The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Rest, Exercise, Nutrition

One of the things most interesting about the entire process of increasing or maintaining fitness is the necessity to maintain...(wait for it) balance between three aspects: rest, exercise, and nutrition. You know, if you have too much or too little of any of these things, the organism will not adapt successfull. Remember: as you attempt to increase stress on your body, you have to give yourself time to adapt to that stress. Your body doesn't grow stronger when you stress it: it grows stronger when you rest. The exercise, in that sense, is just a message to your brain that you have to get more physically fit in order to function in your world. There is a great deal of specificity in this: tell your body you need more endurance, you get more endurance. More strength, and you get more strength. More explosiveness, and you get more of this.
Recently, I was pushing myself in some core ways, playing with the Bruiser (more on that later), Hindu Squats and Pushups, and a new exercise protocol I won't talk about yet that Coach Sonnon is working with. I'll just say that it's arguably his most significant development, and will make his ideas available to an entirely new market. Very exciting.
But over the last year and a half, I've been dealing with mega-stress: new baby, moving, massive career upheavals. I've told you guys about some of the good stuff, but what I haven't stressed is the magnitude of the "Dark Night" that I had to go through to get there. Wow. Trust me, I will at some point. The reason I bring this up, however, is that rest has been hard to come by, at the same time that I've been hitting myself with massive physical, intellectual, and emotional stress. I'm afraid that that stress was doing everything in its power to become strain, and I had to use every trick I know to keep that from happening. Wasn't always successful, and that manefested as a sore, tired, weighed-down feeling, a descending spiral of fatigue and discouragement. The physical and emotional reinforce each other (which is why its so powerful to work on both simultaneously) so this felt like slogging through mud with a log across my shoulders.
So, I worked on every aspect of the Energy question I could think of. Rest: was I meditating enough? Getting enough quality sleep? Nutrition: was I eating well enough? Of the right quality and quantity of food? You know, both of these areas were pretty good. But in the exercise arena, I think I found a culpret. I'd actually been pushing myself too hard. The yoga, martial arts, Hindu Squats and so forth were simply taxing my recovery ability beyond its threshold, leading to a chronic sense of fatigue, where I never had a chance to catch my breath. Yuck. So as much as I hated the idea (ah! An exercise addiction symptom!) I backed off from the six day a week plan, and am now floating at around four days. We'll see how it works out, but today, having done nothign but the Warrior Wellness drills yesterday, I awoke feeling considerably better. And that's a necessity: the opportunities opening right now are vast and wonderful. I have to be ready for the challenge!



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