A Guide on How to Continue Outdoor Adventure into Fall

A Guide on How to Continue Outdoor Adventure into Fall
I have noticed a strange trend in our area over the last few years, it seems that Labor Day for most people marks the death of outdoor activity in Northeast Michigan.  No matter what the weather is like after the Labor Day long weekend the number of people I see outside dwindles.  Posts on Facebook are already talking about winter as if it has already started with a number of comments of “wanting to try something next year”.
At least half of September gives us summer like conditions and temperatures, October is a beautiful month full of sunny days, amazing colors and crisp yet comfortable temperatures; and even November can surprises us often with warm and sunny days before the snow begins to fall.
For most in our area “outdoor adventure season” runs from May – August, here are a few tips and gear suggestions that can help you expand that time:
General Tips
  • Layering – Learn how to dress for the conditions. Layering clothing can be broken down into 3 simple categories; base, insulation and shell. Your base layer should be tight/fitted and worn directly on the skin. Use wicking synthetic materials to pull sweat/moisture from the body. Your middle layer should insulate the body by trapping air, a light fleece works perfect for this layer. The final layer is your shell which is meant to keep water and wind out. The shell is best used on wet or windy days and can sometimes be left at home. The key to layering is understanding that moisture is the enemy (that includes both sweat and rain)! Simply put, if you can keep you skin dry you will stay warmer and more comfortable. Lastly don’t forget a hat, gloves and warm shoes for your feet. Your extremities will feel the chill before anything else so keep them covered.
  • Time of Day/Year – During the spring and fall mornings are chilly so, if you hate the cold, plan your activities for later in the day when it will be warmer outside. Once the sun dips under the horizon the temperature will drop drastically so, try to finish your outdoor activity before sunset. If you’re thinking about going in the water; large bodies of water do not warm up or cool down quickly which means spring water temps are quite chilly while fall waters are warmer than you might expect. Good rule for water temp safety is if the water and air temperature combined are over 100 degrees you’re in the clear but be smart and wear a wetsuit if you’re going to venture into the water.
  • Check the Wind – Spring and fall tend to have much more wind activity than the summer months. Before heading out of any outdoor adventure check the wind direction and speed. This will not only help you plan for appropriate clothing but with your route/location. For example a 45 degree day with less than 5 mph winds might mean I leave the shell at home but a 55 degree day with 12+ mph winds I’m bringing it for sure. The wind can cut through your insulating layer leaving you chilled but by adding the windproof layer you will be warm and comfortable. In relation to activity/route on a 10+ mph wind day I might choose a mountain bike ride over a road ride as the trees will provide protection from the wind.  If I do choose to head out on the road I will check the direction so I can choose a route that will not have me directly into a head wind the whole time.
Tips on Specific Activities
  • Running/Hiking
    • General rule for running is dress for conditions 20 degrees warmer than the actual temp.  For example if it’s 50 dress for 70, that will keep you comfortable once your body temp increases and keep you from sweating too much.
    • Base layer includes socks, invest in a good pair of Smartwool socks.
    • For spring, fall or even winter look into shoes with good grip for snow, ice, slush and mud. Trail running shoes work great for this, for extreme conditions check out yaktrax ice grippers.
  • Cycling
    • A knit hat under the helmet is a must for cold days.
    • For hands and feet invest in a pair of insulated wind breaking cycling gloves and insulated windproof “over shoes”.
    • I prefer arm and leg warmers, these are great layering options and are very easy to remove mid way through a ride if the weather warms up.
    • Carry a light windbreaker on rides, wind can cut through you on the bike so a little shielding can keep you warm and happy for miles.
  • Paddling
    • Neoprene is your friend, even a 1mm-2mm base layer can keep you warm and safe in case you fall in or get wet. A “surf jacket” and insulated pants shorts (different styles available for men and women) are perfect for layering and can be easily removed if the conditions change.
    • When the temps drop stay closer to shore/civilization that way if you do get cold or wet you can quickly get somewhere to warm up.
    • For stand up paddling a pair of neoprene booties are worth their weight in gold! In the spring and fall when the temps drop the area of concern will be your cold feet so these boots will keep your toes from freezing and keep you out on the water comfortably for miles! We suggest  3mm-5mm for chilly conditions and 5mm-7mm for those colder days.
  • Diving/Swimming (yes you can go in open water in the spring and fall!!!)
    • Did someone say wetsuit? This is one of the single best investments you can make if you love the water and live in Northeast Michigan! For spring and fall temps we suggest 4mm-5mm or a 7mm for extreme conditions. You might finds suits that are 4/3 or 5/4/3 (mm), the first number is the thickness of the neoprene in the core, the second (or third) number is the thickness of the arms and or legs. If you need help come into Performance Locker and we will hook you up!
    • Just like on the bike a neoprene hood, gloves and socks can help lock in body heat and keep your extremities warm, when the water temp starts to drop these are good options to have on hand.
    • In regards to water sports practice good safety procedures, never dive/swim in open water along. Always have a buddy who can watch out for you and get help if necessary.

