Health, Mindset, Physical activity, Psychology, Wellness

Training For The Beast Berlin 1

It is always easier to get on with the hard training if you have a goal ahead of you.

This time is no exception. I am going to COMPLETE the Spartan Beast In Berlin the 28th september this year. It is going to be really severe, much more than the Spartan Super in Madrid, that I did the 4th. may. But I am dedicated, motivated and addicted to it. Then it is much easier to do the training.

The Beast is 21 km with 30 obstacles.

If you have nerver tried OCR races or you have tried other OCR races than Spartans then try a Spartan Race. It is just better and……fantastic.

Yesterday it was time for a long run in the forest.

Like I have said so many times before, it is important that you run in good areas that motivates you, that inspires you and makes you feel alive and kicking. When it comes to interval training, that is the tough kind of training, it is a lot easier when you have hills and mountains ahead of you. Then that kind of training seams more natural and motivating to do than counting e.g. lampposts.

Out of the woods again and in the open fields and up to my “finish-stones” on top of the hill. It was really a hard run, especially because I have gained to more kiloes around my stomac. To much good food and less training after my Madrid run. Now it is 85 kg and you can feel that very clearly when you run and when you lift yourself in different kinds of obstacles. Therefore I have to lose at least two kg again.

Run done and then my daily 120 push ups.

 

Love, Health And Wisdom

Brian

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Health, Learning and development, Mindset, Physical activity, Travelling, Wellness

Green Transportation

I just love riding my bikes. Yes I am in that fortunate situation, that I have two mountainbikes and a racing bike. The racing bike I do not use very often, only when I am in the Triathlon-training-mude. The two mountainbikes are my true passion. On a mountainbike you can ride almost everywhere and you really have to stay focused. On a mountainbike you can discover so much wunderful landscape. Like this forest I drive through almost everyday.

I am in that lucky position that I can mountainbike every day to and home from work. That give me from 20 to 30 km of training depending on wich way I choose to go.

Time for a little breakinthewood. I wunder where that number of wood,4431, is going to be in the future – a new floor, door, furniture…..who knows?

This is a healthy and green non-polluting way to go from A to B, so if you have the possibility to jump on your bike more often, do so for you and the planet. My Trek is good, but my full suspension Specialized is even better.

Furthermore you experience much more than in a car on a road. Yes you get the rain and the cold, but it is al worth it when you get use to it.

Yesterday I discovered this red hourse chestnut. Beautiful tree now when it flourishes.

LIFE IS AN ONGOING JOURNEY. YOU KNOW THE PLACE WHERE YOU START, AND YOU KNOW YOUR DESTINATION. YOU REACH ONE POINT AND GO FOR ANOTHER. IT’S LIKE RIDING A BIKE – EVERY SPIN OF THE CRANK BRINGS YOU CLOSER TO THE DESTINATION. WHAT MATTERS IS TO MOVE FORWARD USING MY BODY AT THE SAME TIME…

Racing is also fun…

 

Love, Health And Wisdom

Brian

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Mindset, Psychology

I Am What I Am

I am what I am

and that needs no excuses.

I know my good sides and my bad sides.

I love my good sides

and try to improve the bad ones.

I am, I am, good
I am, I am, strong
I am, I am somebody
I am I do belong
I am, I am, good
I am, I am, strong
I am, I am somebody
I am I do belong
I am, I am, useful
I am, I am true
I am, I am worthy
I am as good as you
I am, I am, useful
I am, I am true
I am, I am worthy
I am as good as you

 

Have a great day

 

Love, Health And Wisdom

Brian

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Health, Mindset, Nature, Physical activity, Wellness

Ordinary And Special Day 6-6-19

Breathe in breathe out. Breathing is your anchor…

Breathing and being that is what you fundamentally have. That is the true healthy you. Feelings and thoughts comes and goes. They do not define you. Your being and breathing is your life anchor.

The right breathing means everything for your well being. Breathe all the way down in your stomac, lower your shoulders, relax, feel the air giving your power.

