Saturday, September 28, 2013

How to Achieve Success with a Dose of Grit and Willpower

Dose of Grit and Willpower: How to Achieve Success

GRIT: Defined
To achieve success in any endeavor requires skill and knowledge, and a good dose of Grit and Willpower. Success comes to those that are able to endure through hardship and setbacks. 
Great accomplishments are found in athletic, business and personal stories with those individuals having modest levels of natural ability, educational background, IQ, or social standing.

There are many stories of great athletic performance that are told of the guy or gal that was too small, too slow, or did not go through the acceptable route to achieve at a high level. Some of these stories have been made into Hollywood Movies:

Michael Oher, "The Blind Side"

Rudy Ruettiger, "Rudy",

And then there are the teams of notable over achievers like the legendary upset victory of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team.

Overcoming personal obstacles are what makes for success in life, and sometimes these stories become legend. There are those that have succeeded despite physical handicap, like Amy Palmiero-Winters, that ran a marathon in 3 hours and 4 minutes after losing a leg in accident. She was quoted, "nothing good is ever easy and is never done alone".

+Les Dossey  emphasizes that getting Gritty is a "journey not a sprint".

These stories demonstrate that with willpower and grit you can be inspired to overcome adversity despite physical limitations, or lack of natural physical ability. This is held true to pursuing a business opportunity, mastering a new skill, our children's education and health pursuits.

What often gets in our way is ourselves', this constant battle between what we want to do and what we should do. Acting with willpower, or that ability to resist short-term temptations in order to reach long-term visions, or goals. +Kelly McGonigal a leading authority on willpower, and author of Willpower Instinct explains that(see video) controlling willpower is all about understanding the psychology of willpower.

"The biggest enemies of willpower:temptation, self-criticism, and stress. (...) these three skills - self-awareness, self-care, and remembering what matters most -- are the foundation for self-control".  - Kelly McGonigal

You can strengthen your Willpower by these three ways:

  • Plan for times when your self-control is depleted. Do not grocery shop when you are hungry, and tired from a long day of work.
  • Exercise you willpower muscle. By regularly working on your willpower through mental and emotional challenges you are actually strengthening your self-control for the long-term.
  • Drink a glass of Fresh Fruit Juice. Glucose provides a dose of blood sugar that helps with mental function, and willpower.

Achieving success must have a strong dose of willpower, and that ability to look at how your present actions require attention for future, long-term benefit.

What is Grit?

Showing up to do the work, over and over. Spending extra hours scouring through game film and opponent tendencies. Listening to book on tape, or a YouTube video on learning and doing by  +Timothy Kenny , writing between the lines of a book, making note cards and studying them in short chunks of time, all add up to a single-minded focus on a task. This is GRIT. It is a consistency of passion and effort in the face of struggle or obstacles. It is not about how your actions benefit a short-sighted goal, but that which adds to the skill and knowledge for the long-term goal. Effort builds knowledge and skill.

Maria Popova of Brainpickings says it best,
"Character is at least as important as intellect"
as she reviews the work of McArthur Genius Award winner, Angel Duckworth.

Angel Duckworth - "...have the qualities of dogged perseverance and sustained passion toward long term goals. she coined a term for this quality: GRIT. Duckworth believed GRIT could predict success above and beyond traditional metrics of intelligence such as IQ."

Research by Duckworth suggests that Grit is as influential to high achievement as intelligence.

How Much Grit do You Have?

Take the Short GRIT Scale to see how Gritty you are. 

Positive character traits of self-control, willpower and grit can benefit, and add skill and knowledge. The energy put forth to achieving a goal comes in the form of extra effort, or spending time on a task, and having passion toward what you are striving for.

Elements to successfully build achievement:

  • Speed of thought about a task. This is in terms of knowledge and skill a person has about a task.
  • Executing deliberate planning, creativity and reflection are slow processes that improve the outcome.
  • The ability to accumulate information in a specific unit of time, that becomes knowledge, on a given task. 
  • The more time on a task, or effort, will benefit the knowledge and skill needed to achieve a goal.

Personal achievement in your life endeavors is an element of well-being, and one that will allow you to flourish in your personal, business and health pursuits. Building willpower to resist the short-term temptations that obstruct what we desire, and perseverance and determination is the "true grit" influencing your ultimate achievement and success in life.

