SLEEP & REST “WHY IT IS IMPORTANT “

By Steve McKinney

According to an article in the premiere issue of the NFPT REVIEW, sleep is very important, they write:

One of the most inherent values of sleep is the concurrent breakdown of toxins in the cerebral spinal fluid that accumulate during waking hours. After 48 hours of sleep deprivation, test subjects have been found to display a significant long and short-term memory loss, and a reduction in their ability to reason and communicate effectively. All of these symptoms have been attributed in part to this build up of toxins in the cerebral spinal fluid during waking hours. It is also interesting to note that the rate of toxin build up in the cerebral spinal fluid is unique from individual to individual thus explaining the reason why some people can function effectively on less sleep than others.

What exactly does that mean to us? Well, one thing it means is, we need to get enough sleep. You see, in our society we are pushed to the limits of our abilities on a daily basis. We need to work more hours and get less rest in order to “make ends meet”. This mentality, however, can cause us to function at much lower levels than where we should be. I understand the above quote as saying, if I don’t get enough sleep I am not going to function at near the capacity that I am potentially able. If I reduce my sleep to one hour less per night and that toxin build up is not completely removed, it will then accumulate. Over a period of time it will accumulate to levels that cause me to have short-term memory loss, poor communication skills and less ability to reason. That is not how I want to function in my daily personal and business activities.

Sleep also restores our body’s energy supplies that we have used up during the course of our day. Some people require more sleep than others based on the amount and type of work they do. If you labor intensely you will require more sleep than someone who does mental work. Some people simply require more sleep than others. Teenagers, because of the hormonal changes that are going on in their bodies, require much more sleep than they did when they were children.

There are people who have trouble sleeping. This can include inability to fall asleep or stay sleeping for more than a few hours. Let me give you some things that could be causing sleep problems:

  • Caffeine–Too much caffeine during the course of the day can affect a sound nights sleep. I personally had to reduce my caffeine intake drastically after I turned 40. I may have a cup of coffee before my workout but I never drink it on a daily basis. I don’t know why it was around that time of my life these changes needed to occur, it might have been hormone related. I do know that my sleep was affected and the subsequent reduction of caffeine made the difference. Consuming caffeine too late in the day can also affect your sleep. Caffeine consumption comes in more forms than just coffee, it is found in sodas, both diet and regular, it is found in chocolate and teas, both herbal and regular. A word of caution, dropping your caffeine intake can result in severe headaches. This is due to the blood flow restriction from lack of caffeine. It should go away in about 3-7 days.
  • Stress–Stress debilitates your health, it’s that simple. Stress can take many forms: work, relationships, parenting, etc. You’re always going to have stress in your life, the key is, to control the amount that you have and to learn how to deal with it.
  • Alcohol–Alcohol consumption reduces your ability to sleep deeply. It also can attribute to sleep apnea because it relaxes the upper airway muscles. Sleep apnea is a medical condition that can cause people to awaken numerous times during the course of a night. (An interesting aside about one client of mine and sleep apnea. When this client started coming to me he weighed 265 pounds and suffered from sleep apnea. He began to exercise and lost 60 pounds while gaining some muscle. His sleep apnea went away! The sad thing is he stopped exercising, regained all the weight and lost muscle size. Guess what happened next? The sleep apnea returned.)

Now let me give you some pointers on getting a sound night sleep:

  • Develop a sleep pattern–Try to get to bed at the same time every night. Your body thrives on regularity. I know some people who have such a good sleep pattern that they don’t need an alarm clock to wake them.
  • Keep your sleeping room free from distractions–Having your room dark and quiet will help insure a deep, sound sleep. If you sleep with the T.V. on, as some people do, your sleep will be affected.
  • Get up–If you find yourself tossing and turning, it may be a good idea to get up and take a hot shower or read a book. When I toss and turn I find that I end up getting more frustrated and add to my inability to sleep.
  • Use supplements if necessary–If you have trouble sleeping you can use some natural alternatives to help you get to sleep. Check with your local health food store for natural sleep aids.

A point of interest is that exercise can improve the quality of sleep. Proper exercise can relieve stress and allow you to get a good night sleep.

Another important aspect of your lifestyle change is rest. Taking some time to get away from the daily routine is essential for you to function at a high level of performance. When I talk about levels of performance I mean doing what you do in the best way you can, be it working or parenting and so on. The idea is simply for you to be the best you can be. So resting on a regular basis every day can help you.

A lot of clients of mine do not take a lunch break; they just work and eat at their desk. It is so important not to do that. You need to get away from your work area and let your mind rest. This goes for every person reading this article. Take a short break away from your work once or twice per day if it is possible. I personally schedule a 5-10 nap in the middle of the day. This keeps me feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day. My wife does not like the short naps but prefers longer ones. Unfortunately she is not always afforded this luxury with work schedules and such. She does occasionally get a chance to get a break in her day, which she finds helpful as most of us do.

Sleep and rest, most of us don’t get enough, some of us get too much but that is rare. Just find a happy balance for yourself and make it part of your lifestyle. If you ignore these important aspects of your life it can lead to undue stress! Go to bed an hour earlier than usual. Stop burning the candle at both ends. You will find that you feel better and your attitude will be brighter!

