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Thoughts, ideas, and information

Hello! Welcome to my website and my first post. As all aspects of health and wellness are important to me, and I aim to use this site to share insights, build community, and offer support through my coaching and training services. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments, or concerns. I am always trying to improve myself and those around me. Looking forward to working with you to reach your goals and be your best!

 

Hydration

It is hard to overstate the importance of water to humans, and to human performance. The majority of the human body is comprised of water. Water helps with virtually every component of the body, starting with the brain. It takes a lot of water to keep the brain functioning optimally.

Joints are lubricated by water, lack of water causes muscles to cramp. Skin needs water, kidneys require water to perform the task of cleaning the blood. The liver needs water to flush toxins out of the body. The list goes on. So keep hydrated, especially as we enter into the warmer summer months!

Warm weather running

With the warmer weather comes some new challenges in running. Hydration is very important, and taking precautions to avoid the heat of the day when running in summer is wise. Also, planning a route where you know water, shelter from the elements, and a safe place to rest/recover if needed would be to your advantage.

Water is best for shorter runs under an hour. Sport drinks are best for longer runs as electrolytes need to be replaced in the body.

Wear light, loose fitting clothing. With all the advanced clothing technology, something that wicks moisture away to keep you dry and cool would be optimal. Reflective gear is still important for visibility to others you encounter, and a well fitted hat can help keep the sun off your head and out of your eyes.

Train hard but listen to your body. When it needs to rest or slow down from possible overheating, do it. Your body will thank you for adjusting to allow it to recuperate better.

Train smarter, not more!

The more I hear from top training experts on training, the more a common theme emerges: ‘train smarter, not more’. Nowadays there are no ‘seasonal sports’ as year round camps and indoor, outdoor, summer, and winter leagues create year round competition schedules. As mentioned in a previous post, this creates more income for those who put on endless camps, clinics and leagues and sell you fear. Fear that your child might lose their spot if they do not attend each and every camp, clinic, practice, and league ¬†within a 3 hour drive of home.

This all appears to be great at first glance…more coaching, more playing time, more skill development… but a deeper look into the issue reveals some big problems.

Injuries. Injuries happen from one of two possible reasons. Trauma- instantaneous action leading to injury, like a tackle to the knee in football. Overuse- the gradual repetitive overloading of the muscular or skeletal systems that causes a breakdown over time, like a stress fracture in a runners leg.

More high school athletes are having surgeries for athletic overuse injuries than ever before. 25 years ago a high school athlete who had gone in for surgery was almost unheard of. Now its so common that most high schools have had someone have a surgery to fix some kind of athletic injury.

University coaches are having athletes come to them from high school, who already have college amounts of ‘mileage’ and wear and tear on their bodies.

So how does one deal with this? Train smarter, not more! Keep rest days rest days, and make sure rest days are in regular rotation (once a week for example). As a coach and trainer, I make sure to ask my athletes/clients “When does the body recover? Is it during workouts, or during rest?” Then I remind them that the rest must compliment the training they have just done. The quality of the work done in each and every workout should supersede the quantity of work done in each workout.

Train smarter, reduce risk of injury, and have better chances of long term success! here’s to training smarter for the win!!

Modern athletes and tech

How does one coach today’s young athletes? They are growing up in a world that relies on push buttons for all things, quick fixes, and instant gratification as a result of those things.

How do you suggest to a young athlete that long term planning is the way to go when in the rest of their short lives, everything has been instant? Quality is often compromised in the rush, but hey..it’s all great at the moment now so who cares, right?

The problem is, in training, bodies need time to adapt, time is needed to learn and hone skills, time is the teacher of wisdom (being smart is knowing a lot of stuff, being wise is knowing how to use those smarts in great and practical ways). Time is the enemy in a young persons eyes these days. Patience is not something worth waiting for, when instant glory and fame are out there for the taking.

As with many things in life, a compromise is probably the best solution. Use technology to enhance workouts, to give faster or more detailed feedback, or to motivate in a less direct way (“when you finish the workout, you can go play xbox again, so lets get through the workout”).

But there is also something to be said for elbow grease. Old fashioned hard work has benefits that compares to nothing else. Work does not have to mean working more, rather working smarter. (more of that in another post sometime..)

