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The MSP Fitness Index is a routine blog post we do aimed at covering the extracurricular things both Michael and Taylor have been reading, listening to, processing, or just really digging at the present time. Inspired by Eric Cressey’s blog posts “Strength and Conditioning Suff You Should Read”, Michael and Taylor trust The Index will be insightful and transparent as they share glimpses of what’s going on between their ears.

Michael:

Ignorance IS Bliss:
One of the best things about my annual holiday vacation is a voluntary technology blackout that I’ve chosen to institute.6231279_no-tech-zone--new-road-signs-to-prohibit_t16db4cf2

IMPORTANT NOTE: Let me be VERY CLEAR that this technology blackout absolutely does NOT include Apple TV and Netflix…because that’s pure heresy. You will not take away the complete sixth season of Game of Thrones that’s been aging like a fine wine, but I digress. 

How this looks is that on day one, I literally hand my cell phone and laptop over to my wife and am hands off until the end of the VaCa…unless there is a true fire that needs my direct and immediate attention. I’ve also communicated to all of my direct clients well ahead of time, ensuring that their training is 100% taken care of before I go.

This tech cleanse as it were, is 4 years in the making. One thing I took away from this recent trip was a realization / observation that I had a tendency to fill empty time “surfing” with my phone in particular. After getting away from it for 10+ days, when I came back to the real world I saw how easy it was to fall into old habits. I noticed and felt this habitual drive to reach for my phone to check social media, email, news, or <D> All of the Above, , with no real purpose in mind.

Old habits die hard, and it’s true. It was a real effort to NOT push that damn facebook_logo button and I’m not kidding. I would find myself reaching for it and I’d have to tell myself, “STOP!”  There were times when I actually started to launch the app, but then quickly cancelled it after I realized what I did. It was insane, ridiculous, and had to stop!

3+ weeks into the new year and I’m here to tell you that I’m a new MAN! The amount I interface with social media, news, etc is now on my terms, and not a habitual default. I can actually stand in a line at my favorite Caribou Coffee and simply enjoy the people around me sans iPhone. Call me CRAZY but I might, just might engage with another human being. I’m truly happier. I’m no exposed less and less to elements/news/etc of the world that use to create signifiant angst in my life. I’m done. I don’t have enough bandwidth for that crud. I have far too many important things to do that actually matter. Lives to help, a business to run, myself to take care of.

If you’ve not taken a little tech hiatus, you need to. Then and only then can you better observe how much social media and the like has invaded and likely taken over your life a little too much. Try it, or at the very least start to notice your own habits. Ask yourself “WHY” you’re doing what you’re doing. Does it serve a valuable purpose. Is your life actually improved or are you just killing, wasting valuable time?

Taylor:

Physical Preparation Podcast
Mike Robertson is a Strength and Conditioning coach, consultant, speaker, and writer in the fitness industry. I’ve enjoyed reading his articles for years and just recently stumbled across his podcast. Don’t get me wrong, unlike some Podcasting evangelists, I can and do read. Second to teaching or communicating, I’ve found reading is how I most effectively process and cement information. That being said, I can’t drive and read. Podcasts have been a great resource for me to discover new information while simultaneously cooking, cleaning, or driving.

Coach Robertson’s guests are fellow physical prep coaches who have some great insights on training, nutrition, and life in general. He runs a clean, interview style format that is easily digestible. Although this podcast is pretty much exclusively for professionals in the business, I wanted to share it with you for this month’s Index.

The right vertical pulling option for the right person:
For those of you in our group program at MSP, you know we’ve recently re-vamped our pull up progression. I can’t count the number of times anymore but this must be version three…at least! Much of Michael and I’s motivation for this comes from the intention to evoke a training response out of each participant. If we can properly match up the right stimulus for the right individual, we’ll be able to not only work harder, but work more effectively, equating to greater gains. This could mean more strength built, more force applied, more energy expended, or in this particular case: an improvement in one’s vertical pulling abilities. Here’s a quick snapshot of the new progression:

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I’m excited to see this training update take shape! I will always emphasize that the goal of training on the pull up bar isn’t exclusively to achieve chins (unless that’s your personal performance goal). We also vertically pull at MSP in an attempt to:
1) Compliment vertical pushing. For every push, we try to balance with a pull.
2) Build upper body resiliency. You don’t use your arms to walk all day, you should probably do something with them in your workout.
3) Provide training variety. You can only do so many dumbbell rows before your shoulders literally cry from monotony.
4) Build people who are harder to kill. You never know when you’ll have to go all Stallone on some cliff.

“An avalanche of thrills” is an understatement. I can attest.

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