The COVID-19 virus has changed the whole world. There is no business that’s not at least partially damaged by the action of this unpleasant crisis.
Adapting to a new period of coexistence with the virus brings some innovative ways to continue a regular life. Gyms are particularly affected as they are the perfect places for the microorganism. New ideas are being devised on how to get around this problem and move on with our lives.
New code of conduct
Almost all gyms in the world have a new code of conduct. We need to get used to it as soon as possible.
The new rules are displayed at the entrance to the gyms. They remind us of the existence of Covid-19.
New ideas in virus protection are emerging almost every day.
For starters, we’ll mention an unusual “Inspire South Bay Fitness Gym” solution. This gym from Los Angeles enclosed nine individual spaces, which made contact between people impossible. These cabins are a very innovative solution. Of course, it’s still necessary to keep the distance when leaving the gym, considering all precautions.
All gyms around the world have introduced mandatory disinfection, wearing masks, measuring temperature, and social distance. However, it’s imperative to break the myth that wearing a mask is useful while training. The face-cover needs to be worn when you come and leave the gym. Wearing a mask during training will create additional problems that you don’t want. The World Health Organization has confirmed this, claiming that a sweaty face-cover even increases the chances of infection because it becomes suitable for the development of microorganisms (1).
Disinfection and distance are mandatory
We can find disinfectants every few meters. Serious gyms will pay a lot of attention to this. It’s also crucial that the equipment is disinfected continuously. Moreover, after each use, the equipment must be cleaned immediately so that the next person has no chance of becoming infected.
Furthermore, users should maintain a distance by leaving at least one empty machine between them. In this way, they can achieve the specified range.
Introducing a schedule
One additional solution is to introduce a training schedule to establish order. In this way, potential crowds in gyms are reduced. Some gyms even time-limit their users. So, it would be best if you used your time in the gym without much talk. If the gym has its own towels, they should be washed immediately after use. The advice goes in the direction that all gym users bring at least two of their own towels. With one, it’s possible to cover the surface of the equipment while the other would be used to wipe the sweat.
Many gyms advise not to touch the face during training, which is perhaps the most challenging task. After training, disinfection is mandatory and disposable equipment must be immediately thrown in the trash.
Showering is a problem
Showers are particularly susceptible to the spread of the virus; so many gyms have changed this service. Some even advise users to take showers at home. This is undoubtedly an inconvenience, but it may not be a bad idea for protection. A little unpleasant odor is better than this unknown and dangerous disease.
Increased room ventilation is also mandatory. Another important thing is the obligatory serving of drinks in disposable bottles to prevent unwanted consequences. What some gyms are trying to do is form an outdoor space. In this way, the possibility of spreading the infection is drastically reduced. Indoors is the most suitable ground for the virus, so people came up with the idea of taking some machines out into the yard and thus overcoming the problem.
COVID-19 no doubt disturbed us greatly. It showed us how fragile our world is. We became aware that we need to appreciate little things like morning training.
As can be seen, gyms are particularly delicate places for unforeseen health situations. However, new protection ideas are coming from all over the world, so we can say that our favorite training places are pretty safe. There are also great ways to stay fit at home with these innovative training apps.
It’s up to you to respect the measures and to come to the training motivated as before. Have the new limitations affected your gym routine?
As we all know, exercise is beneficial to us in many ways. Do you ever wonder, whether exercise has an effect on our skin, the largest organ in our body?
Exercise can give rise to both positive and negative impacts on your skin.
What are the positive effects of exercise on your skin?
Achieve healthy glowing skin
During exercise blood flow to your skin increases, because blood vessels dilate. When your heart rate is increased during exercise, heart pumps more blood which also reaches our skin. When the blood flow increases, the toxic substances and cellular debris which build up are washed out.
Oxygen and nutrients also reach the skin making it healthier. If you stick to a regular fitness routine, the overall appearance of your skin will improve and you will get a glow as it looks and feels healthy.
Increased blood circulation to skin promotes collagen production and new skin cell formation which contributes to anti-aging effect. Collagen is a protein which is the support structure of your skin. Increased collagen will reduce fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin which will make you look younger.
Skin loses its elasticity as we age. Strength training and toning muscles through exercise help maintain the firmness of your skin.
Removal of toxins
Aerobic exercise makes you sweat and promotes removal of toxins through perspiration.
When you exercise, you keep sweating which helps to clear out your skin pores. You have to make sure that you remove all makeup prior to exercise. If not makeup can clog your pores, and sweating will not help to clear them.
Post work out glow
It is found that after a good work out, your skin gets a glow which may last for several hours. This glow is due to increased blood flow to your skin, endorphins (feel-good hormones) which are released during exercise and the dewy appearance from sweat. Glowing look following exercise will help you to look and feel good too.
Easing of stress causing reduction of certain skin conditions
Stress is a known risk factor for skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis. As exercise reduces your stress levels, these skin conditions can be controlled too. However, it is a debatable point as eczema and psoriasis may worsen due to salt perspiration. This can be prevented by applying a moisturizer before your work out. After you shower, re-apply moisturizer to prevent dryness which can exacerbate eczema and psoriasis.