We are always here to answer any outdoor adventure questions you might have. Your PL team has a passion for getting you outside in Alpena’s beautiful natural landscape. We want to help you take advantage of our trails, lakes, and open roads. Let us know how we can help you!

— Casey

You Don’t Have to Feel Bad to Get Better

Some years ago my wife was going through some pretty serious digestive issues.  After seeing several specialists with no relief she decided to do everything in her power to improve her situation. The first and biggest step was a total overhaul of her eating habits and food choices. Me being the amazing and supportive husband I am I went along with the changes, you know… to “help her out”.  What happened next shocked me!

I had always viewed myself as a “good eater” and at the time was a good follower of an 80/20 lifestyle (eat good 80% of the time and the other 20, well you know the rest).  On any given day if you asked how I was feeling or how my energy levels were I would say great, couldn’t be better.  How wrong I was!

When we changed our eating habits I was shocked at how much better I felt over all and the drastic improvement to my daily life and overall wellbeing.  I was shocked because I always thought I felt just fine… but it seems that I had just become so accustom to feeling like a “6” and had no idea what a “9” felt like!

It seems we love to adopt this “if it aint’ broke, don’t fix it” mentality; where we only make significant changes when something goes very wrong and are left with no other choice.

My point is you don’t have to be just shy of a knee replacement before you make the decision to improve your health.  We often view things like “functional training” and “corrective movements” as things that are only valuable to those who are hurt or those who are not conditioned. From my experience I would argue the more you move the more valuable functional training and corrective movements are. You could think of it like this; If two drivers have a tire out of balance one drives 2 miles a day and the other 200 which vehicle is going to run into problems first? The truck that travels more.

Bottom line: You don’t have to be hurt to work on your movement capabilities and you don’t have to feel bad to get better.

— Casey

FEAR

Fear.

Fear is biggest hindrance you will run into when trying something new, reaching a goal or making a change.

We idolize those we view as “fearless”, people we perceive don’t have the same fear, doubt and worry that we do.  We believe this characteristic is what allows them to live a life we strive for; since we have fears it’s easy to feel as though we will never be like them or do the amazing things they do.

Fear is not only natural but necessary.  Fear is an adaptation that has allowed our species to survive as long as we have by providing checks and balances.  Fear is hardwired into our brains and its sole purpose is to make us pause and take inventory before trying something new.

Fear is like a worrisome friend who’s job is to assume everything will go wrong, the buzz kill of the group, the one who reminds us that hanging out on the roof after a few drinks or saying “I’ll be right back” before going to investigate a strange noise is not a good idea.

The reason we are so hard wired for fear is during a more primitive time it was a much bigger part of our day.   Fear kept us alive from wild animals, hostiles, poisonous foods; sever weather and a number of other thinks with in each given day that could kill us.

In today’s modern world we actually have very little be afraid of, most the for mentioned are not a part of our daily lives anymore so our incredibly imaginative fear centers have learned to invent things to be afraid of in an effort to keep their skills sharp.

Which brings me to my point; no one is fearless.  We all have fears but the truth is most of them are not rational.

