Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Attention all CrossFit Games Open competitors! A special offer.

The Open is upon us, and every year it provides us with opportunities to test ourselves, and see just what we are capable of.  You've been training all year, and working on your skill or strength gaps.

So don't stop pushing to get the most out of yourself and neglect your recovery during the games.

Massage can help aide recovery, alleviate nagging muscular pain, and in turn, improve performance.  That's why many collegiate and professional teams have massage therapists on their training staff, and many athletes seek out massage even in excess of what the team offers.

I want to help you perform your best, reach new heights and impress yourself in the Open, so I'm offering a special package for competitors in the CrossFit Games Open.

If you are participating in the Games Open, I am offering a two and a half hour punch card, for the already discounted price of a 2-hour punch card.  That's five 30-minute massage sessions: one for each week of the Open, a $225 value, for only $125.

If 30 minutes each week won't be enough time for you, the 5-hour punch cards are always available for a price of $285, but for for Open competitors, the price will be $250.

I want you to purchase this, and we can address performance-limiting tightness and trigger points before each week's WOD, to help you perform your best.  Or, we can address the tightness and soreness from a week's WOD, in the days afterwards.

To set up an appointment and purchase your punch card, you can reach me by phone, or email: 404-425-9593 ; eric@squaremassage.com

Monday, February 17, 2014

Some ideas to help you become more of a morning person.

I wrote this last week, during a snow day in Atlanta:

In the past few months, I’ve been doing a lot to try to increase my focus and productivity.  This is no easy task, and it’s definitely an ongoing process.  I’m writing this during the second big “winter weather” storm in the Atlanta area in the past two weeks.  Since everyone was well prepared for it this time, today is a snow day, with my wife and I both home from work. That makes productivity even more elusive, since all anyone wants to do on a snow day is drink hot chocolate, watch movies or play in the snow. None of those are especially productive.

After allowing ourselves some time to lay in bed and watch the storm coverage this morning, we discussed if we should work out then, or later.  We chose to work out first thing, and had a brief conversation about how exercising can help clear the mind, and help one focus again.  Starting a day with a workout can set the tone for the rest of day and alleviate some of the mental “noise” of worrying about making the time for exercise, in between the other things that happen during an average day.

It’s been counterintuitive in many ways, but it works, and I’ve been actively using this strategy, lately.  When I feel like my day is getting away from me, or my focus is waning and I cannot rein it in, I set aside time for a workout, ASAP.  Yesterday, I was so preoccupied with being productive in two separate arenas, that I couldn’t stick with one, and the result was stalemate.  Since my office is in a gym, I wrote down a quick list of things I wanted to accomplish later, changed my clothes, left my office, and got on the rowing machine.  I tried to forget about my to-do list, and an hour and a half later, I walked back in my office, feeling accomplished and more capable of focusing.  From then on, I think I was able to accomplish more with the rest of my day than if I hadn’t stopped to exercise.  

Getting my workout in allowed me to have a sense of accomplishment, and an endorphin rush.  It also allowed me to blow off some of the stress I’d been building up about not being as productive as I’d have liked.

The more I can move my workouts to the beginning of my day, the more hours of my day can benefit from that effectiveness.  So, I’m continuing to work on making myself more of a morning person.  Earlier this year, I saved an article from Lifehacker, A Night Owl’s Guide to More Productive Mornings, about becoming a morning person, and I’m already doing a couple things in mentions, and I can attest to their efficacy:

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Get some exercise.
  • Eat right.
  • Building a morning ritual you look forward to (I LOVE my coffee-making ritual almost as much as the coffee drinking ritual).
  • Making some “me time” before work (I especially like this one when I have to be at work at 6:30am).

And my favorite, from the list of things I intend to add, beginning tomorrow:
  • Connect with friends, first thing in the morning.
So take a look at that article, as well Regular Exercise Might Be the Key to Work-Life Balance, and pick some of those strategies to help you make excuses to drop your work and go exercise, and also to help you hack yourself into being more productive with less stress.  I’ve got a long way to go, myself, but it’s working, so far!



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fitness for real life

I didn't start exercising because I wanted to look hot. I didn't start because I wanted to run a marathon, or because my doctor said I had to. I started in order to be healthy, and the idea of exercising for vanity so doesn't suit me. I'm a happily married man, I don't need to be body builder to meet "broads.". There's just no need for that in my world.

But I will admit that I don't just exercise to be healthy, anymore. At least, not strictly only for that.
I also exercise to be fit and strong enough to be prepared for the crap life throws at me, like last night.  This is no over-the-top story of heroism, but something more mundane, yet in the past 18 hours I've been constantly thankful for my and my wife's general fitness.

