a pill is a whole lot easier than eating food from all the colours of the rainbow but that’s exactly what our problem is today. We rely on foreign objects for consumption and for movement! This is all to do with technology and human made products. Our cars, computers, phones, exercise machines, pills and supplements are essential to our daily lives!!! Quite fascinating really… when less than a century ago life was vastly different.

The MORE information we have today….. the LESS informed we actually are about our bodies and our health. Yes, health, fitness and wellness marketing has made us unhealthier and more dependent on “so called experts” than ever before. We need to take a stand! Some simple ways in doing this are eating more fruits and vegetables, moving more all day everyday and taking responsibility for our health in the first place. When we rely on others we tend to BLAME others. Blame is the most ineffective way to health. Blame is discharging anger, discomfort and pain. That is IT. It also happens to be inversely correlated to accountability [Blame research from Brene Brown]. Every one of us needs to accept ownership and responsibility for our bodies. Just a guess here… no one else lives in your body, do they?

My favourite is, as a society, we have this single study complex syndrome. What do I mean? Here’s one example (of a kazillion!): Beet juice increases endurance in athletes. OMgoodness people couldn’t get enough of beets, beet pills, beet everything for a few years! Chow down on the beets athletes!!!! The funny thing with initial research is just that: It’s Initial! What exactly constitutes beet juice? How much? How often? What is the definition of endurance? What sport? What type of athletes? What country/gender/race/age? Listen: the list is endless when it comes to the validity and reliability of research. The point here is that, in the end, systematic reviews of the research on “beet juice” and “endurance in athletes” proved to be insignificant. Yes, beet juice does not increase endurance in athletes. Sorry 🙁 We can’t jump on the band wagon of new research, new pills, new supplements. That’s not how it works. It takes time.

WELL!!! What can I do?

1. Eat all the colours of the rainbow (if not daily, can you do it weekly?). Yes, dependent on accessibility, availability and affordability. Do the best you can. Variety is the spice of life.

2. Move baby move! Movement is just as important a nutrient as micro and macronutrients in our diet. Lack of movement creates just as much, or more, dis-ease in our bodies than nutrition.

3. Accountability: If you know almonds are better than a chocolate bar, what is your choice? Be accountable for your actions.

4. You need supplements? Okay. Visit www.consumerlab.com. It is the BEST resource when it comes to supplements. It lists products from all over the world and tells you point blank what is good/valid/reliable and what is not! It does cost money. $36/year OR $59/2 years. Hey! If you are going to spend a boatload on supplements this isn’t that expensive. I’ll warn you though, if your supplement is new [within the past few years] the research will not be out. Consumerlabs is ridiculously thorough! Longitudinal studies (as well as cross-sectional, double blind, meta-analysis evidence based, etc) are imperative to provide effectiveness on the pills/supplements. SO= In light of this information, I would take heed of new products! You 100% do NOT know if they are good. Just because a study came out saying this is awesome Blah Blah BLAH. Take supplements that are shown to work (yes, it’s never going to be 100% effective because our bodies reactions, ability to absorb and utilize the supplements will always vary)! Be mindful of what you put into your body.

5. Do I need a nutritionist? That’s totally up to you. And, take everything with a grain of salt {just like this blog post!}. Take in the information you need and want, decide whether you will do an eating plan to a T or not. In the end it’s always up to you. It’s your body, your life. One year you might believe A, B, C, D… and then the next year you will believe M, N, O, P. It’s ALL fine. Really!!! Just be good to yourself. And keep on eating those fruits and veggies. [Now, obviously, if you are allergic to something or more serious, for example, you are a celiac, there are certain foods you can’t have. Period.]

6. Smile: Reducing your stress levels and increasing your dopamine and serotonin levels surely help in the “feeling good” process while you figure out this whole nutrition/supplement thing! One day at a time. All I want from you is: Enjoy e.v.e.r.y. single thing that goes into your mouth, your mind, your body. 🙂

Now, look into a mirror and say: “I love myself!” Come on!!!!! Seriously. I dare you. Laughing is just as powerful as smiling! Get those self-made fun-loving drugs working inside you! At least I made you giggle. Huh?!

Have a W O N D E R F U L day!!!!!!

What the BUTT?!

You just want to do your training program! Get that last lap, last jump, last mile, last rep, last paddle, last shot, last round, last practice. It’s important that you follow your workout/practice/training to a T. Must be consistent, must do what others are doing and more! You want to be the BEST, or at least improve= “Be the BEST for me!”

I can do it. I do not hurt. My foot is fine. My hip is fine. My shoulders are fine. My back is fine. Just one last thing to do. I will be fine.