Stress hormones increase sebum production which worsens acne. As exercise reduces stress, overproduction of sebum and therefore, clogging of pores is eliminated which reduces your acne.
What are the negative effects of exercise on your skin?
Outdoor exercise leading to sun damage
If you do your exercise like jogging, cycling and swimming outdoors, it can negatively affect your skin, if you are not careful. UV rays of the sun can damage your skin. To protect from sunburn, make sure you apply a good sunscreen on all exposed areas of your skin before you do any outdoor exercise.
Oil-free water-resistant sunscreens will prevent your skin pores from clogging and will not drip off with sweat.
May give rise to irritation and rashes in certain areas of your body
Sweating, friction and moisture build-up especially on your skin folds can lead to irritation and rashes. To prevent this, you can use an anti- perspirant to prevent excessive sweating.
Make sure you take a shower following exercise and dry off your skin folds, especially your inner thighs, under your breasts, axilla and buttocks.
If your skin folds stay moist for long periods, you may develop intertrigo, which is a fungal/ yeast infection leading to itchy red patches.
Triggering of Rosacea flareups
As exercise increases blood flow to the skin, some of you who have rosacea may get exacerbations leading to redness.
These post workout flareups can be reduced by applying a topical cream, using oral medications and LASER. Discuss with your dermatologist regarding these medications.
Worsening of Psoriasis
Sweating especially on scalp during exercise can worsen psoriasis. Make sure you wash your scalp after exercise, and apply steroid lotion afterwards which you have been prescribed.
Exercise benefits your skin by making it healthy and vibrant. However, the negative effects of exercise are inevitable. Cleansing your skin and removing makeup before exercise, taking a shower, and drying yourself well especially over skin folds will help to prevent many of these negative effects.
The COVID-19 virus has changed the whole world. There is no business that’s not at least partially damaged by the action of this unpleasant crisis. Adapting to a new period of coexistence with the virus brings some innovative ways to continue a regular life. Gyms are particularly affected as they are the perfect places forContinue reading “Gyms during COVID-19; new ideas”
As we all know, exercise is beneficial to us in many ways. Do you ever wonder, whether exercise has an effect on our skin, the largest organ in our body? Exercise can give rise to both positive and negative impacts on your skin. What are the positive effects of exercise on your skin? Achieve healthyContinue reading “How Exercise Changes Your Skin”
Gyms. Weights. Treadmills. For many people going to a gym seems like a far fetched memory right now. There is no doubt that the fitness market has suffered because of the pandemic. Gyms in the Netherlands are opening again on the 1st of July but how is it going to look like? Will it be the same?
The power of habit can be strong. Not being able to train in the gym for such a long time has forced many people to innovate. And there is some great initiative being taken by many personal trainers and gym chains to make fitness accessible to their clients during the pandemic. It’s great to see this.
How fast will people adapt to this “new way” of fitness?
It Takes 66 Days To Form A New Habit
A study was carried out at the London University College by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher.
The study tried to figure out how long it would take to form a habit. Philippa and her team examined 96 people over a 12-week period. Everyday they examined wehter the new behaviour felt automatic yet or not.
At the end of the 12 weeks, the results were out. On average is took exactly 66 days to form a new habit. The results varied from 18 days to 254 days depending on the person, type of new behavior being practiced and personal circumstances.
According to these results it is safe to say that a a certain number of people will have changed their habits during the 4 months or 120 days of lock down, maybe even longer in certain parts of the word. How many people will renew their gym memberships?
I am very curious to see the statistics next year.
A Completely New Environment
But, it’s not only the habit that is playing a role here. The gym culture will change. Extra safety regulations are being implemented, such as 1.5m distance. Group training as we know it will not be the same. What about spotting someone during benchpress. You gotta have some serious core strength to make it from 1.5m distance.
I don’t know if I would feel comfortable working out like this. And what about Sauna after the gym?
Another factor to take into consideration is fear. Even if gyms are open again, some people simply wouldn’t come back because of fear. which is okay. But what I am concerned about are the elderly. They are at high risk and are probably the first to cancel their memberships. They will not be able to benefit from the digitization of fitness. It is highly important for elderly to stay fit. Yet again, just like in the pandemic, they are affected the most.
There has been a lot of fear spread lately and it will have an effect on peoples decision wehter to go back to the gym.
And finally, the obvious result of the pandemic. Economic crisis. Millions of people have been laid off. A gym membership is money much needed by many people right now. Gyms better get innovative here.
The New World of Remote Fitness
The Indian app Fittetnity has seen a 20% surge in user activity but still expects a 40% decrease in annual revenue. Fitternity and other platforms are using live classes, online classes and even 1 on 1 coaching.
