Back in April, I decided to get an MRI done on my knee. I had hurt it about 10 years prior and it still bothered me now and then. So living in Thailand where medical procedures are cheap, I thought - "what the heck, let's see if there's anything there".
The results came back showing that my knee was completely healthy - no signs of injury. It was great news, I was glad to know that the self work I had done paid off and that my body had healed nicely.
The very next week as, I was practicing a side flip at the local gymnastics gym, I landed wrong and injured the exact same knee I had just had an MRI on! Bummer. It had been a great session before the incident. Back to the doctor I went - this time the MRI showed up with a slight fracture to my knee. I left the doctor's office with the sinking feeling that comes with knowing that it may be a while before I could walk pain-free, let alone perform acrobatics.
Within two months, I was back at it - tumbling on our Air Track floor** and I'm walking pain free with my range of motion completely restored. Incidentally, I used the very same techniques to heal my ankle after another tumbling injury about two years ago. I can honestly say that I have never healed from injuries like this so quickly and with so much lasting success. In the next article I'll tell you how I did it.
**If you're interested in getting your very own Air Track floor, mention Ramman Turner at Primordial Playground and we will get a small referral payment. It's no extra cost to you, but it helps us to continue to find great tools to help you with your training.
Remember this picture?
A few weeks ago, we posted about the basics of the Top to Bottom process of Digestion. We also included the basics of the Ingestion and some steps you can take to improve the ingestion of the foods you eat. You can read up on the article here.
After you ingest your foods, they move down through your body on quite a journey that includes a lot of chemical reactions and transformations. In fact, the saying about mixing foods that "it will all end up in the same place" is actually only partly true.
When you swallow your food, it becomes what's called bolus and it enters the esophagus en route to the stomach. The stomach secretes gastric juices from millions of tiny gastric glands that are found in the mucosal lining of the stomach. These gastric juices are made up of mucous, the proenzyme pepsinogen which converts to the enzyme pepsin, and hydrochloric acid (HCl). Together, HCl and pepsinogen begin to break down the proteins into smaller strings of amino acids.
The stomach needs to be very acidic to ensure this process runs smoothly. When the HCl is excreted into the stomach, its pH is 0.8 - that's almost pure acid! The acid plays many important roles including:
Food ---> bolus ---> bolus + gastric juices = chyme
Chyme is a very acidic paste that is released into the small intestine. The chyme has to be very acidic as it leaves the stomach so it can trigger the small intestine to secrete mucous to move the chyme along. The hormones secretin and cholecystokinin (CCK) are also secreted at this point.
As you may have already figured out, this is not such an easy process (and I've only given the highlights). We should thank our bodies each and every day for taking us through this process! Unfortunately, there are quite a few sticky points along the way.
1. Approximately 90% of Americans produce TOO LITTLE HCl. Low stomach acid (NOT HIGH) causes heartburn, or GERD. If there is not enough acid in the stomach, foods do not get broken down (carbs ferment, fats go rancid, proteins putrefy). These poorly digested foods cause a reflux (backward flow) into the esophagus. The esophagus is sensitive to the acidic foods, causing pain.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
2. Your gallbladder does not function correctly so your fats are not broken down effectively.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
3. Leaky gut syndrome - Undigested proteins and other foods impact the ability of the villi and microvilli to absorb the micro nutrients. The lining becomes leaky as the selectivity of what can pass into the blood stream is lost and overwhelms the immune system.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
If you’ve enjoyed this article, please consider purchasing some of the recommendations from the links provided. The price to you is no different, but we can receive a small commission when you click through our links. Consider it a donation for allowing us to continue providing high-quality advice through our blog and emails.
One of the biggest challenges to getting and staying in shape is remaining committed to regular physical training. Much of this stems from feeling like we don’t have enough time, space, or equipment to get it done.
With all of our traveling lately, sometimes in unconventional locations, we’ve been challenged to really embrace the philosophy that you can get in shape and stay in shape ANYWHERE, regardless of your circumstances.
With a little knowledge and creativity, you can create a physical training environment that is superior to any one gym; one that can be tailored to your specific needs and goals, and often at a much cheaper price (BONUS!!)
For this post, we wanted to start with the basics, the stuff that we carry with us everywhere!
