Thursday, August 31, 2017

MY TAKE ON LONGEVITY IN ENDURANCE-SPORTS (Anecdotally-Scientific) Part 2


Ironman 70.3 Philippines 2017: Thankfully, did not walk except between aid-stations
This concludes a two-part series of my tacit experiences and wisdom gleaned from racing in endurance sports for 14 years.
11) Stretch whenever you can, systematically would be best. However, in its absence a sports massage, or self-massage (with a trigger ball or roller) helps in promoting recovery. Learn to knead, jostle, press and pummel sore muscles.
12) Water-based activities like swimming or water-jogging, reduces undue impact from land-based activities like running. Use aquatic activities to release the body from gravity-based sports-induced stress. Also, cross-train by including other activities (swim, ride and run are examples).
13) I never had a major spate of injuries, save for one case of a hairline fracture on my toe (2 months NO running), mild plantar fasciitis, and being hit by a taxi while riding (beyond my control) where I sustained a cheek fracture in 2010. Staying injury-free means being disease-free. Move from dis-ease to ease!
14) Increase your intake of antioxidants, and choose those that suit your body (natural and packaged). Include tonics made from herbal remedies and concoctions. Bone-broth or soups are very useful.
15) Seek the help of physiotherapists, chiropractors, bodycare specialist, nutritionists, massage therapists, and the like - they help remind us to stay mobile, nimble and functional.
16) Include High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions, occasionally. 1-2 such sessions awakes the body to new-found activation and, perhaps, speed. Use strength-based , gym sessions to supplement your development of musculature.
17) Seek a coach to help you with plateaus and form/gait correction. Seek a coach if you wish to be competitive and improve on your personal best (PB) timings.
18) If you are racing, then train to race. You cannot work beyond your trained threshold of intensity.
19) Seek your motivation: If you train with a team, it has its inherent 'push and pull' factors. If you prefer the occasional solitude, then do your long sessions alone. If you are uncomfortable with toxic members, steer away from them. Mix with those who help you achieve your Best Version of Yourself.
20) It is a life-long journey towards personal excellence, so there is still much to learn, educate and glean from personal experience.

MY TAKE ON LONGEVITY IN ENDURANCE-SPORTS (Anecdotally-Scientific)

After being in the endurance game since 2002, I wanted to share my mild wisdom sustaining my performance over 4 competitive age-groups.
1) Have more than 6 hours of sleep each night. Get a comfortable mattress, curtains drawn, and away from electronic devices (if possible).
2) Skip a day of exercise, if you feel like it. It is, after all, an extreme sport. You need not be extreme about life, in general.
3) Nutrition is one of the keys to recovery: Eat sensibly, guided by what is healthy for you.
4) Reduce your intake of refined sugar and refined grains. Whole-foods, relatively-unprocessed, home-cooked, allows control in this option. Pack your home-cooked food to work.
5) You need not live a monastic life: Exercise may be part of your lifestyle, and may not be your only life. Exercise is a form of self-expression.
6) Race occasionally to test yourself, however each race is an intense workout that requires full recovery. Our races validates our hard and consistent training.
7) Focus on good sources of fats: coconut oil, olive oil (EVOO and normal), butter, eggs, and animal fat. Figure this one out on your own as it is very subjective based on beliefs and practice. Reduce the GMO-versions (corn & soya), when possible.
8) Have 'easy' days intersperse 'hard' workout days. Off-Season, focus on Low Heart-Rate, Distance-Training.
9) 80:20 Rule when it comes to eating. Use your intuition and tastebuds as your guides.
10) Check for food allergies. Once identified, reduce or eliminate that food type.

*This was first posted on my Facebook page.*

Monday, April 3, 2017

Which 10 Life Hacks Do You Do?

1)   Exercise regularly
Movement is life. Exercise is ‘prescribed movement’. By doing exercise at least three times per week – a combination of short & intense, versus longer and enduring – we can activate muscles, stimulate hormonal secretion, reduce mental stress, and engage our nervous system. Exercise is know to reduce the occurrence of mental depression, and retard some of the effects associated with aging. While you are at it, exercise in the sunlight, sometimes.

2)   Read
Reading helps us nourish our mind through the provision of ideas, knowledge and opinions. Words help us form images in our minds and bridge both cerebral hemispheres (both left and right sides of our brain). It also allows us to access our imagination. Reading is a form of ‘quiet time’ or meditation for our self. Read for information, education and entertainment. Read, consider, reason, argue and discuss –activate your thinking (cognition) through engagement with others.

3)   Write (express yourself: teach, share)
This is a way of expressing yourself privately and openly. It gets our thoughts onto paper, or on-screen. Writing is a way to think in words, phrases, and sentences. It allows us to express random thoughts, and place them in logical perspective. Writing helps the introverts express their inner feelings and deep thoughts ‘outwards’.

4)   Eat well
Eat as natural and unprocessed as often as you can. Apply the ‘80:20 Rule’, and eat as well as you can afford to 80 percent of the time. Eat your comfort and ‘cheat foods’ the remainder of the time. Focus on foods that do not encourage inflammation. Inflammation has been associated with a wide range of maladies and diseases. Focus on foods high in antioxidants, filtered-water, and herbs to cleanse your body and encourage healing. Keep fruit (and fruit sugars) to specific times, as it tends to stimulate hunger.

