First let me say Happy Belated Father's Day to all the dads out there hope the sunday was filled with laughter, some sun, and a whole lot of bbq. Wow!!! What a crazy start to this week! I feel like I haven't had a chance to really catch my breath until this morning and even then I am squeezing this writing in between waking up and heading off to get in one client at the local big box gym before starting my afternoon and evening clients.
Most of the craziness is really my own fault. I didn't schedule my availability for my emergency room position well this month so the previous weekend I worked three overnight shifts on friday, saturday, and sunday in addition to having a family birthday party on saturday morning and father's day get togethers on sunday. To say the least I was literally up for most of the 72 hour period that was this past weekend.
Don't get me wrong I am thankful for having the opportunity to earn money and be able to support myself and my lady, but I would much rather not have to purposefully sleep deprive myself to do so [if I could only get a few online clients. . .hint hint ; )]. Though as I have been reading a lot about stoicism I really tried to turn the experience into an opportunity. The opportunities I saw in this hellish 72 hour period were as follow: I get to experience sleep deprivation first hand on a small scale, I got to evaluate how I function under a condition of sleeplessness, and I got to experience the effects sleep deprivation have on global health.
And let me save you some misery and tell you that I one hundred percent believe that sleep deprivation is the single most worst thing you can possibly due for you health next to smoking. I still feel as if I am recovering from the ordeal. I still worked the past two days, but once I got home the only thing I felt like doing was vegging out with a cup of coffee. It's been a bit of a rough patch for me, but I am hoping to day is better. I feel better today that is for sure and am semi looking forward to crushing some big weights in the squat rack today (seriously who is ever really, truly excited to squat?).
Anyhow please take my advice don't purposefully sleep deprive yourself on a regular basis and if you are someone who is in a profession that requires this sacrifice I highly recommend doing some hustling and attempting to get out of a position where this is required. Unless you have the discipline to alter your life style and completely switch to an awake at night and asleep during the day routine, but to be honest what I have found is that most of us suck at this. What ends up happening is we attempt to work at night, live during the day, and attempt to sleep when we have a couple hours of down time. I understand making such a sacrifice on an interim basis, but don't make sleep deprivation a way of life it just is not practical, purposeful, or effective in most cases
Okay now I am done crying out my sleep deprived state and ranting against over night work and will get to what you are actually interested in: three great posts to keep you busy while you pretend to work at work. This week's group includes more about my autobiography, Man of Steel, the core activation continuum, and a nerd report from Chris Beardsley investigating muscle changes after strength training.
I really liked this post for two reasons. First it talks more about the recent release of the most incredible Superman movie produced to date, Man of Steel, which I shared my incredibly large man crush on here. Second because it does a great job of getting real with people about their expectations. It seems every time a new celebrity pops up on the scene who is bigger and more defined then the next every man in America gets jazzed up to hit the gym in an effort to become a clone of that particular celebrity. Yet these efforts continually fail and the honest truth to the answer of why these efforts don't succeed is for the shear fact that you are not that celebrity and you do not lead the same life they do.
2. Tensing, Bracing, and Stiffening: The Core Contraction Continuum by Dean Somerset
I have never really addressed bracing or stiffening a whole lot although I cue my clients on this a lot while lifting, but now I won't have to as Dean Somerset has written this kickass post placing the activation level of the abdominal muscles on a continuum. And if you need to know anything about me is that I love continuums I think they are a perfect way of representing many topics related to many fields. This post will help you to understand that bracing, stiffening, and tensing are in and of themselves an island they each lend themselves to a particular task better than the other. Again we always return to that idea that everything is a tool in our toolbox. The easy part is acquiring the tool. The hard part is learning when and why we should use that particular tool for a particular job.
I'll have to say since signing up for Chris Beardsley and Bret Contreras' monthly research review service I have become more of a research junky then I previously was. It has really helped me to become more comfortable with scientific writing and being able to interpret what is being said. I mean incredibly I actually can read through an entire monthly issue of the ACSM's Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise research journal without feeling completely lost.
Anyways this is why anytime Chris Beardsley posts a blog I like to share it with people because honestly everyone could stand to be a bit more up to date on the research and Chris makes it so easy to understand a paper that would otherwise be nothing more than an unreadable document written in a dead language to most of us. Personally, my favorite practice is to obtain a copy of the study being reviewed, read through it, then read Chris's interpretation and review, and finally read the study again. You will be surprised at just how much more comprehension and retention you get out of it. Oh and I apologize if you don't have access to the studies I know I am at a slight advantage being a university student because I am able to access most of the journals via the library.
Hope everyone enjoys this week's list! Sorry about getting it out later in the week than usual! And get some sleep!
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training