Joe Wicks, “The Body Coach” has seen huge success with his workouts. It took him 8 years to get to 800,000 subscribers. He now has 2.2 million, more then doubling his subscriber in just a few months during the crisis.
While a few people could profit from a crisis, many have the opposite fate. Fritz Lanman, the CEO of Classpass has seen his company taking a huge hit.
Valued at $536 million in December 2019, Classpass had to lay off more than 50% of their employees in April 2020.
The Crisis Makes Fitness More Accessible For You
There is no doubt that many veteran gyms goers are having their world broken into pieces right now. On the other hand, others are forming new habits.
People who have had time at home because of the pandemic have been exposed to the possibility of digital fitness. The crisis has made people realise how accessible fitness can be from your phone or laptop. This is great news.
This realisation combined with the increased efforts of fitness chains having to go digital, will expose more people to the opportunity to stay fit. The target audience that would not go to the gym because they do not feel comfortable or can’t afford it or do not live in the perimeter of a gym, are able to do fitness online.
Will The “Old Way” Triumph Over “The New Way”?
At our core we are social creatures, we need to be in touch with other people and we want to be in touch with other people. A sense of community is what inspires many to go to the gym, to high five each other, give a highly enthusiastic and ADHD-looking chest bumps after completing a tough workout. This is human nature.
And while the “new way” of fitness, digital fitness, is a great way for people to easily access classes online for probably less money, they “old way” will triumph in the long run.
Here is what is probably going to happen…
First, new things are exciting. Digital fitness is new, it’s different, it’s exciting. But for just how long will this excitement last for? How long until we crave the “old way” when the excitement is gone.
When you buy a new phone, you can’t get your fingers off it, you want to buy the best cover, the best screen protector. But after a few months, you throw it on your bed, use it to open beers (me) and feed your dog with it.
I think we will get bored of digital fitness just like we get bored of our phones. I think it’s more of a transitional movement to keep gyms alive and use the crisis as an opportunity. I think in a few years, we will see a hybrid form of digital and non-digital fitness.
Just like how social media makes you anti-social and has a negative impact on you in the long term, hanging in front of a screen for fitness is not that different, it lacks real human connection.
Even though the power of habit and other circumstances will probably result in a digital fitness trend in the short term, I think our human instincts will triumph in the end.
A result of this will be hidden underground gyms and sauna sessions that will be raided by police like an illegal gambling session 😉
I have a question for you: Where do you see fitness in a few years from now?
Leave a comment below, I am curious to hear your opinion.
If you are a supplement fan like I am, you might have asked yourself the question. Which supplements are actually worth taking to boost my immune system during COVID-19.
Since the outbreak, there has been a sharp increase in the demand for dietary supplements. Sales tripled for the supplement firm Healthspan in Britain in only one single week during March, according to Rob Hobson.
In the US the trend is showing shocking numbers. People are not only panic shopping toilet paper anymore but supplements too.
Here are the numbers of sales increases from March 8th to March 15th, according to IRI:
Vitamin C: Up 143.7 percent, up 395 percent from prior week
Elderberry: Up 368.4 percent, up 788.5 percent from prior week
Vitamin D: Up 26.9 percent, up 82.2 percent from prior week
Melatonin: Up 40 percent, up 56.5 percent from prior week
Zinc: Up 184.8 percent, up 437 percent from prior week
Echinacea: Up 127 percent, up 334.1 percent from prior week
Ginger: Up 118.1 percent, up 215.8 percent from prior week
Ashwagandha: Up 274 percent, up 312.2 percent from prior week
CBD: Up 38.7 percent, up 75.8 percent from prior week
Taurine: Up 693.9 percent, up 779. percent from prior week
Horsetail: Up 40.7 percent, up 1793 percent from prior week
“This very week,” said NBJ senior industry analyst Claire Morton Reynolds, “more than half of all consumers have increased their use of supplements. Even more so, they are planning on increasing their use three months from now. And of the consumers who never take supplements, 20% plan on increasing their use three months from now. That’s interesting.”
This would be a great time to own a supplement company for sure but how much of a difference do all these supplements actually make?
Disclaimer: We are not claiming that any supplement can cure COVID-19 and are not qualified to give medical advice to treat any disease or symptoms of diseases.
Diet, Sleep Supplementation and Exercise
Now that we have that out the way, let’s look at what some experts are saying.
Dr. Wafaie Fawzi, Dr. Walter Willett, and PhD student, Dr. Ibraheem Abioye from Harvard Public School of health all agree that nutrition is the most important tool to increase immunity. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic it is vital to get all necessary nutrients to sustain a strong immune system. Now is not the time for highly restricted crash diets.
Fasting for longer periods of time from 3-7 days would also not be recommendable as it increases the amount of cortisol in your body which weakens the immune system, says Dr. Peter Attia. He also says that the most important action that you can do for your immune system is sleep.
However, he does state that zinc is probably the most helpful supplement, 30-50 mg of bio-available zinc daily. Vitamin D deficiency can also be more common if we spend a lot of time inside and do not tank sunlight regularly. Therefore it would be wise to supplement with Vitamin D 2000-5000 IU.