This time a year I try to swim each day. Swimming and diving can really trains you in relaxation. Especially in this element it is really important that you relax. Lots of people can´t relax in water, and that makes them hyperventilate and heavy in the water. Slowly try to learn to feel the water and not fear the water. Go into it and feell the rythm of the water and when you feel you are ready take a deep breath and lay on your back in the water surface – RELAX as much as you can. Work on this so you will feel more and more comfortable in the element.

 

This morning I swam and did some diving before work. Very nice. It is always good to do some physical training before going into the water, especially when the water is only 15 degrees celcius. This morning a 10 km mountainbike ride before.

Then work. Training my pupils to the science examination in two weeks. Engagement, will power and believing in your own skills and worth, that is what I hope for for them.

Breathe in

My being

is pure me,

breathe out

I am in contact…

I am ready for my bike-home-running-swim.

Hope you have had an ordinary and special day too.

 

Love, Health And Wisdom

Brian

 

 

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Biology, Health, Nature, Physical activity, Psychology, Wellness

Ordinary And Special Day 5-6-19

Make every day a special day – also the ordinary ones.

Seize the day” is a translation of the Latin phrase Carpe diem (quam minimum credula postero), which means “Seize the day, put little trust in tomorrow”. In other words, enjoy yourself now.

So enjoy yourself and your everyday right now in this very moment reading this and strongly after too. This is your day like every other day.

My day began with the same amount of coffee like any other day…..but I really appreciate it very much each morning. Then some morning exercise and a great morning bike ride in the beautiful area around Vallø Slot. See what has just arrived to this world.

Swans and ducklings in the castlelake.

Today is election day in Denmark. We are going to choose a new government. It is the day of democracy. I want a greener Denmark with less polution, better social and health care, a better and more effective public system with less bureaucrazy. I want banks and companies to pay their fair share to a better environment and public system. I am no Robin Hood, but the rich people has so much, so it is only fair to share some with the poor.

It is really a special day today. It is also FATHERS DAY. I am excited to see if my boys remembers that…

Well there is still plenty of things to do before the election. I will go to the beach now with my Yorkie.

If you’ve ever read anything on the subject of self-care as an introvert or sensitive type personality, then you’ve probably see the advice to get yourself around nature. Spend time in the natural world, surrounded by the beauty of water, trees, and animals. Away from the chaos, connecting to the natural rhythms where the human chaos, stress, and busyness are making demands of you.

There is true restorative power in feeling at one with the rawness of nature. Being forced to slow down and unplug.

I find the benefits of unplugging, even just for two or three hours. It forces me to stop, to listen, to experience the immediacy and pureness of the present moment. And I finish feeling fully restored and charged by some deep groundswell of energy.

Spending Time With Your Own Nature

Nature is not just something “out there” to go and be in. It’s not a magical place, the benefits of which we can only experience by leaving where we are.

In fact, I think one of the reasons spending time around natural beauty can be so powerful, is because it connects us to our own natural cores. When we are away from the pressures and stresses of a workplace, technology, and the demands of everyday life, something within us is resonating. Because well hey, we are natural beings. However much we might try to fight it. We are made of the same stuff as everything we might consider “nature”.

5 Characteristics of Nature

The purpose of this episode is to think specifically about what these two sides look like for your own situation. We will address five aspects of nature that are true for all of us (despite our best efforts to nullify them). And we will think about how we can use them to our advantage, rather than as things that hold us back.

By understanding these factors in our lives, we will gain a sense of perspective about what truly matters (and what doesn’t), so that we can live with more time, less stress, and abundant sources of energy at our disposal.

  1. Energy
  2. Timing
  3. Seasons
  4. Environment
  5. Ecosystems

Spending time in nature is a great thing. When you’re told to “get out” into nature, remember to start within. Experiencing the natural world starts when we experience our own natural preferences and rhythms. It’s about going inwards to recognise how it influences our own lives. Nature is something we must live in conjunction with, not something we try to go and find “out there” as a way to escape the world.

Now I am going to the election and the beach again…it is pretty hot 32 degrees celcius….Exciting tonight, who is going to rule Denmark the next four years???

