Friday, December 31, 2010

We Can Do It - The House Hold Objects of Health

The best part of a hotel room for working out - at least my favorite item? The ottoman.  Yes the humble foot rest. Why? Leg work; butt work and DOMS to go.

pistol about mid way down
To be more particular, i'm talking the ottoman meets the single leg squat, aka the pistol. The pistol move is where one puts out one leg in front and - in the complete move - drops down to a full squat and stands back up again. This is an awesome move. But unless one is steve cotter, doing 50 of these may be a bit of a stretch.

Enter the ottoman. It makes pistols accessible, practicable and fun. Here's how. One can sit down with the leg extended, butt right to the middle of the ottoman and rest, and then stand up on the one leg. One can also just use the edge of the ottoman to touch down as lightly as possible - using it more as a safety stop than a rest - and come back up again.

As for set styles, one can do right leg then left leg for say ten total in a set. Or five and five (or two and two).  Rest and repeat.

Full butt on seat - but can go
just to the edge, too
A lovely Move. There are some really nice bits to this movement: knowing that the ottoman is there to limit the range of motion and to act as a catch enables one to practice control of the descent - we can work on going super slow or faster. We can go down with both feet on the ground. Sit, and come up on one leg.

Butt and Quads A very nice thing about this move is that the position works the butt and the quads in particular - but it also hits the all important core to keep oneself steady while moving down and then up.

Next couple posts we'll look at How the ottoman pistol works those muscle groups. In the meantime, to all those hotel warriors out there, happy new year's eve, and let me know if you give this move a go.

Follow up, Part 1: how the thighs (quads) work in the pistol.
Follow up, part 2: how the glutes (butt) work in the pistol
Follow up part 3: how the ankles work in the pistol

best for 2011.


if you'd like to learn more about the Pistol, lots of great places:
- beast skills site
- Pavel Tsatsouline's The Naked Warrior
- Steve Cotter's Mastering the Pistol

Friday, December 24, 2010

When Free really means "trade ya; won't tell ya"

At this festive season, we know marketing tries to hit new heights to entice sales. There's one technique that has begun to grate. It's the promise of "free" that doesn't really mean free. Has this happened to you? You're sent a link to something that sounds super helpful; it claims to be free, but then here's what happens:

first step: - an email address is requested Hmm.  Why do i need to provide this email address? We are now moving out of the world of free and engaging in an exchange, are we not?

Second step: confirmation. It turns out giving an any email address is not sufficient - i must confirm the email address by clicking a magic link in an email, and then a link to the promised free material will be provided.
Why not just give me the "free" link?
Ah! there's something tied to the email address - a desire to use it?

Third step: mailing list . finally becomes apparent when the link is sent that one is really subscribing to an email list to get more mailings and "offers" from this person.

Is this exchange actually as promised, free? Well, no, it's not: it's a trade. The currency is my email address and willingness to be on an email list before i get the goods.

Of course (presumably)  i can "unsubscribe" from the list, but these terms aren't shared because we're not actually told that we're signing up for an email list. but have you tried to do this with any companies whose mailing lists you seem to be on? Some lists seem never to want to let go despite how much time one takes to go through the process.

But i stray from the point. What gals me is that FREE doesn't mean free. When i go to the store and am offered a "free" sample, it's given to me as an actually FREE sample - no strings attached. When i go to someone's web site, and i get information, that's FREE - no strings attached.  That's free.

What most of these mailings are about is not free, but is about a trade: my email (and subscription) in exchange for the item. My time to conclude this exchange for the item.

What also bugs me is the lack of transparency in these exchanges: the page that claims FREE STUFF does not say " once i get your email, you can have this thing." That's only a state one infers many clicks in that one finds out what's going on, and sometimes not until the mail starts pouring in after the fact.  And so how evaluate if this exchange (not free give away) is fair value? is worth the price?