5)   Frame and re-frame my mind
Positive psychology is about learning to apply mental strategies and techniques to quell negative thoughts. We learn to focus on positive matters, like results instead of failure. Re-wording helps us appreciate another perspective and dimension in our communication. Our ‘self talk’ can be filled with excuses, blame, disappointment and resentment. By re-framing, we can focus on more useful parts of our communication with others. We take responsibility in the quality of our conversations with others, so that we can benefit from each interaction. Positive and optimistic people are also more fun to be with.

6)   Posture
This is about how elongated and stretch your spine is when you sit, move or sleep. Proper posture concerns us on how we move with ease and comfort. Pains, strains and stress place undue discomfort on our body, so that we do not breath deeply enough. When that happens, it disrupts our digestion, blood circulation, and how we use our body effectively. Minimise excessive time spent sitting. Sit on large balls or stand at your workstation.

7)   Seek Experts & Learn From Them
The Room is the expert. In almost every social setting, we can meet somebody of distinction. This may be an area of expertise, or self-mastery. Even hobbyists can be passionate in talking about their hobbies. Most of them are knowledgeable about that area which excites them, and provides them with a form of expression. It can be delightful to hear someone talk passionately about what they enjoy doing, or what they are competent in.

8)   Challenge yourself and measure your progress
Challenges allow us to expand our abilities. These can be translated into goals, and we can direct our resources and commitment to achieving them. As we measure our results, we can ascertain our progress. Part of the reason why people do sports, is to test their mental and physical limitations. Excuses surface when we test our limits, and we learn to curb them when we face chores, work, duties and other discipline-required matters. Challenges also provide us with a sense of purpose, so that goals can be created around them.

9)   Be inspired and motivated
Be curious. Be excited by new things. Enjoy new experiences. Nature can inspire us. People and their actions, can inspire us to be better versions of our selves. Read inspirational stories. Consider engaging some of their ideas into your life. Once we develop a sense of purpose and strength of purpose, we can act on our dreams and goals.

10)                  Sleep well

Sleep at least 7.5 hours a day. Six hours would be an absolute minimum. It is a single non-activity that allows our brains to do ‘housekeeping’. A comfortable mattress, a firm pillow, drapes drawn to keep our light, can help us sleep better.  Dreaming helps us in an unconscious way. If we sleep well, we awake refreshed and clear-minded, without the mind-fog that caffeine cannot fully vanquish. Tart Cherry juice can stimulate sleepiness and gives more sound sleep.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

PUNCH THROUGH TO THE FUTURE WITH LIFE HACKS

‘It is not the last dog left in the fight, but the one that has many fights left in it.’

The future holds many uncertainties.  We can predict with certainty that changes will happen without disruption.

We have to be versatile to stay relevant; even semi-retired and retired people must seek some form of activity and busy-ness. We must continue to re-invent ourselves to stay employable, stay in business, and even to stay put.
Stasis, or inactivity, merely invites trouble if you are not prepared to face the challenges that come at us.

‘Offence may be the best defence!’ to quote from X-Men: The Last Stand’. We must attack the future with confidence and fervor. Waiting for things to happen, procrastination, and being hopeful (without action) is ‘blind’.

Here are some Life Hacks for your future consideration.

1)   Ask yourself this: How seriously and importantly do I want to stay in employment?
2)   Which are the professions you will enjoy working in, in the long-run? What are you doing to ensure that?
3)   To seek new employment, identify these 3 questions: What do you know? (KNOW WHAT/HOW). Who do you know? (KNOW WHO) Who knows you?
4)   Examine your options: Seek employment, self-employment, be in a business, or up-skill/re-skill yourself.
5)   Do a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities  & Threats). Be honest about yourself, your abilities, expertise, and capabilities.
6)   Complete your SWOT Analysis, and seek three people who can give genuine and honest feedback about your Strengths and Weaknesses. Strengths include wisdom, skills, work experience, working knowledge, expertise, achievements, areas of mastery, attitude, and character.
7)   From your Weaknesses, identify which skills, experiences, knowledge, relationships, and certification will you need to learn and develop within the next six months? Next 12 months? Next 1-3 years?
8)   Which of your skills will become redundant? What will you need to learn stay employable? (Writing, presentation, relational, transactional, accounting, promotional, educational, and more)
9)   Who can you seek to guide you in your profession, business, and career? Who are your mentors, teachers and coaches?

10)                   Review your attitude and mindset towards people, life, work, recreation, and your lifestyle. Lifestyle is how you ‘style your life’.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Why Do We Race?

To complete?
Training to be our best.
To compete?
Moving past the rest.

Go fast or go slow,
Race your own race.
Go along with your flow,
Progress at your pace.

There is no disgrace,
For struggling and succumbing.
For this is your race,
Complete it even when stumbling.

One foot forward,
One pedal around.
The finishing-line is reward,
Where euphoria abounds.

