As you might know, there are almost NO downside to training from any aspect. Since our lifestyles has changed last couple of 100 years, we as humans must today make a conscious effort to stay healthy. We are simply not built for sitting still all day. Therefore training are now a deliberate and conscious choice, and I guess that these aspects has made us more aware of training/fitness/health, which therefore makes it a topic that you can discuss with anyone. Everyone knows that training (in almost any way) is the best way for achieving health.
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What is health?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as
“a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – Wikipedia
Feeling great, who does not want to feel great? How can this be achieved in the best way?
“Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning,” John Ratey
Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, author of the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. This article mentions some effects of training: stress reduction, lifts depression, improves learning , improves self esteem, keeps the brain fit.
History – Why I started training
For me, I reached a point where something needed to change. I started training very slowly in mid 2010 with the long term goal to achieve “excellent physical shape”, to have a good posture and achieve a “normal curvature”. What really motivated me was this article from one of my heroes Darren Hardy, the publisher of my favourite magazine: Success Magazine. This article is still really good! The big take away for me is this:
If your body is the billboard of your personal development, your calling card and your personal 15-second commercial, what is it communicating? – Darren Hardy.
Best way to start – ask for help!
I started slowly with 2-3 times of training a week, which after a while turned into 5-6 times a week. I had no idea of what I was doing. I realized early that the best way to learn is to have a teacher or a coach. I was very lucky in having a friend for motivation and inspiration. My friend and Coach Kristian, gave (and keep giving) me hints and motivated me. Kristian is a very successful trainer located in Gothenburg/Sweden founder and owner of the lifestyle & company: ADAPT – Athletic Development and Performance training. He is a very active coach, and races all over the world from Marathons in Malaga, to Ironmans in Copenhagen to strength training and also inline skating Marathon in Germany. Kristian is probably the most knowledgeable personal trainer in the Nordics, combining the power of science, a great analytic skill, own experience from training and a willingness to always try new things. Need a coach? Contact Kristian!
Swimming, the perfect activity?
After a while I lost some of the inspiration but I continued to train mindlessly. To get variation I set a goal to learn swim crawl in the end of 2010. Time flew and all of a sudden I had learned how to crawl with the help of another coach – a professional swim coach named Claire. Kristian also helped me here. I learned the basics of Backstroke, the basics of butterfly and now I can say that I know all 4 ways of swimming, not expert but good. The decision to learn how to swim crawl is one of my best decisions yet. Why? Well, just the feeling of trying something that I experienced of beeing so hard and tough and almost not possible I mastered it , that alone makes the journey worth it. But swimming has so many other benefits. Swimming is often recommended as one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise for men and women of all ages and fitness levels. There is unfortunately no science of that Swimming is good exercise for weight loss However Tim Ferris discuss in his book – The four hour body the use of thermodynamics to lose fat. Tim also mentions in an podcast with Ben Greenfield that there might be so that swimming makes you hungrier than other forms of cardiovascular activities which potentially could explain why there are no science of fat loss there. Still not sure about swimming? Read my article about the basics of Swimming – Aquatic Locomotion
CrossFit – try it!
In September 2013 I started doing CrossFit, and I really like it. It suits me right now and it is very different from normal gym weight lifting, and it combines so many different disciplines. But what are the results of CrossFit? Except feeling great, I am very clear that the ONLY one I should compare myself to is my previous self. On all levels. And just by looking at the pictures I am impressed. However looks are the least important. Performance and results always counts.
“If you take good care of it, your body can take you wherever you want to go, with the power and strength and energy and vitality you will need to get there.””
If you asked me a year ago I would not in my wildest imagination think about posting a picture with my progression. I have always been very clear that I train ONLY for myself and that I only compete against myself and there is little to no reason to inform others or tell others what I am doing. My biggest goal is to be better today than I was yesterday. But If I can inspire just one single person to improve their life I will consider this post a success.
What have results have I achieved since I started training?