TAKU’s NOTE: Thanks to my good friend Steve McKinney for this weeks article. For more info on Steve, click on his name at the top of this asrticle.

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CONGRATULATIONS!!

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to my friend Steve McKinney and his son Josh for their recent success at the 2011 BJJ, Pan Am games. They both competed as Blue Belts, in the medium heavy division (for their ages). Steve got the silver medal competing in the Senior 3 division, and Josh won the gold competing in the Juvenile class.

Those of you who visit here often may recognize Steve’s name from my review of his excellent book, “Weight Training 4 MMA”. Both Steve and Josh are great examples of how using simple, safe and efficient training methods can deliver high level fitness benefits in minimum time.

Congratulations guys, I am proud of you.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

P.S. Pick up a copy of Steve’s book, you’ll be glad you did.

Don’t forget your Neck

Much of my recent career has been spent working with combat athletes like boxers, wrestlers, MMA fighters etc. I also include sports such as hockey, football and rugby in the realm of combat athletics. Along with the many other factors that make up a complete training program for these types of athletes, is having an effective plan to strengthen the neck muscles. Having a strong neck is key both to allow for maximum performance and even more importantly to help protect from possible injury.

In my personal opinion most regular folks can and will benefit from adding a brief, intense, and effective neck strengthening routine to their current strength training program. Training the neck is not difficult to do and because most folks necks have rarely experienced any exposure to strength training, these muscles tend to respond rather quickly to a training stimulus. An effective neck training program will only add about 5 minutes to your program and their are a variety of tools and methods that are readily available to you to accomplish this goal. Below are links that will lead you to examples of several of the methods and or tools available for neck strengthening.

There many ways to train the neck:

1. Manual Resistance
2. Neck Harness
3. Dedicated machine
4. Resistance Bands
5. Exercise Ball

My neck routine looks like this:

Neck & Trap Exercise Sequence

1. Neck Flexion – 12 reps (60 seconds TUT)

2. Neck Extension – 12 reps (60 seconds TUT)

3. Lateral Flexion Right – 12 reps (60 seconds TUT)

4. Lateral Flexion Left – 12 reps (60 seconds TUT)

5. Shrugs – 12 reps (60 seconds TUT) Seated or Standing (can be performed with dumbbells, barbell, cables or Smith Machine etc.)

If you are lucky enough to have access to a dedicated neck training machine, I recommend that you give it a try. If your facility does not have such a device, take the time to learn and apply one or more of the other methods described above. Regular neck training may help improve posture, lesson headaches and also help protect you in the case of an unexpected slip, fall or other collision.

You’ve got five minutes, so get to it!

PAU for NOW


TAKU
www.hybridfitness.tv
www.blackjackfitness.com

P.S. I wrote an article on neck training back in April 10, 2008. I decided to add another because I feel it is a very important an often over-looked area. Rather than just point people to the archives I figured let’s just do a new one.

New Training Tool

PART TWO: Weight Training for MMA

Hey Gang, I want to introduce a friend of mine. Steve McKinney.

Steve has been a strength coach and trainer for over 20 years and is an advocate of safe, efficient, and effective training.  During his long training career Steve has trained a wide variety of people, but has recently found a niche working with MMA and submission grappling athletes.

Steve has taken the original H.I.T. style concepts and adapted and innovated them creating workouts that are extremely brief and intense, while simultaneously understanding the many other factors that athletes are coping with which may place high demands on their recovery ability. By doing so Steve has created the best of both worlds, workouts that are result producing yet not over taxing to the athletes systems.

Steve has developed a unique system of strength training for combat sports, that really works. It’s measurable, rational, objective and result producing.

Steve has written an E-Book Called “Weight Training for MMA”. The book is loaded with GREAT information, including dozens of exercise descriptions and pictures.

Here is some of what you get:

4 off-season routines

4 in-season routines!

An outlined diet plan!

A simple, brief and intense approach to cardio!

The book also contains all the information you will need, to know how and when to adjust your program variables, such as training load, volume, frequency and intensity.

Steve also created an instructional… “How To Video” for using his system!

Watch him take 3 different people through workouts!

There is also an added Bonus videotaped workout! You’ll see pro fighter Clay French, KOTC Champion and Pride veteran go through a brutal, HIGH INTENSITY workout, as Steve supervises the session. It’s uncut and live!

After reading the book and watching the videos you’ll have all the information you need to create simple and effective workouts that will have you ready for action in no time.
This is the ACTUAL system that Kyle Watson used pre-TUF!!!!

To go directly to Steve’s web–site, click this link: Strength Training For MMA
PAU for NOW

TAKU

www.hybridfitness.tv
www.blackjackfitness.com

P.S. If you want to get stronger quickly and safely… if you want to take advantage of one of the better workout protocols around… if you are ready to take your game to the next level, I sincerely believe this system will help!

BEST WORKOUT IN THE WORLD!!!

Well, I never thought I would ever say this but I have discovered the greatest workout ever created in the history of the world. That’s right, you will never need another workout program as long as you live. Read that last sentence again.