Primordial Traveler’s Kit – the very least of what you need to be in rockin’ shape
The Roll-Model Starter Kit is my favorite set of tools for total body management
When you get up in the morning, try standing up tall, straighten your knees, and try to touch your toes. How did it go? Now, take one of your handy marbles (we always carry one of the larger ones) and spend some time stepping on the marble and rolling into the tender spots of the foot (put as much pressure as is tolerable). Spend 2-5 minutes on each foot, then remove the marble and try the toe-touch-test again. More than likely, your flexibility will have increased. This is because of the little known myofascial connection between your feet and the back of your body.
Jump Stretch Bands
Heavy lifting bands come in various levels of thickness/resistance. We use them mostly for tractioning joints like the shoulders and hips. Whether tractioning the joints as a warm-up for better positioning in your exercises or as a cool down to speed recovery, we make sure we pack these bands!
Another great tool for shoulder mobilizing. They are also popular in the physical therapy world for strengthening rotator cuff muscles, etcetera. They come in various levels of resistance that are color-coded and there are at least a dozen exercises we use them for.
Voodoo Floss Band
One word… Magic. Popularized by Kelley Starrett from Mobility WOD.com, these long bands may not look like much, but wrap one around a sticky elbow or painful knee and do some small movements and you’ll see what we mean. Once the band is removed, you’ll feel how much healthier the joint feels.
Expand-Your Hands Bands
Not a day goes by that we don’t need strong hands. Whether we’re using our hands flat on the ground for handstands or clinging the bar for pull-ups, we found that it’s important to balance the muscles of the wrist extensors. Got some pain in your wrist? Use these bands to expand your hand!
A classic tool for getting a great aerobic workout in a small amount of space. We like the adjustable speed rope variety like the one in the link above.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle
This is a multi-functional element to the kit. Not only can you fill it with pure, clean water to keep you hydrated during your training, but it also doubles as a good roller for getting into tight-ass quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes – really, you name it, you got it! We recommend getting one of the sturdy insulated ones.
Chalk Bag and Refillable Chalk Ball
This is a standard accessory for most rock-climbers. We also carry one because we never know when we’ll find something that’s nice to climb on. It’s also handy for keeping your sweaty palms dry when swinging kettle bells and doing pull-ups.
Good video recording device
In order to ensure quality form in our exercises, we often film ourselves performing movements. This way we can look back and see whether we’re doing things right (or just fooling ourselves). There are plenty of options out there, we use the camera on our iPhones and it works great!
We love the Joby GP1-A1EN Gorillapod Flexible Tripod. It holds smaller digital cameras and smartphones and has flexible legs that can even wrap around objects. With this packable tripod, you'll be able to easily get the angle you want!
A Good pair of Training shoes
The minimalist, low-rise shoe is an important part of your training. You need something that’s comfy and with good traction, but also lets you really feel the activity you’re doing. These are some of our top three favorites. I've provided links to the men's models but they are available in women's as well.
There countless upper-body exercises that can be done on gymnastics rings. Whenever possible, we bring along a pair because of their portability and versatility.
DynaFlex Wrist Exerciser
Like the Finger Bands above, this gyroscopic device is an innovative way to keep your wrists and fore-arms strong and healthy. Great for people suffering from wrist pain.
A handy little tool that can also be used to strengthen the hands, wrists, and forearms no matter where you are. Just squeeze and play with the dough for a few minutes, stretching and molding it and you’ll feel what we mean. You can also try squeezing it between fingers (like fore-finger and middle-finger, etc) to get a whole different experience strengthening your fingers.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, please consider purchasing some of the equipment at our Amazon Affiliate Store. The price to you is no different, but we can receive a small commission when you click through our links. Consider it a donation for allowing us to continue providing high-quality advice through our blog and emails.
There’s a lot of information out there about “good” nutrition. “Eat this”. “Don’t eat that”. “Our way is right”. “Their Way is wrong”. You know what I mean. Well, I’m not going to add to that conversation, not in this post anyhow. What I do want to address is that old saying, “You are what you eat”. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but what does it mean?
The simplest way to talk about this is through digestion. Everything that goes into your body becomes a part of your body until it leaves again. It becomes a part of your cells, your tissues, even your structure. You truly are what you eat.
Digestion includes the process of eating and drinking. It involves using the ingested nutrients for energy and building materials. It also includes the elimination of waste when you go to the bathroom.