- Ran Marathon (42km) in less than 4h
- Swim record 4450m in 1h51m
- Run 10km in less than 43min
- Squat – 105 kg
- Deadlift – 105 kg
- Front squat – 105kg
- Push Press 80kg
EDIT 2014-03-18: This was before starting CrossFit, for my CrossFit stats and numbers, check out my CrossFit Athlete Profile Squat PR: 160, DeadLift: 200, FrontSquat 130
What other metrics can you show? I love metrics.Running, total accumulated distance: From sept 2010 til today around 2021km. About halfway through Europe (reference: Sweden is: 1 574 km, Europe is 4346km long,africa is about 8000km and the the circumference of earth is: 40075 kilometers. I have since 2010 ran 5% of the earth.. ) Swimming, total accumulated distance From January 2011 til today about: 288 km. Sync with me on RunKeeper to get latest metrics.
So now you have my story.
The 5 core positive effects I have gotten since I started training
Longevity means long life. What I mean by that is that life is not a sprint, it is a marathon. I keep reading about 4 week transformations, 8 week transformation or “Just buy this” and all your physical problems will be solved. I am glad for those people that get motivated and get hely by that . For ME – I have realized I am in training for the long run, I want the long life. Not the sprint. WHY?! I want to feel great every single day! and Feeling great is no short fix. A positive mindset and consistent training is a “natural way” for me to simply feel great every day. Read my article on how to live forever
TED TALK – how to be a 100+
It is interesting to note that to become really old you do not necessarily have to train/exercise super hard. Actually that is probably contra-productive, if you check out the video, regular exercise with moderation amongst other things is recommended. Check out this other TED-talk in Zurich: Why bodybuilding at age 93 is a great idea: Charles Eugster
If you look good you feel good. Very simple. If you are able – you will have more self confidence. Who does not want to have more self confidence? It takes your healthy body to carry around your head full of ideas and your heart’s desires.There is nothing more pitiful than a ready and willing mind but an incapable body. Robin Sharma lists 7 forms of wealth, where the first 2 are:
- Internal Wealth: This area of wealth involves knowledge of yourself. Self-awareness, self-respect, discovering what your values are, crafting goals, creating the vision of your life, and feeling like you’re in control. That you’re living your own life
- Health: There’s no point in chasing after money at the cost of your health
Robin says: Health is Wealth – and who does not want to be wealthy?
“If you achieve all kinds of things in the material world, but lose your health then you will get little or no pleasure from your other accomplishments.One goal that you have in common with everyone else is your desire for good health, to be free of pain and illness and to have a continuous flow of energy and feelings of well being. In fact, your health is so important to you, so central to your life, that you take it for granted until something happens to disrupt it.” Brian Tracy
As mentioned before, fitness goals can almost ridiculously easy be achieved. What I mean is that if you simply do what your coach tells you – you will get there. Training is a very clear way of proving this for oneself. If you set a goal to be able to do a certain exercise, you know what you have to do. If you do not know, ask your coach! If you don’t have a coach, Google is your friend. In essence, what you need to do to achieve any goal (not only whilst training) is to have a clear focused effort, over time. It helps to have a plan and break it down in smaller steps as well, in training called “scaling” and “progressions“.
The ability to control your own personal resilience gives a great sense of power. Regardless of how tough a day at work is, if financial situation is bad, a relationship has ended, somebody wronged you or any adversity you will experience in life. Training will simply take your issues in perspective. If you are angry, you know, as well as SPOCK knows, that emotions are illogical, but you can utilize your angriness in training for maximizing your output. After any training session you will (naturally) feel a sense of accomplishment and happiness. The logic behind why we are happier after exercise can be read in this LifeHacker article. The article maps out that when training your body feels stress, your brain thinks you are either fighting or fleeing. To protect yourself from stress, your body a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). BDNF has a protective and reparative element to your memory and acts as a “reset”. That’s why we feel so at ease and like things are clear after exercising. At the same time, endorphins, are released in your brain. Endorphins main purpose are “to minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain, and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria.” So, BDNF and endorphins are the reasons exercise makes us feel so good. The scary part is that they have a very similar and addictive behavior like morphine, heroin, or nicotine. The only difference? That it is good for us.