 

Love, Health And Wisdom

Brian

 

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Health, Learning and development, Mindset, Psychology, Wellness

You Have The Force

You have the force – You just need to know how to bring it forward and use it.

Your body is a very powerful organism that contains about 50.000.000.000.000 cells that are communicating with each other. Imagine of you could combine and develop that communication from your nerve cells (incl. brain cells) to the rest of the cells in your body. That is were the true power lies.

You have to make meditation a rutine. You have to find the best time a day to do it. When you have learned to breathe deeply and have incorporated the true feeling of yourself then you can meditate and use your power all the time, not just when you are sitting or lying.

I am telling you this because I care for you, the people around you and the world. There is no doubt that if all people love them self more there would be much more love in this world. It all starts with a healthy balanced self love. That love you need to find…..e.g. through meditation.

Self love is not narcissism. Self love is accepting you the way you are, finding your needs and passion (the true you) and living after it. Combined with making other people happy. Below you can see the effects of meditating.

Start doing it for YOU, THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU AND THE WORLD.

 

Love, Health And Wisdom

Brian

 

 

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Health, Learning and development, Mindset, Physical activity, Psychology, Wellness

Optimize Your Brain

Neuroplasticy

According to what physical activity does to your brain function, I came along this great article

Neuroplasticity

 

 

 

 

This is a must read.

Neuroplasticity refers to our brain remodelling, adapting, and organising after the practice of a motor skill. This is important for many professionals (i.e. coaches) in sport who teach and develop specific athletic skills with their athletes. When learning new motor skills, there is a “fast-stage” and “slow-stage” of learning. Our brain tends to learn new motor skills quickly, then a plateau is reached at which more practice is needed to maintain that same motor skill. Research indicates that gray matter density in our brain is responsible for motor control and is mostly formed before puberty.

 

There is a window of opportunity for teaching children fundamental movement skills by taking advantage of the ‘plasticity’ of gray matter in their brain. This can result in beneficial outcomes later in life such as increasing athletic potential through greater movement competency. The best form of training for children appears to be integrative neuromuscular training, which focuses on developing various motor skills with an emphasis on technique. However, it is still possible to develop and strengthen motor skills after the brain fully matures, but this may be more difficult to achieve.

Introduction

Repetitive practice of motor skills is necessary to efficiently develop and refine movement in sport. Ultimately, our brain controls how we move via an electric signal sent to our muscles. The speed, accuracy, and efficiency of that signal is dependent on many factors, one of which includes practice. Our brain refines a motor neuron pathway the more we practice a skill, but will also reduce that same pathway if we fail to use it. Simply put, we become more skilled at tasks we do often and can have that same skill “fade away” if we fail to practice it.

Teaching and refining athletic motor skills is an important aspect of a strength and conditioning coach’s job. When an athlete performs exercises in a weight room, they reinforce a neural pathway whether the movement is correct or incorrect. With every repetition, the motor neural pathway becomes stronger, and if done frequently, can lead to a significant change. This phenomenon is due to neuroplasticity and our brain’s ability to adapt. In this article, I will discuss neuroplasticity’s importance in sport and the implications with training different age groups.

What is Neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity refers to the brains capacity to adapt and re-organise as we experience and learn different tasks. The scope of neuroplasticity is large and complex, with different events occurring at the molecular, synaptic, and muscular levels over short and long periods of time. However, neuroplasticity can be understood by strength and conditioning coaches through grasping basic information around the topic. To begin, we must learn about the role of gray matter and how it relates to the ability to acquire and/or retain motor skills.

The importance of gray matter

Our brain and spinal cord contain gray matter (GM) which is responsible for the motor control and sensory perception in our body. GM contains motor neurons which send action potentials down the axon and into our muscle cells, which results in movement. There tends to be a stronger signal and more refined neural pathway when there is high GM density in the brain. Studies indicate that humans tend to increase GM density during childhood, followed by a loss of GM density after puberty. It is suggested that as we mature, the volume of synaptic connections decreases and our ultimate GM density is determined.