There are alternatives. Why not simply make it clear that the vendors are keen to trade what they have on offer in exchange for a confirmed email address & free subscription to said vendor's mailing list? That seems both more honest and more engaging? The terms and conditions as it were?

Isn't this what reputable businesses do? I was fascinated recently by an "affiliate marketing" product (and yup this is an affiliate link) recently that went through long pages of detail about what's in the product, how it works and also went into human-readable detail about what this product would NOT do -  so that if you still wanted to get the product after that - fair warning. That was amazing.

Aside. Indeed, if you're interested in marketing at all - as a discipline and a demonstration of psychology and have some time, i'd encourage you just to move through this thing - it's Dan Brock's Super Deadbeat affiliate how to program/course thing 

All i can tell you right now is that i've bought it; i'm fascinated by the material and presentation, and look forward to some time in the first quarter of the new year to have a go with it. It's not free BUT i got as said more than enough information from the overview to make a decision about spending 29 bucks on the potential to get a return on that investment and maybe a bit more.

I can also say that from a brief look through the actual course/material, just as the warnings for the product claim, while the couase makes the steps easy to follow, it does take some attention to detail to have a good go. One may only spend an hour in the office with this, but it's going ot be a *very focused hour*
Ok, that's a for sale example. Another example of free stuff has got to be Brad Pilon's site on Eat Stop Eat - lots of value in the information posts about eating and working out. And yes, Pilon has stuff to sell, but you can get a ton from the web site. I'm happy to buy his stuff as a sign of gratitude for all the free stuff.

I go on and on about precision nutrition: it's 40 page overview book IS free: click the link. Ta da. download. Do they still sell product? Yes.

Now, i'm not going to blame these folks for bait and switch who use the term Free when they mean Trade. THere's a ton of marketing guidance that seems to suggest that this is exactly the way to sell stuff online. Promise FREE as a way to get a name on a mailing list, and build clients from there.  It seems that's become so common, we may even no longer expect "free" to mean "free" - it's more like "free, wink wink nudge nudge"

Me, all i'm saying is that that's not what Free means, and i'm sick of it. And perhaps folks who think they do well with their fake free may even do better with real trade. And wouldn't that be a wonderful gift for the holiday season.

All the best,

Related Links

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Drinkulator: fast liver risk test for alcohol consumption this festive season.

Did you know that our solid organs don't have pain sensors? So our liver and kidneys in particular can't tell us they're in distress in the same way a strained shoulder can. No direct pain cry. This lack of direct pain signalling is part of why we often don't catch liver and kidney diseases at an effectively early stage, unless they're caught indirectly.

One of the indirect ways to check our liver function is related to drinking. How's your drinking level liver health? Turns out this correlates rather strongly to liver disease risk - a surprisingly high killer - the only one going up still year on year (at least in britain)

Whether it's an evening tipple or a weekend head banger, alcohol does different things to us at different times and at different ages (one advantage to aging apparently is alcohol tolerance changing. Yes, up).

But there's also a lot of variables around what affects risks around alcohol consumption vs. tolerances. If we're not testing we're guessing. Would a liver check be a good idea? How would you know?

The great thing is, it's pretty straight ahead to check potential risk to see if you or a loved one may need to get a particular check.

Here's a fast and easy approach to a liver alcohol check colleagues over in Medicine developed that uses a simple traffic light evaluation: red get thee to your doctor; amber something to think about; green for good. It's called the Drinkulator. See where you're at. You may be happily surprised. It may also be another health link, too, to share with your pals this festive season.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fat don't make us fat - surprise, eh?

Do you see ads saying "fat free" or "fat reduced"? or read articles saying that fat is bad, especially if trying to lose weight?   Me too. Thing is, such approaches are sort of a misleading. Main thing: eating fat doesn't make us fat; indeed fat is essential to our health. Indeed, a blend of different types of fats is critical. And, believe it or not, that blend of fats helps us burn our stored fat better. This post is meant as a quick overview of these points. Later we'll look at some strategies to make fat work better for us.