In addition to getting enough sleep and supplementing with zinc and vitamin D, Dr. Peter Attia also talks about exercise. HIIT exercise is not recommended during this time as the high intensity of the training actually stresses your immune system shortly before it returns to normality. In this situation, it would be wiser to do daily doses of light to moderate exercise to avoid stressing the immune system necessarily.
Inadequate zinc levels limit the ability to mount an adequate immune response to infections. Oral zinc supplementation reduces the rate of acute respiratory infections by 35%, shortens duration of flu-like symptoms by approximately 2-3 days and improves the rate of recovery. The studies yielding these results were carried out in the US, India, South Africa and Peru.
Why Vitamin D?
Evidence from several clinical trials and studies confirm that vitamin D supplementation lowers the odds of developing acute respiratory tract infections related to viral infections by 12% to 75%. These studies included the seasonal and pandemic flue H1N1. Benefits were seen with patients of all ages as well as patients with pre-existing chronic illness. Doses of more than 1000 IU were seen to be beneficial.
Vitamin D is not only good for the immune system but also for staying sane during these times. In a study of almost 12600 people over a period of 4 years, it was found that higher levels of vitamin D in the blood were associated with significantly decreased risk of depression.
What about the Vitamin C Craze?
Well, it is fairly easy to meet an adequate intake of vitamin C with a normal diet. For example, 1 cup of Broccoli contains 112% of the daily recommended dose of Vitamin C. It may help shorten the duration of severe colds. High doses of vitamin C haven been used in China to help improve lung function in people with COVID-19. However, there is not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of oral vitamin C intake for COVID-19.
High doses of vitamin C can lead to complications such as diarrhea. Excess amounts of vitamin C are also not stored in the body but excreted through urination. So taking more does not mean you are absorbing everything.
For an optimal immune system, fear needs to disappear. Feed your mind with good stuff, tune out negativity by consuming empowering information. This way you already have an advantage to build a very strong immune system. The world is on pause right now, this is a great opportunity to unite again, to appreciate the little things in life, to sit down and learn something and really understand it.
So it is up to you, what will you make out of this situation?
Yes, we are still in lockdown. But instead of worrying about the future we can look for opportunities. Free opportunities, right in front of us. It can be difficult to stay motivated when everyday seems to be getting longer and longer. I know how it can feel, but as long as you have an internet connection there are a gazillion opportunities waiting for you.
Wouldn’t it be super satisfying to say how you used the time in lockdown to get a diploma in human nutrition or physical fitness? And all that from the comfort of your home. How easy life was 😉
Doing a course will enable you to share your knowledge with others around you and inspire them to do the same. Or it could be for yourself to use the knowledge and be your personal guinea pig.
I believe that after all this is over, people will put greater emphasis on their health and fitness. Right now, I already see many more people going for a run. After the lockdown they will need to build more gyms because of how the Corona virus inspired people to exercise.
Because I want exactly that to happen, here are 4 platforms where you can find free courses to expand your expertise in health, fitness nutrition and much more.
The first platform where you can find free courses in human nutrition, physical exercises and many more categories. They offer Certificate courses, built for learners of any ability or knowledge level each of these free online classes takes less than 3 hours to complete and provides training in a single topic in clear detail.
If you want to get really into a topic, you can try the diploma courses . In 8-10 hours, Diploma courses delivers a clear run-through of an important subject. This is great stuff to polish your CV.
Coursera is a platform that offers longer courses from 4-6 weeks. The courses are offered from top universities around the globe. This is really first class knowledge available for free. You can attend the material and will be asked to pay to receive the certification.
For example, Maya Adam who is a lecturer at the Stanford School of Medicine teaches a 4-hour course on Food and Health.
In this 315-page textbook you will be able to gain full practical knowledge to prepare for the personal trainer certification exam. You can register for the exam for free too. The normal price for a PA certification is around 500 Euros. Go for it!
Not to forget is the infamous Open University. They have a great mission to transform the access to free higher education. Open Learn has relevant, high quality educational resources. Open Learn has been part of the Open University since 2006 and receives more than 500 million visitors each month.
Open Learn offers a wide variety of courses. You could start with this free course on the psychological aspects of sport injury for example.
Now it’s up to you to decide where to start. Which platform would you chose to learn a new skill, become an expert in e certain topic or even become a certified personal trainer.
A secret pill to battle stress, increase performance and focus surely is too good to be true. Yet, adaptogens have been used for thousands of years in the Americas, and especially in eastern cultures. They “could be the most important class of plants that we are going to find in the 21st century,” according to Tieraona Low Dog, who’s exploration of natural medicine began more than 35 years ago.  
There are a few well known adaptogens commonly used today. Ginseng, Maca and the Reishi Mushroom for example might have caught your attention at some point. They are called adaptogens because they adapt their effects according to the specific needs of your body. They can be relaxing and stimulating . These guys are pretty smart ey?