I call this the Top to Bottom process. Generally speaking, nutrients enter your body through the top of your body (e.g. your mouth). Once your body assimilates what it needs from your food or drink, it ends up at the bottom (e.g. in the toilet). Here's the big picture:
It’s a pretty simple process, really. Just put food in your mouth and get the benefits out of it, right? Wrong!! Over the next few posts, I’ll be giving you ways to optimize your digestion through wise, informed choices. This is information you must understand if you want to develop a stronger, healthier body to last a long time.
So, let’s dive in!
The first phase of digestion is INGESTION. This is the process by which food enters your body. It’s this part here:
Your brain actually kicks-off the digestion process. You get a whiff of something cooking that smells good; you see a delicious-looking plate of food pass you by; or maybe you hear someone tell of an amazing meal they had. You start to realize that you’re hungry. Your stomach rumbles as the brain tells it that food is on the horizon. It triggers down-stream processes within the body that are only used for the digestion of food.
Your mouth starts to salivate at the thought of food. One component of the saliva is called salivary amylase, the first of many digestive enzymes to break down your food. This one happens to begin the chemical breakdown of carbohydrates (starches and sugars).
The food is further broken down through the mechanical process of chewing. Afterward, your food continues its path south.
That’s it – that’s the first phase of the Top to Bottom Digestion Process. Now – let’s look at some places where this process can go wrong.
1. You don’t make time for meals. Or rather, you fit eating into the nooks and crannies of your day and don’t give yourself time to slow down and digest. You see, you need to be in a parasympathetic state (i.e. not stressed) in order to digest your food.
2. You don’t chew your food thoroughly enough to break it down sufficiently. If you don’t take the time to chew your food, your brain doesn’t get the message to trigger the complete digestive process. The production of saliva is also not complete as you gulp down your food.
That’s it for INGESTION. Next time we’ll look at the second phase of digestion—ASSIMILATION.
We all make mistakes—that’s okay but it’s whether we learn from these mistakes that matter. It is the speed at which we learn from our mistakes that determines how long it takes to reach our goals.
If you don’t have a good way for setting goals you definitely need to read this. Click here.
However, if you already have a solid method for setting goals, the following are some basic ways to shorten the time it takes to become successful at anything.
1. Rapid Feedback
In order to avoid making more mistakes than necessary, you need a system that provides you with a clear understanding of when you’re on the right track and when you’re not. When setting goals, you need frequent checkpoints that show you how things are doing. This way you can make adjustments to your behavior along the way. Examples of rapid feedback are having a good coach or accountability partner. This is someone how won’t hesitate to let you know when you are making mistakes and the steps you can take to fix them. Another powerful tool for fast feedback is taking a video recording of yourself practicing a skill with your smart phone or other device. This works especially well with goals like learning new physical movements, becoming a better teacher, or polishing your public speaking. When you see yourself on camera, it is easier to see what you need to change.
For most of my life, I’ve kept numerous journals and notes on just about everything I’ve learned. My journals take the form of everything from notebooks, loose scraps of paper, video footage (see above), voice recordings, and notes on my smart phone. Whatever your preference, find an easy way for you to get your ideas and insights down on paper because you never know if they will come in handy later on. In fact, in was my habit of journaling that helped me write the books I am now sell for a living. I cannot stress the importance of regularly reviewing your journals. They provide you with a clear map of where you came from, what you have learned, and where you still need to focus your self-discipline.
3. Set yourself up for success
Strive to create a living environment and daily routine that inspires you to do the things that will make you successful. If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t fill your cupboards with junk food. If you’re trying to save money, don’t spend money on things that won’t bring your closer to your goal. Finally, don’t hang out with people who aren’t supportive of your goals whenever possible. They will hinder you in the realization of your dream.
4. Take responsibility for your thoughts and actions
You are the only one who can decide how you want to live your life. When situations come up that seem to pull you off track, it’s up to you to stop making excuses and find a way to refocus and persevere on the path to your happiness. Use positive self-talk, breathing exercises, or meditation to control the way you think and how you act on a daily basis.
5. Build Your Support Network
You are not an island. There are other people in this world who share similar goals to yours. Some of them have already achieved them. If you can find other people who share your vision or already excel in something your want to learn, find ways to get their help. This is one of the most powerful ways to achieve what you want out of life.
For an in-depth exploration into how to clear your mind of limiting thoughts, realize your potential and create the life you want to live, read my book War of Self: The 7 Weapons of Self-Mastery