First things first: what's losing weight, anyway?
First up: when we talk about "losing weight" what most of us really want is to reduce the amount of stored fat - adipose tissue - we have. That's what it means to get lean: increase the ratio of lean tissue (muscle, bone - everything not fat) to fat.

When ads for weight loss programs talk about losing four pounds or more in one week, they are NOT talking about fat loss. They are usually talking about water. If we go on a diet that suddenly cuts out all our bread and pasta and rice - stuff that holds water - we'll drop weight pretty fast by dropping that water. Not the same as burning fat. It's harder to burn off excess fat than it is to drop water weight.  So let's stick with burning fat.

We'll look at why we call it "burning" another time, but it's about oxidizing, converting to fuel in the prescence of oxygen - as opposed to without oxygen, aerobic vs anaerobic.

Second, to lose weight, we have to take in less fuel than we use. Most of us get that food is fuel for the body. Everything we do - even thinking - takes energy. Energy requires fuel. We're designed to convert food into fuel for various processes, from, like said, thinking (electrical impulses in the brain), to digestion, to creating new tissue, to pumping our hearts, to moving our bodies.

IF we don't get enough fuel from food to run these processes, the body starts to cannibalise itself to get that energy. Generally speaking, it takes that fuel from stored fat (good), but under various conditions it will take it from muscle and other tissue like bone - even in the presence of fat - and that's not good.

Third, and this one relates to eating fat doesn't make us fat: we can really eat anything we want and lose weight. We could eat only butter and sugar and as long as we were in caloric deficit, we'd lose weight. We might feel like crap, because we wouldn't be getting the stuff we need like vitamins minerals protein etc from just eating butter and sugar, but we could do that as long as we're in caloric deficit.

What's caloric deficit? The energy it takes to burn food is measured in calories. We usually see these measures as kcals (a thousand calories). When we talk about dieting to lose weight, we  are really saying that calories in must be fewer than calories out. This is one of the laws of thermodynamics.
 When we are in caloric deficit, that means that we are not providing enough calories from our food to fuel our energy requirements that day.

Effect of Caloric Deficit.  When we don't take in enough calories to meet our energy requirements, the body starts that self-cannibalisation process. If the caloric deficit is not too great (above 60% of its requirements), the body will usually take that fuel from stored fat.

A The main thing to think of in losing weight is that we want to be in caloric deficit. Caloric deficit is achieved by nutrition/diet first and foremost and is assisted by exercise.

The main take away here, though, is that caloric deficit is not the same thing as saying "kill fat" from our diet. That would be bad. That's the next point.

Second, Fat is ESSENTIAL to every part of us. Fat is fantastic. Fat is fabulous. We need it to live. It's essential. It's everywhere in our bodies and it's wonderful. Love and respect the fat, as i've said here before. It is an AWESOMELY wonderful insulator, source of energy, protector of our cells. Our body can when needed fabricate fat into a variety of forms of fuel that different parts of our body need for energy that we usually get from different food stuffs. It's super versatile. This versatility is a big part of b2d friend Mike T Nelson's PhD work, and is properly described as "metabolic flexibility."

Types of Fat in Food. So now that we know fat is a good, important and essential thing, the other really really important thing about fat in food is that there are different types of fat, and these different types of fat are critical for different processes in the body.

We've all likely heard now about Omega 3's and Omega 6's. Well, turns out that we need a balance of these types of fats. They are *essential* - meaning we need them and the body can't synthesize them (unlike omega 9's which it can - from 3's and 6's).

Why essential? Fat types are really critical (i'm using really alot aren't i? that's because of how important stuff is) for inflammation. When we get hurt, we really really want our body to send Good Stuff to the injury to help protect it and to help it heal. That's a big job with Omega 6's - stuff we get from the main types of fats in meats. But also, we want inflammation to clear out effectively when its job is done, not keep going "eek, danger will robinson" - that's where Omega 3's come in as discussed in detail with RD Georgie Fear here at b2d. Main thing where we see omega 3's is they help reduce inflammation.

