Sunday, June 28, 2009

Would you know if you had natural ability?

Most all of us that exercise dream of being a champion, sprinting out with the lead pack, running with the leaders and leaving the normal people behind. But if we had natural ability would we know it. In our dream reality of course we do but in our real reality are we just being our own worst enemy.

To start with there is a saying that "hard work will beat natural talent if natural talent doesn't work hard". We could very well be a natural but we don't pay our dues by putting out the effort required to nurture that talent. A panda saying is, "If a champion athlete woke up in your body would they treat it the way you do or would they prepare it to perform the way they need it to".

Just for fun let's assume you are that champion athlete that woke in your body today. The first thing you are probably going to do is take inventory of what you have to work with. Two arms Check, two legs Check, all the muscles in the right place Check, intake and exhaust system in place Check, lots of good potential for improvement and growth Check.

Now you have to look and what needs changing, Hummmm: A bit of extra fluff that needs to go, muscles that need a chance to grow strong and hard. A heart that needs to be exercised and fed right to keep it pumping strong and reliably beating. See this stuff is not going to be a problem because you woke as a champion and not a self doubting person unsure that you have any real ability or potential.

My challenge you everyone reading this is: Today let "I'm a champion", be your power mantra. When you are feeling hopeless to resist snacking remember "I'm a champion" and I choose not to snack. "I'm a champion", I will do my walk, run, bike, swim ect... today. If you don't believe you have potential you won't have it. The choice is yours, to quote the Hobbit, "The mold of your life is in your hands to break".

Rambling Panda

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Turning up the Heat!

The times when our motivation is taxed the most is during the cold days of winter and the hot days of summer. These are the times we have to train for being tough. It's much easier to go out walking or running on a pretty spring morning or a pleasant fall evening. But it's the days that are the hottest and coldest that build us as athletes.

We are approaching the hottest most humid days of summer. Most of us do races during this time of year so we should be training for the conditions as well as the distance. When it's already hot and humid at 6am when we head out you need to Panda Up, get your Grrrrr on and get it done. You will have an edge when you race because to you the heat won't be a problem.

The secret to hard workouts in the heat is number one staying hydrated. Just drinking while you exercising and after you finish won't get it done, you need to be drinking water all day long. Even at work keep a water source close so you can have a cup or two every hour. I work with people that will keep a large soda or coffee handy to drink when they are thirsty. This won't get it done either, no caffeine or high sugar and chemical mixes work for staying hydrated. Water, flavored water, a sports drink or caffeine free herb tea are all good choices.

Dress for success. Wear light weight tech materials with good ventilation. Leave the hand weights at home. I see people out all the time with those little hand weights, swinging their arms and thinking they are doing themselves good. Wear a cap to shade our face and eyes. Sweat doesn't evaporate in high humidity so cool materials are a must.

Look for routes with shade if you can. A wooded park is a better choice than along a highway. But if along a highway is all ya got then go with it. Keep your speed a little lower till your body gets acclimated to the heat, that can take a week or two. Also keep your distance shorter till you can handle the heat better.

Using a little caution and some common sense you can learn to perform very well in hot humid conditions. You might find that you are beating people who used to beat you.

Thanks for reading.

Rambeling Panda

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Choosing to Live

As people approach their forties, fifties, sixties and beyond they begin to think about their own mortality. We start wondering how it is we will go, will we have a heart attack laying in our beds and have to be raced to the emergency room. Or will they be overcome with cancer, perhaps a stroke will cripple then kill us later when we have become to weak to fight anymore. These thoughts are especially prevalent among people who have abused themselves with food, drink and smoke.

One of the front line, main event reasons for choosing to follow a healthy lifestyle is to prolong our time on the planet. It's never been proven that adult athletes live longer, but I think they do. It is proven that they have a much better quality of life. It has to be better living into the eighties an longer and leading an active life style instead of being cared for in a nursing home. I really don't want someone changing my diapers when I'm really old. I want to still be picking my next race.

Adult athletes who exercise regularly, eat well and deal with stress usually are not dependent on prescription drugs to help with their quality of life. I take an occasional Advil or Aspirin for a sore spot but that's all. I can even live without that if I needed to, a little ice and stretching usually takes care of those sore places.

No matter what age you are now, it's never to early to make a choice to live. Sit down with a tablet and pencil and make two columns one column list all your reasons for living, then in the other column list all the reasons you want to die young. I'll bet your live list is way longer than your die list. It sounds morbid but when your 45 and in that emergency room with the medics working on you it's to late to say I wish I had took better care of myself.

Choose to not just live but choose to live strong and well.

Thanks for reading.