If You Have Read This Complete Post, or Can Contribute Your Feedback, Please Leave a Comment Below.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Change Your Mind About Stress: Connect, Care & Compassion

The capacity to change our mind about stress, and connect with ourselves' and others, has great impact on our well-being. The nature of our work, how we engage with others, sharing and receiving with purpose and empathy, all have a positive effect on our health and well-being. We must stop for a moment, give attention, and change how we relate to, if not be friends with stress +Eli Davidson .

+Mark Traphagen  Why Give Away Your Expertise

Stress can be a state of disequilibrium. When we give to much of our self there is imbalance. The gift of giving, with compassion, restores this imbalance. Much the way a healthcare giver, or one that shares knowledge.

Stress can be caused by disattention. This leads to disconnection (imbalance), that leads to disregulation(loss of the feedback loop). This creates an internal imbalance, or disorder. This may ultimately lead to a disease of some system of the body(Schwartz, Gary, in Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn).

Stress can be linked to many physical and mental diseases, as well as our productivity and personal relationships, that effect how we function at work and home. Health practitioners have focused on how to treat these disorders. The focus has been on how to "not stress out", and the 20 ways to eliminate stress in your life.

How to befriend stress is another matter.
These are positive influences on how stressful life events can change our well-being. 

Stress, when approached from a positive psychology perspective, has the ability to develop resiliency through:
  • Positive emotions 
  • Meaning, or Optimism about the Future
  • Relationships

Recent research has demonstrated that by connecting with others in a meaningful way, providing care and compassion, has a way of relieving stress, and making stress our friend.
Let us fill our hearts with our own compassion, 
Towards ourselves, towards all human beings 
- Thich Nhat Hanh

At the core of our well-being is the compassionate heart. This is a deep empathy for the help or giving to another person.

How can we work this "compassionate heart" for our own well-being and others?

Compassion Meditation

Knowledge-sharing not only creates a better world, but
brings esteem, loyalty,
and authority back to the one who share it. - 
+Mark Traphagen 

Our present culture of social media has at the core the ability to provide a great resource for connecting to, caring and giving with compassion. This is the sharing of knowledge that we give to others through our relations in social media platforms. We have the ability to add value to someones life.


The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can DoTo Get More of It

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World

Sunday, September 15, 2013

How Exercise Intensity Benefits Muscle Function and Performance

The Beneifts of Exercise Intensity: Muscle Function, Training and Performance

Exercise Training Intensity is an essential variable to any exercise program. If you are an athlete with the goal of high performance, trying to lose weight, or just seeking to improve your function, exercise intensity must be considered in your program design.
How Exercise Intensity is varied during an training session has everything to do about the goal that you desire. The benefits of training is a foundation to maximizing results. 

If your goal is to lose weight, intensity can manipulated to increase your metabolism.

If your goal is to increase speed, intensity must be considered to improve neuromuscular function.

If your goal is to increase strength, at any age, there must be increased intensity of muscular function to maximize performance.

To maximize the results of a training program it is important to know what your maximum intensity. This includes understanding your maximum ability to lift a weight, run a specific distance, or your heart rate response to a given workload (stationary bike, treadmill, or walk/run distance). 

Training intensity when engaged an any fitness program must be determined with the assistance of a skilled Medical Professional or Fitness Expert.

+Steve Hoyles describes varied methods to increase exercise intensity:

  • Supersets
  • Tabata Method
  • Pauses (during negative phase of lift)
  • Time Under Tension (Super Slow Reps)
  • Intervals 
The fundamental purpose of your training is to improve your fitness and functionality, and these are sure-fire ways of doing this.  - Steve Holyes

Developing strength and the ability to perform activities of high intensity are predictors of maintaining function as the body ages.

The ability to engage in activities around the home, outdoors, or in social or recreational pursuits has everything to do with your body's ability to perform work. This can include hiking into nature, rearranging the garage, or dancing at your child's wedding. So shake a leg and start a fitness program that engages your body to perform at higher intensities.

Increasing fitness requires attention to exercise intensity to reap the benefits of muscle function and performance at any age, pursuit or fitness goal. 
If you desire a training program, specifically designed to meet your health, fitness, or performance goals contact me by completing the below form.

Click Here  Lean Fitness Start-Up

Friday, September 13, 2013

How to Train Like the US Soccer Team: Speed and Endurance Conditioning

Conditioning for Speed and Endurance: Train Like US Soccer Team

The conditioning for high-intensity athletic performance, as is required for the +U.S. Soccer Team, requires special speed and endurance work.

