24 May 2009


Periodization has been a very interesting concept to me recently. Mostly because it's been something I've been reading about a lot in fitness training manuals and books. I recently finished reading a book by Ori Hofmekler called Maximum Muscle, Minimum Fat and I must say I'm really beginning to dig this biological stuff! He goes into the deeper details of fitness to the level of hormones and how our bodies are actually pretty damn balanced. I mean, it's very hard to get it out of whack unless you keep it that way chronically. It was quite interesting to finally really understand the biological processes that your body goes through that explains the reasoning for a zig-zag diet and how many extreme diets, like the low-carb diet are eventually going to come back and bite you in the ass. I've never been a fan of taking information at face value, I want to know why this information works before I'll truly believe it. I mean, learning about the mitochondria size of different muscle fibres and how they affect the ways your body burns fat is really interesting and brings a whole new level of insight into the ways I can design my own workout routines. Too often you see people say stuff like "oh I just follow this workout because it works", sure that's great, but eventually you're going to run into a brick wall because there are only so many generic workouts that'll work for you. Eventually you're going to get more and more specific with your goals and you'll have to work that way as well. Learning how different muscle fibres work and how they get trained has taught me to better understand why there are times when I'd feel like I had a blast working out and times when I'd feel fatigued at the gym. Woah :) Knowledge is awesome! I'm currently reading The Poliquin Principles and it goes into the finer details of things such as the science behind different speeds of lifting weights. It's awesome! I knew there was a lot to this point but most people are so focused on the exercise, they ignore the form!

I respect a movement's form because it ties into a lot of other things I do. My comedy requires a lot of body language and as they say, majority of your message gets communicated through your body, and only through a mind-muscle connection can you properly execute a smooth expression with your arms, legs, face, etc. The key here is to be as relaxed as possible so that you are in full control of everything. When you're under tension, it's harder to control things. It also ties into my drumming which always, always, always emphasizes on the idea of staying relaxed. Even at high speeds, the more tense you make your muscles, the harder it is for you to progress. Only through relaxation are you able to execute each movement properly and smoothly. At the same time, slow movements allow you to conciously notice the details of inbetweens. Just like when you watch a slowed down instant replay of a sports event, you get to see things you conciously missed (even if you subconciously noticed) and then really absorb everything.

I've slowly been noticing how my body isn't balanced physically. I'm not talking about the typical right arm stronger than left arm issue a lot of right-handed people suffer from, I'm referring to my level of flexibility. My left side is actually tighter than my right which in turn affects my posture as well as daily life. For example, for anyone who's bumped into me, you'll notice I almost always have a back-pack with me. I rarely ever leave the house without it because it contains my laptop and maybe a book, some snacks, my music (yay for big headphones!) and in the summer, a spare t-shirt and of course, my very, very vital water. Everytime I look into the mirror, I see my left-side strap lower than my right. As much as I balance the strap lengths, my shoulders seem lipsided. Yet when I'm standing straight without anything on my back, my shoulders are balanced. Then I started noticing my posture from different directions, most notably from the sides. It seems that due to the tighter chest muscles on my left side, my left shoulder leans a bit more forward than my right, thus causing an imbalance in my bag's weight. And so here I am constantly conciously reminding myself to force my left shoulder back a bit more so as to make it into a normal habit of mine. Muscle memory at work once again.

The more I dig into this, the more I'm noticing how my forearms are different too. I've recently been studying my left and right hand movements during drumming and my left hand is definitely a lot less flexible than my right and so I have to conciously force it to turn a bit more so as to stay in balance with my right hand. The joys of perfection. Sigh.

Going back to my title, periodization to many is the period of certain things happen, but to me it's a block that signals an expected time of a goal being achieved. It's like a period of time of going to work before you get your paycheck, I'm focusing on the paycheck so as to make each day seem worth treading through. Honestly, it's barely any fun watching your left hand do single strokes but I know as long as I work at it, by the end of a certain period, I should have matered the technique properly. And to be honest, my hand drumming speed has improved a lot recently through my single stroke practicing. Though I'm slowly feeling that I can't keep neglecting everything else :( Much like any training, the key is good for combined with holistic training that works everything. My biggest challenge is to better understand how long it takes for the Central Nervous System to usually recover from a tiresom training session before when I can train it again productively. So here goes another 10 days. By then, I should hopefully have moved onto the lovely double stroke rolls which my feet are dreading but have to master. Speaking of which, I think I'm going to hit the drums for a bit of practice. Especially since it's so darn gloomy and rainy outside, I don't want to think about the rest of the day :(.

So let's see how the next 10 days unfold, and how many of my goals I achieve! :D Charge!

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