After have tested several diets, I am now using an Intermittent Fasting protocol. I have tested several ways of training, weight lifting, yoga, running, swimming, meditation and some other things. I always find it fascinating to hear about new research and I get astonished that so many different disciplines in training and diets seem to work and get results. There seem to be a need for certain persons (as in religion) to claim that their way is “the ONLY and the RIGHT WAY” for success. Which is very narrow minded and this gets attenuated in diets, since people take their diets very personal, almost as a part of their personality.
I really like this post about which diet is best – by precision nutrition, to summarize it, there are no BEST diet! If it works for you and you are happy, and achieving your goals, do whatever you want….. It is similar to the discussion about which mobile OS is better – iOS or Android? And as of yet, there are no overarching M-theory for fitness (to my knowledge) as they have in physics. Since all humans are different and there are so many different ways to achieve health, there is not simply one way to success.
There is only way you should go – is your own way. I have been lucky to be able to try all these different ways of training, thanks to having an experienced and open minded coach and a great team (ADAPT) who share thoughts and experiences. CrossFit suits me perfectly right now, but it will probably not always be like that, I might want to increase running distances, I might want to go into triathlon or more skiing. My greatest experience so far is that CrossFit is very open for experimentation and it is a more “family” feeling in “the box”, compared to Which I truly appreciate.
- Stretching – the importance of stretch and mobility for progression in all levels, not only training but also posture and pain stress thanks to strain in muscles
- Intermittent fasting – the power of NOT eating, an alternative eating schedule, also creating a mental resilience and increasing IGF-1, which makes you older, and also smarter.
- Super compensation – how you as an athlete must push the limit or stagnate.
- Protein synthesis – reached a basic understanding of how protein builds muscle tissue in cells.
- Importance of work life balance – importance of not only training
- Running technique
- Hydration management
- Breathing management
- Tested a 100 days Mental fitness program from a Swedish Guru on the subject, listen to when I interveiwed him on TFP: Lars Eric Uneståhl
- Affect of PWO and NO PWO
- Affect of caffein-Affect of no caffein for a year – 10 things you might not know about caffeine
- Sleep Management – read my guide on how to optimize Sleep
- Injury management – handling negative stress like injures seeing it as possibilities, I have since starting training more seriously experienced both MTSS and over-training. And feet injury and elbow swelling – I have overcame them all (Knock on wood).
Whats next? Whats in the future?
Next step is master some calisthenic exercises. Calisthenics refers to ancient greek kallos, “beauty” and sthenos, “strength”). For me calisthenics is the ultimate form of training, it works the body as it is designed, simply using itself. Get more mobile and flexible, which I am sure to achieve with the help of one of my very favourite book about mobility: become a supple leopard. Running a marathon , and I want to try to get under 40min in 10km. Experimenting with BioHacking and ThermoGenesis and to keep pushing the limits.
Why push the limit?
For me: I do not want to lie on my deathbed and feel that I have energy left. I want to have given all my energy and have no regrets. That’s why I ALWAYS want to give ALL I GOT! The backside of that is that I sometimes burn out. Time has taught me to manage this and I am trying ultra hard to not compare my journey to others and I must say that my focus has improved tremendously lately. Ask yourself the question: Would you like to feel great every day? Would you like to have unlimited physical and mental power? Then you have to push the limit.
Good timber does not grow with ease the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees. J. Willard Marriott“Those that don’t make time for exercise must eventually make time for illness”
Except feeling great every day, I feel very humble that my body really works; that I can walk, that I can run, that I can climb and swim. A possibility far from all humans have, just thinking about that makes me very humble, and in a sense I feel that I should use this body as much as I can just for all the people that does not have the opportunity for some reason.I also realize that my knowledge in training, fitness and health are extremely limited. The more I learn the more I realize that everyone that I meet have something that I don’t have, either knowledge, or a technique, a protocol, a mental difference or something else, that I can learn from! Which makes me very humble and I try to be very curious when I train with other people. But as an introvert training is “ME-TIME”. I focus and i DO. I know so little about training it is scary.. Here I walk around with this machine that can do anything I tell it. And I only know about 10% of how it works.. Even though I keep learning, it is a long journey to master this AMAZING machine that is not always logical, but it is always fair, and IF I treat it right it keeps delivering.