There is no sense beating around the bush, just read on and you will discover the “Holy Grail” of Weightlifting / Strength / Conditioning Training routines. This single program will deliver everything you could possibly want in one, complete program.

Yes I  mean it. This program will do it all:  Strength, Power, Hypertrophy, Sports Performance…You’ll even look great naked!

So (drum roll please) Let’s get to it.

Mon – Sat A.M.

Run 5 miles A.F.A.P. (As Fast As Possible). Your goal for this should be around 30 minutes or less. (I do it in 25 minutes)

Mon – Wed – Fri  P.M.

Chest:
Bench press 5 x 6-10
Flat bench flyes 5 x 6-10
Incline bench press 6 x 6-10
Cable crossovers 6 x 10-12
Dips (body weight) 5 x failure
Dumbell pullovers 5 x 10-12.  

Back:
Wide-grip chins (to front) 6 x failure
T-bar rows 5 x 6-10
Seated pulley rows 6 x 6-10
One-arm dumbell rows 5 x 6-10
Straight-leg deadlifts 6 x 15

Legs:
Squats 6 x 8-12
Leg press 6 x 8-12
Leg extensions 6 x 12-15
Leg curls 6 x 10-12
Barbell lunges 5 x 15

Calves:
Standing calf raises 10 x 10
Seated calf raises 8 x 15
Oneplegged calf raises (holding dumbells) 6x12 

Forearms:
Wrist curls (forearms on knees) - 4 sets, 10 reps
Reverse barbell curls - 4 sets, 8 reps
Wright roller machine - to failure

Abs:
½ hour of a variety of nonspecific abdominal exercises, done
virtually nonstop. 

Tue - Thu - Sat P.M.

Biceps:
Barbell curls 6 x 6-10
Seated dumbell curls 6 x 6-10
Dumbell concentration curls 6 x 6-10  

Triceps:
Close-grip bench presses 6 x 6-10
Pushdowns 6 x 6-10
French press (barbell) 6 x 6-10
One-arm triceps extensions (dumbell) 6 x 6-10 

Shoulders:
Seated barbell presses 6 x 6-10
Lateral raises (standing) 6 x 6-10
Rear-delt lateral raises 5 x 6-10
Cable lateral raises 5 x 10-12

Calves , Forearms & Abs:
Same as Monday, Wednesday, Friday workout 

As you can see, this is a six days a week plan. Too much?
Can't handle it? I guess you are just not good enough yet.
Come back when you are not such a pansy.

I really do not need to say anything else.
The plan speaks for itself.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

www.hybridfitness.tv
www.blackjackfitness.com

P.S. APRIL FOOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Three books you should have!

Three of the best books I have come across all come from the same guy. His name is Tom Kelso and he is at the top of a very short list of coaches and trainers who I have found to be the best in the business.

The three books are:

1. THE INTERVAL TRAINING MANUAL
2.
THE STRENGTH TRAINING WORKOUT ENCYCLOPEDIA
3.
“Truth, Myth & Reality: What Can and Cannot be Done in a Strength & Conditioning Program”

The Interval Training Manual is a book I wish I had when I was just getting started. it is loaded and contains:

*132 different interval running workouts
*4 levels of difficulty each
*14 different running venues
*All target and recovery times included
*Design your own intervals using enclosed percent speed and recovery time charts.

The Strength Training Workout Encyclopedia was inspired by the question every good coach hears thousands of times during his/her career “Can you design a workout for me?” Tom went above and beyond and created a tool for both athletes and coaches alike.  There are literally thousands of workouts in almost every style you could ever need or want.

Finally there is Tom’s e-book “Truth, Myth & Reality: What Can and Cannot be Done in a Strength & Conditioning Program”. This book is based on Tom’s own research and 30+ years of “down in the trenches” experience.  If you are someone who not only welcomes the truth but DEMANDS it, then this e-book is definitely for you.

After twenty plus years of working actively in the fitness industry I have gained some insight into what works and what doesn’t.  If you are a strength coach or an athlete, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of these three books. You can find links to all of them by visiting:  http://www.tomkelso.com/

While you are there be sure to look around, Tom’s web-site is loaded with great information. If you drop him a line, be sure to tell him TAKU sent you.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

http://www.hybridfitness.tv
http://www.blackjackfitness.com

A cool new toy

I recently got my hands on the Perfect Pull-up. It is well made and solid in its design. I like the fact that it allows the user to not only do a variety of pull-ups and chin-ups but due to its clever design, it may also be positioned to allow a variety of reclined pulling exercises as well.

Add to this the removable rotating handles and you have an innovative and useful device right in your own home. The rotating handles work separately from the bar, which allows you to toss them in your gym bag and play with the various pull-up options at your favorite gym as well.

Visit the Perfect pull-up web-site for some cool workout ideas. They also have video demos of the various exercises. http://tinyurl.com/yhqqyd4

So if you are in the market for a home pull-up system, take a look at the perfect pull-up and see what you think. If the price is putting you off, then be sure to look around. I found mine for under $20.00 at a local drug store.

PAU for NOW

TAKU
www.hybridfitness.tv