An interesting study by Gogtay et al. reports that following brain maturation an adolescent’s GM density diminishes until young adulthood. However, this does not mean that we are unable to learn new motor patterns after puberty. Instead, it simply implies that the greatest “window of opportunity” for learning motor skills is before puberty, and that afterwards, motor skill pattern potential is limited due to the motor synapses closing.

Fast- and slow-stage learning

Changes in motor skill neuroplasticity are often divided into a “fast-stage” (short-term) and “slow-stage” (long-term). During fast-stage learning, it is believed that the primary motor cortex in our brain recruits substantially more neurons for new motor tasks. This increase in brain activity can result in vast improvements being seen within a single training session. After improving at a motor skill, we transition to the slow-stage of learning where multiple training sessions and repetitive practice is needed to retain or improve that skill.

Unlike the fast-stage, the slow-stage of learning results in small improvements at a much slower pace. This is due to neuroplasticity’s “use it or lose it” principle when it comes to motor skills. The brain’s plasticity will either slowly strengthen or reduce a motor pathway based on repetitive action, or the lack-of. However, past repetitive practice of motor tasks could lead to a quicker re-adaptation if there was stoppage of that skill. This term is called “savings” and is why many athletes can still perform a skill such as shooting a basketball, even after years of not practicing.

One important thing to consider with fast-stage and slow-stage learning is that the acquisition of a skill is highly task-specific and relevant to the person. Generally, the learning curve of a motor skill will look the same when considering the specificity and difficulty of certain skills (Figure 2).

Learning basic squat technique can be done within one training session with some athletes. The Clean & Jerk, however, can take weeks of practice in order to become proficient due to the coordination needed to perform the exercise at high speed. Of the two exercises, the Clean & Jerk is a much more difficult motor skill to learn, and whilst it would be unfair to compare the two exercises hand-in-hand, it does provide a clear example of movement complexity, skill acquisition, and the different times needed to learn certain movements.

Why is Neuroplasticity important for Sport?

To proficiently perform athletic movements the brain must coordinate with the necessary muscle groups to produce the action. Whether the athlete is throwing a baseball, kicking a football, or even sprinting, these all require complex inter- and intra-muscular coordination which starts from the brains motor cortex. Therefore, repetitive practice is needed for a motor skill to be performed effectively, and thus engrained.

In most sporting competitions, athletes are at a disadvantage if they need to think before moving. Many people use the term “muscle memory” when they perform a skill automatically and without much thought. While incorrect, it does imply that a certain motor pathway is so well-developed that less brain activity and neuron organisation with the muscles is needed to perform a skill which before felt unaccustomed and alien. This is the reason why some skills tend to look or feel effortless after repetitive practice.

Due to neuroplasticity, every time a skill is performed our brain refines that motor pathway, regardless of whether it was performed correctly or incorrectly. For this reason, it is important to have coaches that promote correct technique, whether it be for the sport or in the weight room. If a bad movement pattern is performed repeatedly, the technique will require more practice and time to fix/refine. While neuroplasticity for sporting skills are achievable throughout our lives, research indicates that there is an opportune time to do so.

Neuroplasticity and Age

Plasticity in the brain appears to peak in pre-pubescent children, therefore, it may be the opportune time to capitalise on teaching correct technique/movement/skills. By introducing multiple motor skills to young children, they have the unique advantage of maximising and enhancing muscular strength and fundamental sporting skills which may not be available as adults. Training and exercise for young athletes should be specifically focused on improving motor control since their cognitive and motor capabilities are highly “plastic”.

It has been suggested that integrative neuromuscular training (INT) be introduced during the childhood and adolescent time-period to influence the plasticity of the motor cortex which will carry into adulthood. INT are exercises that expose children to a variety of movement patterns and challenges that promote cognitive and physical development. By properly introducing and implementing INT, this will allow for the physical, mental, and social development which will positively affect athleticism as the child grows. If an athlete is not exposed to a certain motor skill prior to full motor cortex maturation, they are still capable of developing that skill, however, the benefit and potential is diminished.