Performing repeated bouts of high intensity, short sprints, with rest bouts of 30 to 40 seconds places demands on the lactic acid and phoso-creatine system. A strong aerobic base is required for sports of continuous work with short bouts of sprint and agility, and varied rest, or lower intensity efforts.

Speed testing provides information to gain the athlete's maximum sprint time. The distance will require a 30-40 meter distance. Within this distance measures of acceleration, flying 20 meter, and speed in terms of time covered in the total distance. Using speed traps that measure the time in each zone allow the performance coach to gather a complete picture of the athlete's speed measures.

When testing for speed endurance the athlete will then perform repeat 30 meter sprints with short, 25-30 second recovery. The athlete runs at maximum level with each 30 meter sprint. This is repeated 6 to 7 times, measuring the time of each sprint bout.

The intermittent, short bouts of rest interrupting the sprints is much like the football athlete returning to a huddle before the next play, or the basketball player sprinting to the opposite side of the court.

An Athlete conditioned specifically to meet the demands of their sport is a prepared athlete, and many prepared athletes are a prepared team.

When training specifically for speed and +Speedendurance. com  rest intervals must be provided to accomplish the desired goals of the workout session. In the case of speed and speed endurance, rest intervals provide the recovery necessary to train at near maximal intensity. This intensity must be no more than 10% decay of a maximal effort. If this is not allowed to occur then the athlete will be training the aerobic system.

Learn More on GamePlan for Athetic Success

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Testing and Developing Speed Endurance

Soccer Speed Endurance
Developing speed endurance is important for maintaining a near maximal speed. Speed endurance is important in track sprinting events (100m to 400 meters) and in team sports, such as soccer and football, where there are repeated bouts of sprinting that may last from 4 to 10 seconds. In the case of soccer, speed endurance is critical for maintaining near maximal efforts of sprinting interrupted by bouts of lower intensity effort. To best achieve this ability of repetitive bouts of high-end speed (intensity greater than 90%), the effort must be interrupted with rest, or decreased work intensity, so that lactic acid does not accumulate. If this is allowed to take place the speed will decrease. The glycolytic (anaerobic) energy system will fatigue, and the oxidative (aerobic) energy system will resume responsibility as the primary supplier of energy.

"If the intensity of the speed endurance workout is not maintained, greater than 90%, the anaerobic capacity of the athlete will not be challenged, and the workout becomes an aerobic training session."   
Tudor Bompa, Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training(5th Edition)

Training the aerobic energy system is important for speed endurance. This is particularly the case for the soccer athlete where continuous work is performed for sustained, yet varied intensities and durations. The athlete's capacity to perform sustained work will be maximized by an improved aerobic capacity. An athlete that has a good aerobic base is better prepared for the recovery that is required between short bursts of speed (high intensity effort). Aerobic training is performed at lower intensities than speed endurance, or anaerobic endurance training. 

Sport specific training must be considered when planning a training program with the goal of speed endurance. Sports that require speed endurance include:

  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Football(skilled positions)
  • Track(components of sprinting and middle distance running)
Sprint Speed Endurance

Field and Court sports require the sport specific nature of change of direction and must be included in the training process. A great example is the basketball athlete that must often sprint the length of the court, settle into a degree of short change of direction movements, then sprint to the other end of the court. There is a constant back and forth, with varied degrees of intensity.

The Athlete with a sound aerobic capacity will fare well with speed endurance training. A base of aerobic conditioning allows the athlete to recover more rapidly between the bouts of increased exertion, or high intensity work bouts.

Example of speed endurance training:
  • Place two cones: 30 meters apart.
  • Run 30 meters up and 30 meters back (60 meters)
  • Rest 30-40 seconds with light jog or walk around the start line.
  • Repeat this until unable to maintain >90% intensity level. 

The goal is to perform the up and back sprints at >90% of a 30 meter sprint.

Speed endurance testing is determined by repeat bouts of 30-meters with a slow jog back to the start line. This rest recovery duration should approximate 30 seconds. Each 30 meter sprint time is recorded. The fastest time is compared to the slowest time with 6 to 7 reps of 30 meters. A good speed endurance indicator is having less than 10% decay from the fastest recorded 30 meters. 

The Speed endurance test is a great pre-season test for individuals and teams to perform. Keep a record. It can be useful in determining the specific fitness of the team as a whole, providing valuable information for fitness training.

With some imagination and attention to exercise physiology the athlete will reap the rewards of speed endurance training. It is important to develop all systems of the athlete in a year round training program. Emphasis is always given to overall health and fitness of the athlete, and the sport specific demands that performance training provides.