In last week's awful snow-traffic-tastrophe in Atlanta, my wife tried to wait out the traffic, thinking that it would die down after the initial rush. Unfortunately, things weren't so great, and she found herself on what was supposed to be a street, but was more like an icy parking lot. So she decided not to press her luck any longer, and pulled off the road.  She was able to park safely, and was only 4.5 miles from home, but not entirely in her snow clothes.  So, I drove as far as I safely could, knowing that I could still drive back home, and then I grabbed some hand warmers and a space blanket, and ran to her. Two and a half miles. In the snowy and icy conditions. I'm not trying to make myself out to be a superman, claiming to have achieved some superhuman feat with this run. Anyone of average general health can get themselves to this fitness level, with a little effort and consistency.

She was waking to me, but I wanted to get to her as quickly as I could to get her some more warm stuff, and to keep her company on her walk.  I cannot tell you how grateful I am that she is healthy and fit enough to make that walk and that I'm healthy and fit enough to make that run to her, to get the right cold weather equipment to her, and to keep her company on that walk.  That's why she and I train: for the things in life that throw you curveballs.

If you're not exercising and moving then consider this: you could are still be training...training to be less capable of helping yourself in life's trying situations.  So, I ask: What are you exercising, or training, for?

Monday, February 3, 2014

I will kick your ass at yoga. Namaste.

I have had two conversations today that seem to revolve around a trend which pushed me away from yoga for a while. At it’s core, I call it “the serious business of yoga,” which I believe manifests itself in a number of different ways. One of the ways that “the serious business of yoga,” can show its ugly head is in individuals’ dogmatic and sometimes fanatical devotion to a particular style of yoga. It’s not that I object to people finding the thing that resonates with them and then sticking with it – or even preaching its gospel. It’s when someone starts to disparage any approach that isn’t precisely the same as theirs that I begin to take issue.
Who cares where I put my hand in triangle pose? Why does it matter if I don’t like a hot yoga class? What if spending 5 minutes in a pose isn’t for me, and I’d rather flow? 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Self Care for the Desk Jockey

This morning, I heard on the radio that today is called “Blue Monday” – the day that many people return to work after the Christmas and New Year’s break.  Even if you didn’t take time off of work, entirely, there’s a good chance you worked less hours, and less intensely. I know that’s how I rolled through the holidays.  As I spend much of my day at my desk, getting started on the admin tasks of growing my business in 2014, I think of how many people out there are doing the same.  But how many of you are taking scheduled breaks?
Here are a few tricks that I use to keep myself from getting too “stuck,” physically and mentally, while at the desk:

1. Get up regularly. For the love of all that’s holy…Just. Stand. Up.

I imagine it’s highly unlikely that this is the first time you’ve heard this advice.  It really makes a difference.  It’s not just a bunch of hooey.  It helps the body to “reset” itself into healthier joint and muscle balance, in a variety of ways (including neurologically).  Beyond the body, taking regular breaks will let the brain reboot…and taking a facebook break doesn’t count.  My friend, Peter, at ErnestHardy introduced me to a thing called the Pomodoro Technique, which has worked well for me – especially when I think of my tasks in terms of “pomodoros,” allowing me to plan my workflow accordingly.

2. Listen to your grandmother (or mine, at least) and sit up straight!

Even if you’re not going to make regular trips up and out of your chair, the least you can do is sit up straight and actively counteract the ravages of a typical desk: hunched shoulders, forward head, and a general hunchback shape.  It will probably prove easier to try a little of this, and a lot of taking breaks every 25 minutes, than to just practice.  But if you’re going to be stubborn about not taking breaks, then have at it.

3. If you can’t sit still, then make it a bit of a workout.

I was just going to suggest seated stretching, here, but the handy little collection I found on WebMD, Stretching Exercises at Your Desk: 12 Simple Tips, covers some of the basics I had in mind, and then adds to them, making it a little bit of a workout.  So, if you can’t sit still in your seat, and you refuse to get up and take breaks, then this is for you.
balance ball
Photo by Robert Caplin for The New York Times

Lisa Sharkey shows how she uses the stability chair in her office at  HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide.

Get rid of your desk chair and substitute an exercise ball, is one of the suggestions that is making a difference for many people that spend hours at a desk on a daily basis. As stated  in a recent New York Times article, Have a Seat and Start Working Out, “stability balls — some of them souped-up specifically to address concerns about sitting, some covered in snazzy fabrics — are becoming a coveted office accessory.”
Whatever you choose, make sure that getting back into the swing of work doesn’t also mean getting back into the swing of letting your desk wreck you – physically and mentally.  Be proactive, and you never know, you just might be happier if you take regular breaks from your desk!