Rambeling Panda

Monday, June 15, 2009


We are taught by society and government to be submissive and do what we are told so we can make a living and stay out of jail. Don't you think our turn the other cheek, please life don't hit me anymore, how may I serve you today self needs a little butt kicking time of it's own?

Sport was designed to give us that pay back, that chance to for a little while stop being the admin assistant who knows the bosses job better then he does or the junior partner in the firm that's tired of doing as the company says and show what she can really do. The waitress or the retail clerk that is going to puke if they have to say "how may I serve you one more time".

There are words and phrases that speak to a different part of us, a part that is ready to put it on the line and give full measure, words that put fire in our eyes and determination in our hearts. Words that say it's time for your untamed side to say "Bring it on"!

For a cowboy it's "Rodeo".

For a beach boy or girl it's "Surfs Up".

For an endurance athlete it's "Marathon".

Yeah there is risk and the chance to fail, but there is also a opportunity for you to tell that domestic worker bee side of you to take a seat and let your wild side kick a little butt.

If you feel like I do that sometimes you just have to lay it on the line and tell that submissive side that it's not in charge, you are. Then give me a heart felt "Hell Yeah"!

Thanks for reading

Racing Panda

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Step One Believe

I think all training plans to prepare for a distance event should start with the phrase: Step one Believe in yourself. When you believe you can do something your half way to doing it. If you doubt your ability, you will have a hard time every step of the way.

I fit patients with glasses and many of them are getting their first bifocal with out lines. So many of them come in with preconceived ideas about how hard it is going to be for them to get used to them. I can usually tell in the first few minutes of talking to them if they will succeed or fail with the new bifocals. If they have an open mind and ready to make it work they have no problems at all. But the ones who buy into what aunt Martha or cousin Fred have told them about how hard it will be are indeed going to have a hard time.

The same goes for endurance events. If you dwell on how long the distance is and how hard it will be and how little time you have to train and get ready, it will be tough. But if you believe in yourself and look at the training as a fun, exciting journey to a new and stronger you, then you will not only do super but have a blast along the way.

In this age of failing economy having an activity like regular walking or running in a double blessing. Since training is much cheaper than other forms of entertainment and it makes you healthier also. If you can do your distance training with a significant other you can use it as a way to open a wonderful way to communicate better, we all know that is a blessing for any relationship. When you have a training partner who believes in you it can make it much easier for you to believe in yourself.

Henry Ford said, "If you think you can or you think you can't, your right", that really sums it up well. Believe in the power within you and get it done.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Battle Within

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all..

"One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

"The other is Good - It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

"The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?

"The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Thank you Bob.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Life Cycles

Our lives are a series of cycles and trying to brake one cycle to start another is often hard. Your mind and body have to be ready. I'm sure everyone has gone through periods where one activity seems to be easy and others you have to work at and they never seem easy.

We go through periods where we what to read and we can go through several books and even whole book series. While at other times we go through periods where we can't read more than a few pages before we are done. These cycles are normal and part of being human.

There will be periods where eating well and exercising will be easy and require almost no will power to do. Other times we just can't seem to get it together no matter how hard we try. So what is the secret? Who knows, these cycles are going to happen, the task is to make sure you take advantage of them when the good cycles come around.

I've been exercising for most of my adult life and eat pretty well, but there have been spells where I just couldn't get into it, these slug cycles have lasted from a few weeks to several years. Then all of a sudden I'm back at it and training again like I'd never stopped except that I've had to regain all my lost fitness, which varies by how long I laid off.

I've found that when the time comes to get back into a healthy routine it's easy to start and it stays easy for some time then as my mind and body starts getting in a mood for another cycle my challenge is to make the cycle I want interesting enough that my mind and body will go along with keeping the good cycle going.

Goals, wants and desires all help as do exciting activities. If your motivation level is starting to drop from just walking, running, biking or what ever you are currently doing, then spice it up. Dream a little and shoot for some excitement. Races are awesome for pumping up your mojo. So are body changing goals. You can have a quest for a slimmer waist or faster race times. I have found that a good goal is often a desired small change.

We are fortunate that we can pick races from a couple of miles to the ultra marathons and there are races of all distances almost every weekend somewhere close. If you have been doing only 5Ks then try a longer slower race, or if you have done nothing but half and full marathons try one of the shorter faster races.

Vacation trips with races are good ways to keep your motivation level up. Be determined that you are going to be ready and able to finish strong. Make a body goal to go along with it. If you usually have a desert at lunch take the money you would have spent for that desert and put it in a jar, ear mark it for new slimmer clothes for your vacation. A couple of bucks a day adds up.

When you have your healthy living cycle going treat it like a good marriage, like a marriage a good healthy cycle is worth the work to keep it going, both will suffer from neglect. Make a pact with yourself that you will put in the effort.

Thanks for reading.

Committed Panda