While technology has certainly changed the way we live and communicate and go about daily life, we are still talking about the human body that we are trying to extract the full potential from, and technology can only go so far. For instance, being the best video game fighter does not mean that the individual is the best fighter in real life. So use technology to enhance training and better allow adaptations, but not to replace training passionately. For not only does it take smart and balanced training, it also takes heart and soul to win, in sports, and in life ūüôā

Talking with top coaches

I had the great privilege of talking with a few amazing coaches this past weekend. Guy Shultz, Head Coach of the University of Western Ontario Cross Country and Distance program, along with Joel Skinner, who coached Derek Druin, the Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist in mens high jump in Rio 2016. Hearing them talk about training and how important all factors are in putting together a successful program, it just reiterated the things I have already posted about. Get good quality sleep, keep stresses to a minimum, train smarter-not more, less is more, rest is possibly the single most important key to long term success and to prevent overuse injuries, do NOT rush development, patience in training plans usually means a step back before steps forward can be taken, make sure speed work is functional, and a host of other great ideas that they talked at length about.

With so many great ideas buzzing inside my head, I went back to work this week coaching and training. Enthusiastic and optimistic, I shared some of the ideas and concepts talked about with a group I train. As we discuss the benefits of these ideas, they see how excited I am and it rubs off on them. As you the reader go through this blog, get inspired and get active! Great things await you with Penner Fitness Training!

Health benefits of workouts

The benefits of working out are vast and cover a broad scope of levels. Insulin control, weight management, heart health, healthy BMI (body mass index), etc. are great examples of physical benefits of exercise. But too often we forget about the other kinds of benefits that come with physical fitness. Being focused and alert, keeping a sharp mind, and overall better cognitive function are mental aspects of health benefits that are strengthened through exercise. Finding yourself, becoming at peace with yourself, connecting with God, and connecting with your soul are all spiritual health benefits of exercise.

The multi faceted benefits go beyond that as well in my opinion, seeing as there is great overlap between the physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual side of a person.

When someone is healthy in all aspects of life, their quality of life tends to improve drastically. So Do not forget to focus on all components of health and wellness. A healthy lifestyle includes many things, make sure that physical fitness is not forgotten or overlooked, it helps with all other areas of your well being too!

Painful workouts

We suffer because we do not suffer enough. Ya, not a typo. I read a great book on how we often suffer more, and longer because we are too afraid to really hurt. It made me think on a level that I admit is not always easy to appreciate. The outcome of working through this concept is worth it however, especially if I can apply it to coaching/training.

Its like this. Take a child who gets a deep sliver. You have 2 options. A) leave it in B) get it out. Option A is less painful to the child right now, because as long as they don’t use that finger, the sliver is not agitating anything and can not be felt.

But tomorrow it will be swollen and in a few days it will be pussy and infected. Eventually a doctor will have to remove it, or if left in still, it can cause so much damage that the finger may need amputation in extreme cases. The longer it is left, the more pain overall and the higher overall cost of getting it out.

Option B is going to cause the child some discomfort and pain up front.. pulling it out with tweezers is not fun or painless, but the sliver wound can start to heal after the sliver is out. Shortly after it is removed it is forgotten about and the body can heal itself and carry on with important things like playing and exploring.

As my first track coach would say, “Pain is beautiful. It means the body is alive and speaking”. Ask someone who has no feeling in their body (the condition is called congenital insensitivity to pain) and they will tell you it is the greatest curse on planet Earth. These people are dangers to themselves as they do not know if what they pick up or touch is too hot and is burning them, if what they are standing on is sharp and cutting into them, if some body part is being restricted or squished, etc. Pain is the body’s way of letting you know whats going on and when to get out of danger.

That being said, there is good pain and bad pain. As an athlete, I have been confronted by both. Knowing the difference is important. Years ago I fractured my femur and kept training and racing on it. That pain was the bad kind but I did not know the difference, and wanted to tough it out and push through. Typical young and dumb athlete. It cost me a year of my university eligibility to learn the lesson of what the difference between good and bad pain was. Nowadays I try to listen to my body when it is giving me feedback on a workout or even just in general. I also can now appreciate to a higher degree what the difference between good and bad pain looks like as I coach others. I watch intently as any of my athletes or clients do their workouts to ensure that the inevitable pain they will experience is that of the good variety.

It seems logical to try to avoid the bad pain, but going after good pain can reap great rewards. Good pain is the kind that says “wow, you worked HARD and I’m exhausted. It ‘hurts’ (in a sore, not injured kind of way) but I just need some recovery”. That is the kind of pain you want in a hard workout. It is also the kind of pain that is the ‘lets get the sliver out earlier rather than later’. This good pain leads to overall quality of life, like bending over to tie your own shoes with ease, lift groceries out of a shopping cart comfortably, or being able to carry on a conversation going up a flight of stairs.¬†A little regular soreness from regular workouts beats a heart attack from a ‘comfy’ sedentary ¬†lifestyle any day.

Here is to good pain!