Neuroplasticity with regards to motor skill is available during a human’s entire lifespan, but is best retained during all developmental stages (see Figure 1). Professionals that work in sport must implement training that teaches and reinforces good movement, regardless of age or training level. Much like the SAID (specific adaptations to imposed demands) principle in training, the motor cortex adapts in a similar way. Athletes should always be improving or refining their motor skills to maximise performance in competition.

Issues with Neuroplasticity

Measuring ‘plasticity’ in an athlete’s brain is not worthwhile for strength and conditioning professionals for a few reasons. Examining neuroplasticity requires invasive and expensive equipment as imaging of gray matter and other regions of the brain require access to an MRI machine and medical professionals to operate it.

Also, most research surrounding neuroplasticity in motor skills is not done in athletes, rather individuals with movement disorders such as cerebral palsy and animals. Therefore, it may not meaningful to quantify brain ‘plasticity’ in athletes, when instead the focus should be on teaching and refining motor competency.

Evidence suggests that there are gender differences in the adolescent brain which can affect neuroplasticity. Research has reported that there is a higher ratio of GM to white matter in females and that they may also reach peak values of brain volume earlier than males. Similarly, it appears that the sex-hormones testosterone and estrogen also have gender-specific effects on the organisation of brain structure during puberty which may affect its development.

The concept of neuroplasticity does suggest repetitive practice of motor skills to strengthen and refine movement competency. Many have heard of the 10,000 hours rule proposed by Malcolm Gladwell, which suggests that this is the amount of time of deliberate practice needed to become phenomenal at a task. However, this is often taken out of context and drives people to over-train and eventually burn-out from exhaustion.

With neuroplasticity, there is a proposed concept of “offline training” which states that performance improvements of a skill can occur between training sessions with no further practice. It is believed that this is due to a phenomenon in which the brain consolidates a movement pattern at the end of every practice which progressively stabilises the skill. This results in an increase of accuracy, execution, and reaction of a motor skill due to rest.

“Offline” skill improvements can be affected by sleep, which ultimately demonstrates the importance of adequate rest/sleep. Therefore, mastery of a motor skill is likely to require a high-volume of deliberate training with sufficient rest between sessions and adequate sleep.

Future Research

To our knowledge, there have been no studies on neuroplasticity with a genuine strength and conditioning intervention. It would be interesting to see how motor skill competency can be influenced at all maturity stages, accompanied by an assessment of the brain’s GM via MRI. As such, the following areas of research are needed to expand current knowledge on this topic:

  • The effects of INT on GM and neuroplasticity in children and adolescents.
  • Gender differences in motor skill training and brain development following a 12-month movement competency programme.
  • A longitudinal study: The long-term effect of INT on athletes as they mature from youth academy to professional athletes using MRI.

Conclusion

Neuroplasticity is a concept not well understood in the strength and conditioning realm but governs a big part of how athletes move and perform in sport. Understanding the basic concepts of neuroplasticity can help guide training programmes which focus on the importance of teaching and refining good movement. The brain’s plasticity appears to peak during childhood, and as such, professionals who coach young athletes should capitalise on this period of time by encouraging multi-skill development and educating correct movement, as this will likely have positive benefits that carry into adulthood.

If you’re reading this now, chances are you’re dedicated towards the development of young athletes and towards your own ongoing education. As there 1,000+ new sports performance studies published every single month, keeping your knowledge and practices up-to-date is near-enough impossible. As a result, if you’d like to stay up-to-date with the latest information and research in youth development, then subscribe to our monthly Performance Digest.

What now?

Some coaches believe that reading one article will make them an expert on Sports Science. Here’s why they’re wrong…

Sports Science entails many, many topics. By choosing to simply read up on Neuroplasticity and ignore the sea of other crucial Sports Science topics, you run the risk of being detrimental to your athlete’s success and not realising your full potential.

To make you an expert coach and make your life as easy as possible, we highly suggest you now check out this article on Body Composition Testing.

Neuroplasticity

 

 

I will end this great article by giving you two palettes of important things that should be a content in every day.

…..And what goes for you…..the very same. FIGHT lazyness. BE ACTIVE. EVERY DAY.

Love, Health And Wisdom

Brian

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