Fear is hardwired into us and driven by self-preservation will always come up with reasons why we should not do/try something unfamiliar just in case it might be dangerous.  Those fears are like a car alarm; their job is to make us pause and evaluate the situation.  What most of us forget or don’t think about is that our actions after that point are entirely up to us.  We are in control, not fear.  Next time your fear alarm goes off play a little game called, “What’s the worst that could happen”.  For me that serves two purposes; first I can look at all my fears surrounding an issue and realize the majority of them are unfounded or illogical.  Second it makes me look at the worst case scenario and ask myself, “can I live with that?”  If the answer is no than I can pass on the experience/decision with no regret.  If the answer is yes I can go in with confidence and not FEAR failure/the unexpected. Either way I walk away happy and in control of my own destiny, fear is a shitty driver.

A Closer Look

A Closer Look at the FMS and Small Group Training
Anyone interested in training at Performance Locker will notice something different when first introduced. Performance Locker is not a come-and-go-as-you-please environment and one of the most obvious differences starts before your first training session ever begins. Each member of the PL studio is taken through a Functional Movement Screening (FMS). The FMS is a seven movement assessment that helps our team of certified trainers and instructors personalize each experience to fit your particular needs.
The FMS lets us know your strengths and weakness and helps us identify any cracks in the foundation of your movement patterns. This information helps us determine two important training variables; what movements you need to be doing to correct weaknesses or imbalances; and what key movements could potentially cause more harm than good.
During Small Tribe Training and Chalkboard Sessions each client wears colored wrist bands so the coaches can easily identify your areas of strength and weakness. The bands let PL coaches know when it is ok to push you and when we need to adjust a movement to provide you with the best-suited modification. This is all done stealthily, thanks to the band system, so you never feel like you are singled out.
Don’t get too comfortable with your bands though – the goal is to get rid of them!  We spend time in each Small Tribe Training workout actively correct imbalances so you can improve movement patterns and get rid of those bands. Once you are “cleared” of all bands you earn the coveted Black Band and become a Movement Jedi (that band you get to keep)! You also get to put a tick mark on our “kill” wall which offers a running tally of successful band losses from amongst your fellow PL family members.

Fix Your Bands At Home 
 

» Click Here to Learn How

Meet Alana The Perfect All-Around SUP

Meet Alana The Perfect All-Around SUP
In this video, Casey introduces the Alana an All Around Stand Up Paddle Board by Naish designed specifically for women paddlers.
If you have you been dreaming about owning your own paddle board, come visit us at Performance Locker and test any of our Naish demo boards! We are here to help you find the perfect paddle board.

We proudly sell Naish boards simply because, we wanted to offer the community top of the line, professional, and high-quality boards that will last ride after ride and year after year.

All of our SUP sales come with a free paddle, a private lesson, 2 SUP Yoga classes, and 10% off up to $250 of Quiksilver or Roxy gear good for six months after purchase! E-mail info@performancelocker.com for more details.

More “Cardio” is not the answer

It seems to me that “cardio” has become the Penicillin of Fitness.

High blood presure? More Cardio.  Carrying a few extra pounds? More Cardio.  Feeling tired and low on energy? More Cardio.  Gain muscle, get faster, become a millionaire…… all through more cardio.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by my sarcastic tone cardio will not fix all your problems, infact there a many that average American face that increased cardio will actually make worse.

Cardio is so “over perscribed” simply becasue it’s easy.  It’s easy advice to give and easy to take action on therefor it gets over used.

We should know by now the easy fix is not ususally the best or most effective one.  The changes that lead to long term sustainable results are often more complex and can be difficult to implement.  I’m not try to be a downer just a realist, change is tough.  It is more difficult to take an objective look at lifestyle choices as the cause and fix of any issues we might be having. How much sleep am I getting?  What am I doing to manage daily stress levels?  What is my daily processed food intake?  How much activity am I getting?  How much time do I spend outdoors?  What foods work best with my body (just because someone else calls it “healthy” does not mean it agrees with you)?

In the end more cardio becomes the over simplistic answer to a more complex question.  For the average American (you and me) more cardio can actually be a huge problem.  Most of us are sleep deprived, under nourished and over stimulated; never forget that exercise (as good as it is) is still stress.  What happens when you take someone who is not getting enough sleep, eating food they can’t obtain nourishment from and constatnly at a 11 level freak out at home and work because the big report deadline is on the same day as little Johnny’s soccer game and add more stress to their week?  The math on this one is not hard to do.