Balance 2:1 of the essentials.
With essential fats - the omega 3's and 6's - what we're striving to achieve in our diet is a 2:1 ratio of omega 6's to omega 3's. Western diets are anywhere typically from 6:1 to 20:1.  In other words, the goal is to significantly up the amount of 3's and cut the 6's. Getting to this ratio usually means two things: (1) reducing meat intake down from a couple times a day to a couple times a week (2) increasing veggies (especially greens like spinach and brocoli) and legumes to more like each meal, and supplementing with something like algae oil or fish oil.

Aside: Other ways to describe fats: saturated or unsaturated fats
A popular way to describe fats is also weirdly chemical: saturated, mono unsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans fats. Such descriptions have to do with the state of hydrogen present or not to go along with their mainly carbon structures. So what? one might say.  Indeed. Two quick notes on how to id these types of fats: naturally saturated fats go solid, like butter and animal fat (lard). Unsaturated fats stay liquid (more here at wisegeek). The fear of too much saturated fat in the diet is that it happily clomps up with itself, and doing this in the blood stream is not a good idea. Unsaturated fats have less tendency this way. Unsaturated fats for example are veggie oils.

The so called evil trans fats are where plant oils have hydrogen forced into them to make them solidify. So they have the effect of a saturated fat while being as cheap as plant oils. If you're thinking er, does that mean margarine is a transfat? you'd be right. It's a really cruddy transfat too because unless stated otherwise, the source of the original oil can be pretty poor.
The important thing about a mix of fat types - saturated and unsaturated - is sorta close to omega types: it's not about cutting them out (though trans fats are rather evil because they're often not real foods but largely crap); it's getting the ratio right. We could get into a whole conversation about cholesterol and HDL and LDL (why most folks pillory saturated fats)- there, too, it's about ratios - not that LDL is bad and HDL is good. Again, as with omega's, the guidance is kinda the same: eat less meat/dairy; up the plants and fish or algae. Please note i have not said saturated fats are evil. Best evidence seems to suggest best path is about ratios. About - surprise surprise - balance.
Update on transfats: talking with an expert clinician in obesity about transfats today, he made the point that the UK really doesn't technically have transfats having worked with industry and govn't to keep them out. We still have hydrogenated fats - like margarine - but the molecules are not technically what constitute a trans fat. I'm still not sure i grok the difference, and it may be a fairly nice distinction. I asked, but whatever, at best, that still creates these hydrogen-forced fats to behave like saturated fats, yes? The answer was yes. So, again, we want to reduce these in our diet in order to get the omega ratios into 2:1 harmony. He also said that in the view of himself and many colleagues that most dietary fat should come from monounsaturated sources once omega 3 ratios to 6's were fixed. Monounsaturated fats are nuts and seeds and plant oils and avacados. So again, less meat/dairy; more plants.
Fat as Fuel On the plus side as well, fat is our main fuel source. Just to breath - every breath we take - we're using up fat. When we're sleeping, we're burning fat.  When we're working up to a pretty high heart rate, in other words when exercising, we're burning fat.  When we're typing, we're mainly burning fat. Without fat to burn, and in the absence of food, we'd be burning up stuff we don't want to burn - like muscle and bone. 

Fat as Fat Burner There is even work to show that the ingestion of certain kinds of fats - like omega 3's in fish oil or fats like CLA's found in beef - actually help mobilize our stored (adipose) fat so they can be burned off more readily.

Fat as Replacement Fuel Likewise there are entire diet approaches - known alterternately as either protein sparing or ketogenic - that get the body to burn fat for what the body usually requires from carbohydrates. Now that's not a lot, really, but it's something. And when already in caloric deficit, it can be a *short term* kick start for fat burning in a decent diet. Not great necessarily forever, since we do prefer different nutrients for different jobs our bod does, for instance, like preferring carbs for exercise. We'll go into why another time.

