Monthly Archives: January 2011

Tapping Nature’s Medicine

I’m a big fan of training outdoors, especially since I live in the tropical paradise of Hawaii. Yet nature has strong restorative benefits whether you live in the tropics or somewhere a bit colder, like Finland.

In an excellent article, John McKinney addresses the concept of Attention Restoration Theory (ART), which

which posits that a walk in the woods helps refocus the mind and revive the spirit, has been a growing field of research for the past 20 years. New studies are quantifying the restorative powers of nature and suggesting how the restorative process works.

Here’s where the Finnish come in. A study by psychologist Kalevi Korpela with Finland’s University of Tampere found that

The self-rated restorative benefits gained by venturing into the woods and along natural shorelines — “an early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day,” as Thoreau said — were judged as significantly stronger than ventures to other favorite places in the city, including developed parklands. The results revealed links between the need for restoration (relief from worries and stress about money, jobs and the hectic pace of modern life) and the use of favorite places — what the social scientists call “environmental self-regulation strategies” — to achieve restorative benefits.

Exposure to nature even helps sick people recover faster.

Nature’s value in the recovery from illness has been quantified repeatedly. Studies have shown that post-surgery patients resting in rooms overlooking trees recovered better and faster than those in rooms with a view only of a brick wall. Another study demonstrated that women with breast cancer who walked in a park, watched birds or tended gardens recovered more quickly and were in better spirits than those with little or no contact with the natural world.

McKinney’s article ends with an apt quote from Thoreau: “We can never have enough of nature.”

You can read the complete article here.

Sunday’s Workout, 01.30.11

Trained with Travis, combing my favorite protocols of ladders, 15/15s, and 30/30s. Started with Hindu Push-Ups and Squats, 15/15, for 10-min. Then it was ladder time! We alternated between 1-arm Kettlebell Snatches and Clean & Presses, laddering up to 5 on each two times with 35# KBs. Finished with 15-min of swings, 30/30 style, switching between 1-arm and 2-arm swings.

Today’s Workout, 1.28.11

The theme for today… ladderpalooza! After some yoga to warm up, it was time to pull my weight. Laddered up to 3 in pull-ups, neutral grip chins, and chins. Then laddered up to 2 in each, and finally singles. Next, laddered up to 5 in push-ups 3 times. Grabbed a couple of 35# kettlebells, and did 3 sets of ladders up to 3 in Double Military Presses and Renegade Rows. Wrapped up with 12-min of swings, 30/30, alternating between 1-arm and 2-arm swings.

Today’s Workout, 1.26.11

I haven’t really been keeping up with my kettlebell snatch practice as much as I should. This realization dawned on me when one of my MMA training partners told me he would really like to learn the snatch. So today I decided to reintroduce snatches into my regimen.

I was pressed for time today, so I kept it short. After a brief warm-up, I grabbed a 35# KB and went to work. I did something different: reverse ladders. I started with 8 Snatches and 8 Clean & Presses, and then worked my way down–7,6,5, etc.–to 1. I kept rest periods really short; about 15-sec or so. Finished with a 30/30 session of kettlebell swings for 10-min, alternating between 1-arm and 2-arm swings.

Monday’s Workout, 1.24.11

Today’s workout was a modified repeat of Sunday’s workout. I trained with my friends Travis Ewing and Steven “The Soul Samurai” Saito. Warmed-up by swinging the Kali sticks freestyle for a few minutes. Followed with a 15/15 workout, alternating between Hindu push-ups and squats, for 10-min. Rested a bit, then moved on to Double Kettlebell Clean & Presses with two 35#KBs. We utilized the ladder technique, and did 3 ladders, each one up to 3. Next up was single KB Long Cycle Clean & Jerks for 5-min, switching hands every 5 reps.  Finished with a 30/30 session of kettlebell swings for 10-min, alternating between 1-arm and 2-arm swings.

One Athlete’s Vegetarian Journey

My friend and fellow martial artist, John Robinson of Lexington Jeet Kune Do, has launched a blog detailing his experiences with a plant-based diet. I wish him well, and look forward to following him on this exciting journey!

Today’s Workout, 1.23.11

Trained with Travis again today. Warmed-up by swinging the Kali sticks freestyle before moving on to some double-stick forms aka Sinawali for 10-min. Followed with a 15/15 workout, alternating between Hindu push-ups and squats, for 10-min. Rested a bit, then moved on to Double Kettlebell Clean & Jerks with two 35#KBs. We utilized the ladder technique, and did 3 ladders, each one up to 5. That come out to a total of 45 Double Clean & Jerks each. Next up was single KB Long Cycle Clean & Jerks for 5-min, switching hands every 5 reps.  Finished with a 30/30 session of kettlebell swings for 10-min, alternating between 1-arm and 2-arm swings.

Travis made a pretty astute observation regarding kettlebell training. Basically, he said you feel so good after a KB session, you end up forgetting just how hard the session itself really is. To me, that’s what a workout should be: You’re challenged while doing it, but feel great afterwards!