The take away her is two-fold;

First, think balance.  When we look at the big picture adding more cardio doesn’t’ fit but to see that we have to zoom out and try to see the whole picture.

Second; Sometimes things are complicated.  We love simple, easy and actionable but life is not always that way and that’s ok.  It’s ok to seek answers and search for truth and it’s ok to get help along the way.  My experience is if a piece of advice can fit into a Twitter post there is probably more to the story and deserves some more diving into.

What is your Criteria for a “Good” Workout?

How do you judge a “good” workout?

What do you look for after the experience to determine if your training was valuable?

Sweaty?

Tired?

Sore?

If that is the case why don’t you come over to my house; the roof of my garage needs to be leveled, my lawn needs to be cut and I need some post holes dug for a fence I want to put in.  I guarantee you will leave sweaty, tired and sore and it will only cost you $75 per hour.

Metrics are important, we want to have the ability to measure the effectiveness of an experience in the gym but choosing the wrong metrics can only give you incorrect info.  Choosing the correct metrics will give you reliable data and feedback while choosing the wrong ones can devalue even the best experiences.

So if sweaty, tired and sore are not effective metrics for judging a fitness experience what are?  In a functional training environment where we are working toward improved movement capabilities how sweaty someone gets simply does not work for us for a number or reasons.  Ability level plays a huge factor, the more advanced my movement skills are the more intensity I can create within an exercise.  For someone who is just learning (or relearning) how to squat or deadlift it does not make sense to push that level of intensity since they are trying to learn the pattern.  How do you even measure “sweat”? Seriously? I sweat when brushing my teeth so it’s guaranteed I’m going to drip buckets every time I step onto the training floor.  My wife not so much, so does that mean that all of my workouts are “better” then hers because I sweat more?

So how do you measure a good workout?  I don’t know if you can honestly.

An effective training program is making improvements over time, it’s not focused on a single workout but each workout exists as a step along the journey.  Along that journey some workouts will be more challenging some more restorative and others more “skill practice”.  We feel a standardized movement assessment that can be easily repeated is the only way to truly measure over time if your workouts (as a whole) are being “effective”.

So instead of looking at each workout and checking the tired, sweaty and sore boxes think more long term and look for experiences that leave you challenged yet not beat up and hungry to return to apply the lessons you learned towards your next experience.

Why Should You Try Boxing?

Boxing Is Fun

Enjoying something is probably the number one reason why anybody ever got good at anything. The one thing boxing has over many traditional fitness exercises is the added element of good old plain FUN! If you ever plan to be successful at anything, it helps if you find the experience enjoyable. Otherwise, it becomes work, becomes a chore, and you’ll quit before you ever get a routine going. This is the problem with many traditional workout routines.

Literally EVERYONE we’ve seen that puts on a pair of gloves for the first time has fun. Hitting the focus mitts becomes a game and they enjoy the challenge. There are so many pieces of equipment in the studio and so many skills to master that boxing never becomes boring. Even after the boxing session ends, clients feel inspired to go home and watch videos online to become inspired by other boxers. There are very few exercises that leave this lasting impression. Can you imagine someone going home and fantasizing about burpees? Give boxing a try and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

Boxing Is Challenging & Great For Your Health 
Many people understand that boxing is challenging but have the perception that boxing is going to war, and they imagine themselves having to throw and absorb punches like Rocky. Let me give it to you straight: that’s not the case at Performance Locker. Our classes are for people who do not want to get hit in the face! You will be physically challenged learning how to move efficiently and effectively, all while hitting real targets (not the air). All of our classes are designed for any ability level and everyone is welcome to try! Boxing improves your cardiovascular system, bone density, and helps to reduce stress.
Boxing Improves Confidence
Boxing is a great confidence booster. The sport molds fighters out of average people.

Boxing is challenging but when you overcome those challenges you will feel so confident in yourself that you can do anything that you set your mind to!

Performance Locker offers boxing on Tuesday’s at 6:30pm – Thursday’s at 12pm –
and Saturday’s at 7am. Boxing gloves provided or you can buy your own on-site.