A workout and training plan are NOT one size fits all, even if the workout is catered specifically to you! Every day, and every moment within the day will vary. There are so many factors dependent on your body, your training, your health.

If you are new to the sport, what’s wrong with finishing the workout early and for the remainder of the time doing corrective exercises, mobilizing or taking a walk to restore the body?

If you are a seasoned athlete, what’s wrong with finishing the workout early and for the remainder of the time doing corrective exercises, mobilizing or taking a walk to restore the body?

Notice how I said e.x.a.c.t.l.y the same thing for both cases? Yes, in both cases the athlete is repeatedly doing exercises that can potentially damage their bodies more than they need.

Let’s say for example:

Athlete: My butt hurts.

Friend: Then stop.

Athlete: No, I’m just going to finish my workout.

Friend: Really?

…The next day…

Friend: How’s your butt?

Athlete: It’s okay. I can push through it.

Friend: Really?

~ If your butt hurts and it has nothing to do with a physical trauma (i.e. getting hit by a car, falling off a bike, getting tackled) then you have an “overuse injury” caused by repetitive movements and caused by repetitive things you do on a daily basis to mess up your butt.

Athlete: Well, I’m just going to stretch my butt.

~ Stretching the butt alone is as good as putting a bandaid on your butt, liTeRaLLy. Your butt interacts with every part of your body [if your butt is off, everything above and below the butt will be out of balance/alignment]… how do you use your feet on a daily basis? how’s your foot position? how’s the shaft of your lower leg? how’s your femur alignment? how’s your stance? where’s your pelvis positioned? Go ahead, keep on stretching that butt! See how that works for you.

…One month later…

Athlete: Why does my butt still hurt?…. then sulks off home, frustrated, annoyed, pissed off, self-defeatist, angry…. Why can’t anyone help me?

~ Getting educated about whole body alignment, daily movements and habits are important steps to becoming a better athlete and a healthier person. Yes, it IS the harder approach in the short term; but, the best approach in the long term for your life long health and wellbeing.

So many athletes are lazy. Lazy. LaZy. Not in their workouts! I wouldn’t ever take that from some of the athletes I know (hard, Hard, HARD, H A R D C O R E). It’s every single thing they do outside their sport that makes them lazy. Now, some don’t know what they do or don’t do (fair enough) and so perhaps ignorance is more the word. And others: lazy would be an understatement. I’m not going to apologize or minimize this at all because I WAS one of them! It’s only until it’s too late that athletes wait to restore their bodies.

How can I help? I only help people who want to help themselves. It’s all about taking responsibility and ownership of your body step by step, day by day. It is a path, a life long path. And as I said before, it’s not the easy way at first…. but it is SO worth it and feels great in the long run. It’s like re-newing your body bottom to top.

Learning about your body through health instead of through pain is a challenging and wonderful experience. It’s completely different than racing to the finish line all guts no glory. I challenge you to learn one thing about your body today outside of your sport. How can I make my body feel better and work better?

Take responsibility for your body

I love moving! My entire life has revolved around physical activity and sport. It’s fun, challenging and keeps me out of trouble. As a person with common sense I know there is an inherent risk of injury when participating in such ventures… as there is risk in everything we do on a daily basis. All of us subconsciously assess risk 24/7 from walking across the street, changing lanes while driving, taking a step up the stairs, sipping a hot drink and of course while engaging in sport.

The past 15 years (and even more drastic, the past 5 years) I have noticed an extreme shift in who is to blame for accidents in sport/physical activity. I use the word blame because some participants [I am only taking about adults not youth in sport- that’s an entirely different set of rules] actually believe that they have no culpability in the act. What do I mean? Here’s a simple story:

Three weeks ago I injured myself jumping up and down from a 30’ inch box. I love box jumping because it’s easy for me and it is part of what I do in sport at this particular moment. I wasn’t paying attention for a split second and missed the box with my feet. In that instant, it just so happened my right shin hit the box instead. Oops! My mistake. It was an accident. Yes, an accident. I went to the hospital, got my stitches, took drugs for a few days and healed up nicely after a couple of weeks. It IS as simple as that.

A few days after my incident I was speaking to someone about my leg and she was horrified. She wanted to know if the gym paid for my hospital bills and gave me some sort of compensation. I laughed. I honestly could not believe the thought process. For those of you that are on a certain mindset that ‘blame everyone but yourself for your mistakes’ I am here to tell you TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your body. The box did not jump at me, I was not forced to do this workout, I am aware that anything I do takes a fundamental risk. No matter what you do in life, ultimately responsibility ends with you. When shit happens, LAUGH it off and move on… otherwise it will take a hold of you.

Me at the hospital before getting stitched up!