Adaptogens can be compared to working out. Just that you are not working out your body but your adrenal gland. They act on the hypothalamic – pituritary axis (HPA) curbing the production of hormones and physiological responses to ensure optimal body functions. 
Former Russian scientist Dr. Ben Tabachnik shared information which was long considered as state secrets, “when the body is subjected to stress, adaptogens help the adrenal glands mount immediate hormonal response.” Dr. Christopher Hobbs, who developed over 50 herbal formulas used worldwide and founded the school of natural healing in Utah said,” the roots of American Ginseng were considered sacred herbs by Native Americans. 
In modern history, the Soviet Union has been leading with the research on Adaptogens during the Cold War when the two Superpowers were constantly on the search for methods to stay ahead of each other.
Studies on Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus) showed a 40% decrease in high blood pressure and heart disease, improved productivity and reduced risk in developing influenza among long distance truck drivers.
A second adaptogen already used by the vikings in was Rhodiola Rosea. Zakir Ramazanov, was banned of mentioning any research findings on the effects of adaptogens. But after the fall of the ‘Iron Curtain’, much of his research has come to light, much of it through the book Rhodiola Revolution.
Rhodiola grows in cold mountainous regions of Europe, Asia and high altitudes in the arctic. Nordic from people have used rhodiola for anxiety, fatigue, anemia, impotence, headache and depression.
The herb has also been used to increase work performance, physical endurance and longevity. Studies from 2011, 2012 and 2015    showed effective treatment of rhodiola for improving physical performance, easing mental fatigue and reduction of depressive symptoms.
Another interesting Adaptogen is Schizandra, which has been long used in Chinese medicine to treat liver conditions and stomach disorder. It is called the five flavored fruit to point to all the five flavours the fruit has: bitter, sweet, salty sour and pungent.
But, Schizandra seems to be more versatile in its healing capabilities than expected. A study carried out in 2017 found that it had a positive effect on Alzheimer’s disease. It was concluded that it inhibited the formation of amyloid beta peptides in the brain. The peptides responsible for forming amyloid plaque, a substance found in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s disease. A more recent study from 2019 found that Schizandra has anti-cancer effect, anti-aging potential, anti-obesity activity and supports anti-diabetic actions in the body. 
Even though Adaptogens are available in many different forms auch as drinks like Metta, pills and powders, they are not used in mainstream medicine. Mostly due to the lack of research, they are dismissed as ineffective.
There is enough research clearly supports what our ancestors have known for centuries. How can adaptogens be incorporated into ones diet? The best way to do it is to find out what you personally need and get advice from naturopaths, herablists or chiropractors. Act with caution when purchasing adaptogens yourself from the web. Swedish Researchers that examined 60 ginseng products sold in 11 countries found that six samples contained no active ingredient and others had very low percentages of active ingredients. Some even contained ephedrine. Make sure to do your research to be on the safe side.
These forgotten herbs could be your best shot during times of isolation to boost your immune system. Will you use adaptogens for your own benefits too or are you already using them? Leave a comment below.
Since a few days the buzzing city of Amsterdam is quiet. The world seems to be in chaos. Italy is in full quarantine and other countries are following the same approach. Borders are being shut and people are stuck in foreign countries. There is no doubt that many people are scared about their own health and the health of their friends and family. The economic consequences are also visible, people are losing their jobs and have no more income.
How can you keep going in such a situation?
Well, despite the obvious of not going out to slow the spread of the virus, washing your hands and keeping distance to people, there are many things you can do to deal with the situation and even benefit from it.
Here are 8 quick tips on how you can deal with the COVID-19 crisis. Enjoy and stay safe!
1. Stop spreading fear
Fear is more contagious than any virus. By now everybody that hasn’t been in a silent retreat or lives in the caves of Siberia is aware of the situation. The last thing you want people to do is panic. In uncertain situations like these, anxiety can quickly turn into panic. In a state of fear, very bad and irrational decisions are made. Avoid posting death rates and worst case scenarios that might happen. You saw what happened when people panic, they think toilet paper will save their lives. Spread support and love and focus on solutions.
2. Focus on yourself
We do not often get the chance to stay at home and use the time to develop skills that you can use when this is all over. Get inspired by people. If you are in complete quarantine and feel lonely, immerse yourself in a book, connect with the characters. Or write one yourself. If you have a pet, cuddle it and tell it how much you love it’s hairy ass.
If you have an internet connection (assuming you do), try out some online courses. There are dozens of free courses you can do and companies seem to be nice right now, offering free resources because of the crisis.
Learn a new language on Duolingo!
Whatever your choice of creative pursuit is, now is the time to shine.
Maybe you can’t travel on the outside but you can always travel on the inside. Since everything is so quiet, try to practice some meditation. There are many ways you can practice meditation. Headspace is a great app or just search YouTube and find your favorite Guru.