A battered body the next few days,
A painful fate we will face.
Therefrom, recovery it will replace,

A hunger for the next race.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Wear Your Badge With Pride - Inside

Who doesn't love recognition?

This can be a compliment, praise, handshake, or a high-5. A physical memento would include a medal, finisher t-shirt, trophy, 'potential winner' card, and the like. To complement your achievement with something physical enhances the experience of completion or competition. These 'badges of honour' remind us of what we have earned - and most times, hard-earned - and may motivate us to go even further the next time.

However, when these badges become more than 'bragging rights', then they present a social concern. If awards and badges result in an 'elitist mindset' or a 'cocky attitude' towards others, then the badge ceases to represent more than its abstract meaning. Every boy-scout knows that for each badge that he earns, it was born of knowledge and skilfulness. He had to demonstrate a competency or skill-set before he could be presented with a new badge, which he wears with pride. Each badge is a milestone of one's 'success', and it is part of a journey of self-discovery and exploration.

My drawerful of race t-shirts and extended merchandise alerts me of the following:

1) I really need more closet space (remind me to go to IKEA).
2) I need more real-world clothes.
3) I need to reduce my credit-card expenditure for travel, race-fees, and merchandise.
4) I should be confident of my abilities and capabilities.
5) I may have to give away some of these clothes, or wear them out (like on 'Survivor', the reality TV series).
6) Review my priorities in my life.
7) Will a race-tattoo replace these material benefits? (if so, which design and location on my body?).
8) Participate in eco-friendly, shirtless, races?

Will my madness end? Which other motivations will I reveal? Which new 'mountains' can I summit? What will I learn from these future adventures. 

If you have 'been there, and done that', then the continuous pursuit of the same process or activities can mean a lifestyle, demonstration of self-discipline, or the pursuit of excellence. Whatever your reasons or motivations are, be mindful that a badge is temporal than the 'badge we wear inside'. A shoe-box filled with medals is just a receptacle for these beautiful bits of metal and wood, and we should not be weighed down by past glories or a vainglorious past. Instead, we can look ahead of us, determine new goals and experiences, and live them. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Leadership Lessons From Films: What Will Be Your Line?


I love films.

I spent my childhood watching films. In my formative years as a pre-teenager, my Mom was generous to ensure that my brother and I saw our fair share of films. I recall, watching back-to-back James Bond films almost everyday. We lived across the Hoover theatre/cinema, and student-priced tickets made it gladly affordable.

My most memorable film was, probably, Cecil B. DeMille’s grand spectacle ‘The Ten Commandments’. It was about 220 minutes long (I clocked it at 3:36), and my Mom brought lunch in for my brother and I during the intermission. That was a film that influenced me about religion and movie magic.

Every decade secures itself vividly with iconic films, music, special effects and directors. In the 1970’s, films like ‘ET-The Extra-Terrestrial’, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, ‘Grease’, ‘Saturday Night Fever’, Jaws’ and ‘Star Wars’ ushered in a new era of filmmakers.

When I secured a job as a feature-writer, I recalled replacing my colleague (a UCLA film and music graduate) as the resident reviewer. I was mildly ‘lost’ until I found the language to describe film. I honed my reviewer’s eye through monthly reviews of videotaped films of the latest Hollywood releases.

I still love films.

The art and business of filmmaking has progressed from ‘silver-screen’ to ‘talkies’ to ‘digital film’. Cinemas have been transformed into ‘sensory environments’ where the filmgoer experience is strongly enhanced with Dolby-Surround audio and CGI-enhanced visuals. 3-D and IMAX Experience continue to be important, and supplemented with Virtual Reality (VR) mobile devices. I fear the day I ‘awake’ and find a paler shade of me plugged into a connector cable, and discover my life was one major ‘download’ from the Matrix.

Cinemas cost more, however they are cleaner, have more comfortable seats, and exquisite audio-visual systems. From $0.50 to $12.50 per ticket is a reflection of the times, as an average Hollywood blockbuster costs upwards of US$100 million. Film studios struggle to keep above water (even for a film about a sinking ship), as they face competition from other studios, a discerning film audience and piracy (even Captain Sparrow got ripped off).

As long as films and television (as this medium is growing rapidly in interest in the past decade) continue to entertain, educate, engage (and, occasionally, misinform us), we will still flock to the ‘big-screen’ to partake in the next installment of Star Wars, trilogies, and Marvel Studios/DC Universe franchises. After all, who doesn’t like a good storyline? Stories matter, and so writers will spin their latest yarn, and filmmakers will weave their web of fantasies to send us off on our own flights of fancy.

As biopics and docudramas feed our need to be skeptical and feed the distrusting conspiracy theorists, so we, too, indulge in our coffee chatter to, hopefully question the status quo, choose to be educated and informed, and get involved in humankind. Nothing is more persuasive than human thought – mild, militant or mesmerizing – for that is the flame that sustains the torch of progress and purpose.

Start the collective voice of reason by writing your first line of intent. As Walt Whitman wrote:

Oh me! Oh life! Of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! So sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

                                       Answer.
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.’


What will be your line?


Meanwhile, write your script, produce your film, direct it well, and ensure a stunning performance!