 
Sign Up for Boxing Right Now  » Click Here to Register! 

*Supporting researched provided via an Article by Johnny N from Expert Boxing

What Does it Mean to be “Functional”?

Functional Training; a phrase that often used in fitness but rarely understood.

What does it mean to be functional?  What seperates a true functional workout from one that adopts this monicker yet fails to live up to it’s promises?

Functional training/exercises or workouts have a direct tie in to basic human movements.

The workouts or exercises strengthen primal movement patterns.  At the advanced level functional training seeks to create efficiency in those primal movement patterns.

We define primal movement patterns as the basic ways that humans explore and experience their environment; crawling/climbing, running/walking and swimming. If something does not “strengthen” one of these patterns it is not a “functional” exercise.  Wait a minute, what about squatting, deadlifting, pulling and pushing?  Don’t worry they are all there. Those are the foundational patterns that allow us to walk, run, climb, etc.

The most effective functional training practices look a lot like sport training; where movement skill are substituted for the sport specific skill.  For example, good tennis players consistently work on the fundamentals.  They seek to master the “simple” aspects of a forehand shot then repeat, repeat, repeat until it becomes automatic.  This way when they are on the court there brain is available for higher level processes such as strategy since it is not being dragged down by the step by step instructions of how to hit the ball.

When we deadlift we are teaching the body to stabilize the lumbar spine and maintain a neutral position before actively flexing and extending the hip.  This one relatively simple joint action is one of the primary building blocks for walking and running, even though the exercise does not look like the end product it still has a direct correlation.  In short it is more often than not that when someone has a fault in their deadlift pattern they also showcase a movement compensation in their walking or running gait.

A true functional training program seeks to break the body down into key joints and look at their ability to perform their preferred tasks.  Certain joints are responsible for mobility and are where “movement” come from while others should be “stable” resisting change in position (or movement) to maintain the bodies structure.  In a functional training program we identify each of these areas and make sure they are doing their jobs and their jobs only.  If they are not we look to “correct” the issue buy selecting exercises or techniques that will help mobilize stuck joints or create improved stability in others.

The final and most important piece of the puzzle is that functional training has to per personalized.  There is no blanket approach here (believe me I’ve been looking).  We are only able to offer someone a truly “functional” program when we are able to address the personal dysfunctions they may have.  Without that personalized data it is impossible to correctly design a program or workout for that (or any) individual.

So where do you go from here?  Come on in to Performance Locker where we can take you through the FMS movement screen and identify what your personalized “functional training” goals are 🙂

Small Tribe Tid Bits

At PL We Don’t Exercise.. We Train. We Practice. We Move.

Our friends over at StrongFirst did an excellent job describing the difference between exercising and training, “Exercise: Requires motivation, and the willingness to endure something boring. Training: Requires selecting a skill, and the willingness to practice it. Exercise that doesn’t mentally engage you is difficult to stay consistent with. Losing interest is not your fault… You need details to focus on and to continually improve. You need a skill to practice…” In Small Tribe Training that is exactly what we do; we practice skills and learn
how to move functionally. Check out these Small Tribe Tid-Bits to get more out of your next session.

Agility is not just for athletes. The ability to change direction at a high rate of speed is a necessary skill for all humans who wish to live an active lifestyle. The trick to good speed and agility training is to go as fast as you can, not as fast as you can’t. Each individual needs to move at the speed that allows them to maintain the standards of the movements we work on every day.

Learning how to efficiently rotate and generate rotary force is a lesson in linking movements and unity in the body. Too often, workout programs are full of overly simplistic movements that never teach the body how to move as one unit. Unfortunately, it is simply not possible to build functionality by just focusing on one piece at a time.

Are you ready to break the mold? Are you ready to build a life without limits? Know someone who would benefit from secrets your have learned at PL?

Contact us now to schedule your FMS (Functional Movement Screen-Test) from there we will help you find the Membership/Classes that best fit your needs and schedule.

Call 989.884.1702, or Stop-in During Open Tour Hours Wed 11-4, Thurs 1-6, and Fri 12-5 or e-mail sam@performancelocker.com to get started!

Learn More About Training at PL » Click Here