4. Help others
No don’t go running outside and start giving away clothes, but connect with people digitally. Now may be the time to reconnect with people that you have neglected for a while or want to make amends with. Find out if any of your friends or acquaintances are in a very affected area and reach out to them. I am sure they will appreciate it.
If sitting around get’s boring, go out for a run if you can. Wave to people and smile (from a distance). Spread some positive energy (from a distance). Find a 7 or 14 day workout challenge that you can do at home and invite others to join you in their homes. It is still highly possible that you will get the virus too and the fitter you are the lower the risk.
6. Create a meal plan
Since going outside should be avoided as much as possible, create a meal plan for the week. Decide what you want to do and start preparing your meals for the coming days or longer. Like this you avoid unnecessary journeys to the supermarket and have more power over what you eat.
7. Focus on the now
It is easy to make predictions and assumptions for the future. Try to zoom in and focus on today. If today seems overwhelming, focus on the next hour or next 15 minutes. Like this your mind doesn’t wander into the uncertain future. Are you breathing right now? This is how you focus on the now.
8. Set goals
By creating goals and writing them down, your mind will focus on something that is important to you. Wether they are future goals that you want to achieve in 10 years or just daily goals. I suggest you do both. Once you have written them down, sit and visualize them in as much detail as you can. This is super powerful and will make you feel very good.
That’s it, I hope you got some inspiration.
Much love from Amsterdam, stay sane and stay safe!
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I interviewed Thomas Powell on his experience as a power-lifter, 2X national champion in the UK and his experience as a coach of Olympic teams and some of the best athletes in the world. As well as insight into his motivation and key points he has learned on his journey which he shares with you.
How did you get into powerlifting?
I played rugby from about 10 years of age. I got injured and messed up a few discs in my lower back. I lost the feeling in part of my left leg. So I needed to get my strength back. My coach helped me build that up again. I started squatting, benching and dead-lifting. He was the one who said that I was quite strong and steered me towards powerlifting.
What was in it for you?
I have always been quite competitive. Playing Rugby, my coach was probably one of the biggest influences towards playing. But it was alot about having fun too.
How did you get into Coaching ?
I got into coaching when i was still playing rugby and through my coach who offered me the opportunity to start teaching the younger kids. I didn’t really excel but I really enjoyed it. For 3-4 years I coached next to working a full time job, really got into power-lifting and got my personal training qualifications, and went on to be 2X British champion in power-lifting.
But it was really just recreational coaching and just started to build and build and build. I got the opportunity of coaching the Chinese Olympic team, in the development team for skiing.
This is really where the challenges came in for the language barrier. It was very different. It really made me evaluate about my coaching style. I needed to do just the smaller touches rather than showing the whole movement. It was fantastic.
The gym I was in was Powerbase. I think it might be one of the best gyms out there. I use the white board to demonstrate. “Do you see the hips, the shoulders the ankle”? This is how I want you to look like. Alright now pair up and I am going to walk around and see how you look like while doing it. My objective was really to make the athletes self sufficient.
For them to self-diagnose and self-correct instead of them relying on me to be around all the time. Sometimes I would just leave them but watch them from far keeping them in my sight.
Did you feel that giving them this distance was making them perform better?
Some really like this. they want to come in, get done and get gone. They just want simple instructions like, keep your chin up, keep your hips in place. Some like the small talk.
You kind of have to wear very different hats. It’s about managing their expectations. When working with Olympic teams, you have many more different roles, you have a technician who focuses more on the technique. Some of them you have to just make them aware of what they are doing. When they start swinging on the bars. Like “Hey I see what you are doing, get back to it.”
What is the performance analysis all about?
We look it at from two different aspects.
1. What sport are we in.
2. What are the different needs for that specific sport.
Do you need to have a really big back or do you need other features for that specific sport. How do you align the two of them? Whats the need of the athlete and whats the need of the sport?
For example, with an athletic thrower it is part of their rehab to go on a rower. All of a sudden they are cranking out rowing metrics on the same level as a professional rowers and are up there with some of the best in the country.
You then send the performance data to their coaches and compare them. So you see this data and their coaches know that potentially they could be one of the best in the country. But then the coaches say, “I do not really want to let go of my athlete.”
This is when you see two sides of coaches. One says, “no they are my athlete, they are doing this sport and they are staying”. The other might have to admit that his/her athlete has been doing the wrong sport.
Australia does really well at avoiding this from happening.
They test kids at a certain age for, strength, power, endurance, speed etc. and tell them which are the nest sports for them according to the measurements. Then they tell them to go out and try different sports and see which one they enjoy. This is what the UK kind of misses out on.
I really hated PE as a kid actually.
If you have a newcomer as a coach, you do all kind of testing. How strong are they in general. Swimmers are tested for shoulder capacity as they use their shoulders a lot.
Would you like to travel again and work together with Olympic teams?
I would love to do it again. We love working with them. We have middle aged dads who just want to keep up with their kids playing football. But working with an Olympic team is different.