So given this wonderfulness, why does fat have this bad rap as the nutrient to kill? Why does the government and the various process food producers get that fat free is a big diet win? Perhaps the former is ill informed and the latter is evil? Let's take a quick look, and you decide.

Some Food Energy Facts - Many diet approaches are focused initially on counting calories. Or more properly, trying to count calories, since calories assigned to foods are notoriously inaccurate. It also forgets about the roles of this nutrient. When folks focus exclusively on calories and they want to cut calories,  though, fat looks like an awesome candidate to cull: fat has "more calories" than anything else. Anything else what?

We're pretty familiar with the notion that there are three big groups of foods: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Of these, yes, fat, has the highest caloric density of any other food nutrient. What does that mean? If we put the same weight of these types of material on a scale - if we could get just pure fat, pure carbs, and pure protein, for that same weight, fat would produce more energy. In fact pretty much double the other nutrients
  • In one gram of carbs, 4kcals; 
  • one gram of protein, 4kclas, 
  • one gram of alcohol, 5kcals and 
  • one gram of fat, 9kcals. 
What do we mean by more energy? It takes more energy in what's called a bomb calorimeter to burn up all the fat than anything else.  Just looking at the numbers, sure makes fat look heavy duty: more than double the calories of carbs or protein. That must be bad then right?

Well, yes and no, really. And mostly no. Remember that caloric deficit is the big win for fat loss. Similarly, if we are in the opposite state, caloric surplus, we gain weight. Any material we ingest that doesn't get used for tissue building or related, or wasted as not usable once the useful stuff is removed - that stuff gets repackaged into fat storage.

Too Much of a Good Thing - or Anything
In other words ANY excess nutrient will be converted into fat as our potential energy store, whether that nutrient is carb, protein or fat.

From a real transformation post
And really, in our diets the biggest thing most of us do to excess is not fat, but processed foods like breads, pasta, pizza, stuff with sugar in it. These kinds of foods are nutrient light and calorically dense - high cal; low nutrient value.  I did a piece awhile ago about how important protein is, for instance, because while fat is the wrapper for most of the squishy stuff in our body, protein is often what that fat is covering. There's no protein in coke. There's also no fat. But one can get quite fat from od'ing on coke-a-cola. Calorically dense; nutritionally light. Bad combo.

So to sum up:
  • fat doesn't make us fat; caloric surplus makes us fat
  • fat is essential for our survival
  • no whole food based real fat is evil; it's the ratios of fat types that are important (eat less meat more plants and algae oil/fish oil)
  • transfat is an abomination - or at least a horrible adulteration of real nutrient rich fats
  • eat less of everything, but mostly reduce meats up plants. 
    Oh - quick note - if you see something like yogurt or mayonaise claiming to be fat free, check what else has been put into it to give it texture. Sometimes the list is downright gross.

      A note on complexity. Others argue differently than the suggested less meat/more plants and algae/fish oils as i've put it above. Some folks do suggest why not just up your saturated fats? And that's ok to explore for sure - but here's the thing - as some of you know who read b2d, i'm not a single factor person. I've said over and over we're complex systems, and complex systems require responses that are sensitive to complexity.  This post is introductory; not definitive, and the evidence on how to support complexity is getting better and more subtle all the time.
    In this space, i've become a fan of late of TEST OURSELVES - and so have ordered a HUGE blood/chemistry workup from Bioletics so i can check what's working for me - or what needs tuning, including my essential fatty acids.  I'll come back to that in the new year.  The goal here, tho, is to expose what's know about simple facts of fat as per the breakdown above, and hope you can put that information to good use - even if that means using is just as a stepping off point to ask more questions. Best on your journey.

    And All the best on this holiday feasting season. Love the fat.