I have been really lucky with the coaches I have got to spend time around, they have been to world cups, been in Tokyo with the Olympic teams. But if you want to go to the Olympics its not like someone who you have been working with just says, I know a guy who is really good, why don’t you come around for the Olympics. You really need to prove yourself out there. They take care of all your expenses, it’s a real privilege.
But the big goal for me is to be there as an Olympic coach.
Integrity for me is very important. You can tell that I haven’t mentioned any of the names of my clients. I would never boast around and say that I have worked with this person and that person and so on. If we drop an athletes name on our social media pages with do it only with their permission.
I do not like coaches that brag about their achievements. When they say, yeah my client has been 2 times Olympic champion and has won 3 gold medals here and… I say congratulations, now do it with 40 other people.
We have a podium rate, such as our clients achieve 20% first place, 24% second place and 66% 3rd place as an example. But I would never get angry if an athlete would mess up and bring down those rankings. I would say, “dust it off and keep going.“
From your experienced point of view, what advice you give people?
1. You got to be passionate about what you are doing.
Sometimes I started coaching at 4 a.m. and at midnight the same day I am on my laptop working. I have piles of paper that I must go through today, mostly analysis stuff.
2. You gotta commit to constant learning
I always try and spend time with people that are way smarter than me. Because then I can ask questions, why are we doing this? After the explanation i often have no idea what he just said.
3. Take notes
If you are volunteering with somebody, take a notebook with you. I see people just standing there without a notebook. No. Go and get a notebook. When someone says something and you think you know what they mean but you are not sure, either ask them or write it down.
I have a coach, he is one of my mentors, and one of the first things he said to me is to bring a notepad. I said i hae my ohone. But he said get a pen or pencil and make notes.
At this point Thomas pulls out his notbooks and says thats 3 of them and i got another pile of 7 notbooks right here and another 4 back there. He says, they look like shit but they are there for me to write notes in.
4. Find a mentor
Find someone who is not afraid to call you out on your bullshit. And thats the problem that so many people do not get real feedback. I got something form my mentors that i use in my feedback. He calls it a shit Sandwich: Pretty good, pretty bad, pretty good.
5. Find the stuff you are not good at
I have a lot of books. When somebody asks me about something that I do not know i admit it. But I learn. I got 3 degrees but i still go to seminars and read and take time out of my day and money out of the bank account to go and learn.I mark the whole book with pages that are important or where I have to look stuff up. My mentors tell me to think about a certain topic and then talk about it the next time we meet.
If you cant explain it to a 6 year old you can’t understand it yourself.
6. Give and take feedback from people in your field
What we do is that we have meetings with all kinds of different specialists, we sit down with nutritionists and biomchanist and exolain stuffto each other. We will also give each other feedback on the areas that we need to impprove on to point out each others flaws.
Being curious about what you are doing and what is going on around you. Some coaches are happy to share some might be a bit more protective about their stuff, but just ask. Coming back to seminars, when I am at the seminars I talk, to people. they might have the personality of a potato but are one of the smartest people in the industry and thats what counts.
What I do is, I turn and ask people, do you understand that? and they will say yes and I will ask if they want to have a coffee. As simple as that.
I went to a seminar last year and asked a guy, hey why did you do that exercise? and he said , yeah because it looks great on Instagram. So generally, don’t take stuff from social media.
7. Share your own knowledge
Finding people who are open to share their knowledge is what you need to do. Personally, I love sharing knowledge. Just recently my friend was in working on a velocity based training model and I shared everything I had on it.
When it comes to to training, 80% of what we teach is backed by science and proven. 15% works most of the time and 5% is stuff that you think is going to work, lets just try it. That’s how I try to coach and work.
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I was on the lookout the other day, for a new type of workout I can add to my routine. I came across a unique type of workout that immediately caught my attention. Apparently it originated in a fitness studio in Bangkok, Thailand.
At first glance, it seems more like something you would do in an amusement park for your 12th birthday but it’s actually a type of workout used under different names and trademarks all over the world. It first made headlines in 2018 and now brands such as Super Fly® are expanding the idea internationally.
Bungee Super Fly® combines resistance training and a cardiovascular workout, while being attached to a bungee cord. It has a super high fun-factor while enjoying an effective workout.
When you are doing the workout, you are attached to a harness, bungee, carbineres, swivel, daisy chain ropes. You are basically ready jump off a bridge, but instead you stay in the studio and get going.
A mixture of acrobatics, dance and resistance training is what you experience ones you are attached to the equipment. The main benefits are getting your heart rate up and burning calories, while you are not on the ground as usual.
If you are in Amsterdam, you can try it out at three different locations. However, they are also expanding World Wide and can be found in many European cities. If you want, you can join their 4-day course and become a teacher. It’s definitely something unique to have on your CV.
It is kind of hard to imagine how it would feel flying around on the bungee rope. Samantha Duff, the owner of Samyoga says, “When you think about a normal squat, it’s harder to come back up. But with the bungee, it’s harder to go down into the squat so you are really using your core muscles to push down so you can spring back up.”
Can you find the “flying workout” close to your too? Maybe you can use it to change up your routine too.
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If you look around today, there are many choices when it comes to reusable water bottles. Some well known brands include Camelbak, Nalgene or Dopper, here in the Netherlands. Sometimes it’s hard to make a decision with which bottle to go.
Let’s take a look at some of the bottles that are out there, and what the differences are between them. We will focus on three areas of comparison here:
Let’s start with the material, there is a lot of concern today about plastic. Is it safe to drink from? Where does it end up afterwards? How long will it really last? These are all important questions to address about plastic. But there is also an alternative, stainless steel. SIGG, Klean Kanteen and Chilly’s have been providing stainless steel bottles for some time now.
There is one big battle here: Stainless Steel v.s Plastic. At first sight it may seem obvious. Plastic pollutes our oceans and takes up to 700 years to deposit. Stainless Steel is the clear choice. But wait, let’s dig a little bit deeper. How is stainless steel manufactured?
Stainless steel is derived from Iron Ore, this means the ore has to be mined, shipped and processed until the precious stainless steel is derived from it. The production of stainless steel is very energy extensive. From mining the ore to having a finished product is a long process. Stainless steel is also heavier, it can be 6 times heavier than thermoplastics, meaning transporting stainless steel bottles adds to more fuel being burned. However, stainless steel is way lighter than glass on the other hand.
What type of stainless steel is there?
The quality stainless steel you are looking for is Food grade 304 or 18/8 stainless steel. The 18/8 meaning 18% chromium and 8% nickel. The biggest benefit of stainless steel is it’s ability to heal itself. Yes, you heard right. The other one is 316 stainless steel is similar to 304 stainless steel but with the addition of 2 to 3 percent molybdenum to increase resilience against chlorides, making it more suitable for meat products and foods with mild salt contents.
What does stainless steel have to offer?
It has X-men like abilities. In a process called passivation. When a chromium surface is scratched, in the presence of oxygen the surface rebuilds itself. This also prevents chemicals from leaching into your water. This is something that no other material can compete with.
Stainless steel is also 100% recyclable. Although there are very few stainless steel recycling plants. This is due to the fact the stainless steel is used for too long that usually it does not end up in the trash for a very long time. If it does, nothing to worry about.
How sustainable is it really?
As mentioned earlier, the manufacturing of stainless steel is much more energy extensive than stainless steel. However, if you use a stainless steel bottle about 500 times, it beats plastic in terms of energy consumption.
Plastic is a great option if you want a durable and relatively durable water bottle. It is not a secret that plastic is causing many problems in our environment. About 14 million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year, 40% of which is single-use plastic. We are producing over 300 million tons of plastic every year and 150 million tons (half) of it is single-use plastic. 100.7 billion plastic beverage bottles were sold in the U.S. in 2014, or 315 bottles per person.
What is actually recyclable?
Many people think that plastic is recycled but, according to the EPA, about 30% of recyclable plastic bottles and jars were actually recycled in 2015.
Tritan [TM] bottles for example, have the recycling code 7. This means that it’s a non-recyclable plastic. This means that although you might stop using single-use plastics, where does your reusable plastic bottle end up after it breaks or you replace it? Yes, that is correct.
BPA, BPF and BPS
Another factor to keep in mind is that plastic bottles do not repair themselves and when they are scratched or cracked, they leach out chemicals into your water. Even though most reusable bottles do not contain BPA anymore, some studies found that replacement chemicals could be just as dangerous as BPA. However, too little research has been done on this. BPA, an abreviation for Bispenol A is a chemical used to manufacture plastics. BPA is an endocrine disruptor. It can imitate the hormones such as estrogen and can interfere with the production, secretion, transport, action, function, and elimination of natural hormones.
Bisphenol S (BPS) and Bisphenol F (BPF) are now replacing BPA. Unfortunately studies have shown that BPS and BPF are related to obesity and weight gain. The results were published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society in 2019 .
When it comes to functionality, plastics can be molded into many different forms and are easier to work with than stainless steel. In that sense, you might find that plastic bottles are more functional than stainless steel bottles.
Even though some plastics such as Tritan are very durable, the average lifespan of a stainless steel bottle is 12 years. Stainless steel also has great insulating properties, keeping your water hot or cold for much longer than plastic.
What about cleaning? Stainless steel bottles are also completely dishwasher safe. Plastics may loose their shape over time and may leach more chemicals when heated to high temperatures.
Here is where a lot of people step back a little bit when they face the choice between plastic and stainless steel.
Some plastic bottles are sold for less than 5 Euros whereas the cheapest stainless steel bottles usually start at about 10 Euros. Clearly stainless steel bottles are more expensive. However, if you keep it for 12 years, an investment of double the amount is definitely worth it given all the health benefits and environmental benefits it offers.
So what would be your choice of bottles: stainless steel or plastic? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below, we would love to get to know what would be your end choice in terms of materials.
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