    Related Link

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Improving the Squat: Reduce the threat (squat position part 2)

    Yesterday i just asked about how folks were doing with their squat position - just getting into and achieving a squat. The posts at facebook and here suggested that most folks of a healthy bent kinda think of the squat as the Big Squat - going up and down - rather than just sitting in a squat position. That's ok. The same principles apply. But right now, just being happy in a bodyweight squat position is a first start especially for folks just approaching health and fitness anew. So in this post we're gonna look at one of the higher order ways to approach a better squat: reduce the threat.

    And please, once again, let me invite comments from readers to speak about your own squatting-as-sitting experience (or related squat efforts) to help shape this mini series.

    Reduce Threat; enable movement
    The story goes that the reason a lot of us are challenged with our squat is that we spend too much time sitting and this does all sorts of things to our tendons from tightening them to shortening them to weakening them.

    Any of that may be true. But then again, maybe not. Hard to say, really *why* something happens in the body, as in really, is a muscle physiologically shorter than it needs to be to achieve this position? Or is it fine, it's just tense? or weak? or something else?

    One of the things we talk about in nervous system work in z-health in particular is that the nervous system is designed to respond to one state: threat/no threat. If there's threat, we get survival mode responses which means performance for anything not related to survival gets shut down. Less threat; better performance.

    Let's think about this for a sec with respect to the squat if it's a challenge.

    Strength: The squat requires a certain amount of strength to let us get down under control and back up under control. If our nervous system is wired for our survival, and it has some doubt about our capacity to get back up from being down, why would it let us get into a self-compromised position?

    Mobility: the squat requires a certain amount of flexibility around the joints: the ankles, knees, hips, pelvis all have to be able to move in a rather coordinated way. Note i said mobility, not stability and not flexibility - more on these distinctions here.

    Balance: when a bunch of joints are moving together that requires some balance work to be involved. Balance, maintaining it, is a constant dance between proprioception (where we are in space and how fast a limb is moving), vestibular information - that inner ear organ set that's telling the body if it's upright and how to correct to stay upright - and vision. Vision is our biggest input to the nervous system to keep us oriented against gravity. There are a ton of reflexes just in the back of the neck related to the eyes to keep us upright (wild, isn't it?). So the eyes and the inner ear are working together like mad all the time, along with info from nerves around the muscles and joints to coordinate where we are.  Balance is a big deal

    Familiarity: The squat may be a natural movement, but if we haven't been doing it since we were little, then, it's a lot to expect that it's going to still feel natural - as opposed to uncomfortable. We're plastic people - every part of us from our skin to our brains adapts to what we do regularly. And if squatting isn't part of our movement, then that adaptation will not be a big deal for our brains. It needs to be reintroduced as a skill - just like any other skill.

    And just like any other skill, if we try to do it and we don't feel super comfortable, that action itself can induce stress - which again privileges survival not performance; protection not openness. If we start breathing more shallowly as we descend into the squat, that's not a great thing for telling our bod we feel safe and happy doing this movement.

    Challenge anywhere affects everywhere: arthrokinetic reflex
    We've seen this before at b2d - how a joint jammed somewhere can affect performance elsewhere - we saw how cranking the head back so the neck joints were squished resulted in a weaker hamstring test, and as soon as the neck went to a neutral position, the hamstrings tested stronger again. There a physiological challenge at one point in the body which compromises performance affected performance elsewhere in the body.

    Given the above list of just four issues that feed into a large movement like the squat, i hope it's possible to see how a challenged squat may have more than any one single factor feeding into it.
    In other words, if there's a bit of a challenge in our ankles or pelvis mobility, if there's a bit of weakness in our thighs, or if we haven't been doing squats in a long time, or if perhaps we may have even a slight vision or balance issue, maybe that big drop down to the ground is going to be perceived by our nervous system as a threat - and for our own protection we're just not going to go there.

    Dialing in Threat Reduction - one system at a time
    The job of a movement assessment is to check in on these factors - have actual tests for them - and be able provide ways to deal with these factors quickly. That's an option i like cuz it's personal, fast and efficient. (Why i'm having a holiday sale for online assessments, too: see link upper right corner of page)

    But since we're not looking at each other face to face right now, let's take this one step at a time.

    Preflight Check: how's your squat right now?
    • By all means, check how far you can go down to sitting into a squat. 
    With that check in mind, let's try a few light drills and recheck

    Proprioceptive Assist:
    •  if you have shoes and socks on, if you can take them off, by all means, do. 
    • rock back and forth on your bare feet. bounce on the heels a bit. roll up to the toes if that feels safe. do this a few times.
    • bend over on your ankle - stay standing up straight while you do this - grab a table or chair if that helps you feel more upright - little movements is all you're looking for here while keeping your body nice and tall and relaxed. 
    • breath in, pause, breath out for longer than you breathed in - go for twice as long out if you can staying relaxed.
    • now, try your squat again and see if either you got deeper or it felt smoother
    • let me know in the comments
    Balance/Proprioceptive/Strength Assist
    Whether you need to do this next one or not, please try it to have the comparison.
    • After doing the above drills and re-test of your squat, 
    • find a door way with edges you can hang onto or a pole you can hang onto or a bannister and now letting your body feel that you're taking some of the load with your arms (that's important),
    • breath in, pause, breath out slowly
    • let yourself down into the squat, and come back up.
    • only go to where you feel comfy going - this is all to be stress free.
    • did you get any deeper? did that feel any easier?
    • let me know, please, here in the comments.
    Visual Support: near far jumps
    Vision is a mental process. It's cognitive. We have to take in info from a lens in our eye and blend it with info from the other eye, flip it so it's upside right and then interpret what the heck it means. That's work. Practicing vision, and so reducing the load, can often open up performance.
    Near Far Jumps. Here's a quicky exercise i've written about before with a zhealth video called near far jumps, of focusing close then switching focus to look far - so the eyes have to work at re-focusing and doing that as fast as possible.
    Eye Position. Another one? look down while going down; up while going up. Eye position triggers those postural reflexes that helps movement.
    Try that, and retry your squat. Let me know
    Results? Individual
    That's a really itty bitty bunch of stuff to try, isn't it? The thing is, if our bods are perceiving threat, sometimes that's all it takes: a little thing to us can be a big thing to the nervous system to help it move out of survival "must protect" mode, and letting us take the breaks off.

    If any of the above helped a bit, or better than a bit, that's great. You might also find that one thing helped and another thing may have seemingly made the squat worse - that's all valuable information.

    None of the above is getting into strength or flexibility particularly - it's getting into opening up some nervous system channels to help reduce threat perception to the body.  This experience of getting further or feeling smoother, or for that matter something feeling worse, i hope, shows that there's a lot going on perceptually within us, and that we respond very quickly to information shifts in that system.

    This rapid response to shifting stimulus also shows us why we need to test something right away so see what affect it's having because the effect IS so immediate.

    If none of these drills seemed to  help, that's information too, and i'd like to hear from you about what you noticed or didn't notice after either any of these drills individually or putting them together.  That suggests that there's something else we haven't hit on yet that may be keeping your body from feeling safe to take the next step.

    Complex Systems. To state the obvious, the variety of responses to these protocols also shows that we're really individual. What flips the switch for one person - even someone who seems so similar to another person - may be entirely different for that other person. We are COMPLEX systems - tons and tons of things are intertwining. It's this complexity that keeps me from saying "if you can't squat you just need to do X and you'll be fine" - if i hear someone say "just stretch" one more time, well, i'll get over it. Never mind me.

    Ok, that's it for today.

    I hope to hear from you - or your questions - so in the next couple days we can move towards a path for YOU that will help your squat. Love yourself today as you practice.


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