The Assessment Experiments: Installment 3 – Squats and Saline Solution

The below is approximately a 2700 word article on experiments, structures in your skull, and how to practically apply all this new information. The first portion is the “Too Long, Didn’t Read” version!

Enjoy!

Note: The below video shows me performing a nasal saline solution that requires pressurized solution into, well, my nose. I show it on the video, so if you are squeamish, turn your head away around the 1:35 minute mark!

TL;DR

1. What is a nasal saline solution?

Nasal saline solution has been a home remedy for aiding in the process of cleansing the nasal airways. This method is often utilized in conjunction with allergies, and just being stuffy in general.

2. What was the hypothesis?

After consulting with others, and doing my own research, I hypothesized that performing a nasal saline rinse would improve movement quality via inhibition of specific movement pathways, regardless of previous inputs/sympathetic drivers (in this case, performing a one repetition max back squat).

The act of performing a true maximal repetition back squat will aim to recruit an extension based strategy – one that calls upon various musculature that can be aptly described through “Janda’s Upper and Lower Cross syndromes.”

Janda

3. What occurred?

Movement capacity of varying screens, assessments, and tests were checked before squatting, after squatting, and post-nasal saline solution rinsing. I also recorded everything in one take!

4. What improved or decreased in measures?

Fitness qualities of strength and power seem to not be affected directly (speed and endurance were not measured) because, well I did this video twice – so strength was not negatively affected. This video was the 2nd filming because my phone did not have enough space to record the whole thing – so filming stopped initially on the first ride through.

Biomechanical measurements of various philosophies seem to be affected, which speaks about movement quality and motoric control of specific muscle groups – both before squatting, after squatting, and post-nasal saline solution application.

For a specific example…

Nasal Saline Solution Experiment

Before Squatting…
Top Left: Left GH IR = 42°, Pre-Squat
Top Right: Right GH IR = 36°, Pre-Squat

… Glenohumeral (GH) internal rotation (and shoulder mobility) was assessed to identify whether or not shoulder internal rotators were activated (prior to squatting).

(My total GH range of motion is 160°+, so if GH IR is approximately 40°… external rotators are about 120°!)

After Squatting…
Mid-Left: Left GH IR = 35°, Post-Squat
Mid-Right: Right GH IR = 34°, Post-Squat

… These measurements were reduced – that is the glenohumeral internal rotators were not activated, and the measurements were less than before squatting.

Instead, the (GH) external rotators had to likewise be activated, representative of an extension based strategy needed when you are holding the barbell in the back squat position (especially in a low bar position).

Post-Nasal Saline Solution
Bottom Left: Left GH IR = 69°, Post-Nasal Saline Solution
Bottom Right: Right GH IR = 63°, Post-Nasal Saline Solution

The measurements of the upper body improved dramatically – the GH internal rotators were facilitated (activated), and inhibition of the extension based strategy was observed.

It is likely that airways were opened via nasal saline solution, and the nasal pathways allowed more air to flow through my lungs, which allowed me to inhibit specific musculature, along with other patterns associated with an extension based posture.

It can be observed that GH internal rotation (bilaterally) improved significantly with no other intervention other than the nasal saline solution. Likewise, other movement patterns improved significantly as well, both officially on camera, and off camera (which had

5. What is the application to sports?

Respecting the structures found within the skull are important and should not be underrated. By influencing something as simple and local as the nasal airway, you can have a cascade of effects that seem to reach out into other systems on a global level, outside of just the muscular and skeletal system.

Systems

Influencing the cardiovascular system and central nervous system in a positive manner can hopefully influence recovery strategies for athletes who are looking to maximize what they have at their disposal.

6. What is the application in day to day living?

The general population (and myself) can often be found increasing stimulation to the sympathetic nervous system in order to improve capacities for everyday living. By learning to turn down the knob on the sympathetic nervous system and instead turn up the parasympathetic nervous system, hopefully more efficient rest and recovery can be acquired in order to improve quality of life. This is merely another attempt at performing the above.

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What a Time to Be Alive: The Assessment Era

When it comes to understanding assessments, the whole process of understanding joint position is merely one item that is to be understood. The bigger, overarching, yet very simple question of “Why are you even assessing?” must be asked to achieve true understanding of the assessment process.

Sometimes, assessments are not necessary.

If you have upwards to 100s of individuals to coach on a day to day basis, you are a one man show, and you cannot concisely view detailed movement patterns from person to person, it will be very difficult to gather important information.

If you are attempting to improve fitness levels of strength, power, speed, and endurance, perhaps an individualized biomechanical assessment may not be necessary for hundreds of individuals at one time. Keep these thoughts in mind before divulging the rest of this mini-essay.

Logistics aside, I would like to dive deeper into a topic that I believe very strongly about, which is manipulating inhibitory methods in order to produce maximal activation within a movement capacity. Long story very short – I want to inhibit a pattern very quickly, in order to ramp up and accelerate just as fast!

The ideas of regional interdependence, along with a salient stimulus, both build upon the idea that the body self-regulates on a much more complex medium than just bones articulating here, and muscles acting on the bones.

There are nerves that innervate muscles, that are weaving in and out of fascial lines, that arrive from the peripheral nervous system, that originate from the central nervous system!

Peripheral Nerves

The essential idea that I’d like to promote is that the act of lifting weights in a progressive manner is aiming to shift homeostasis towards a state of being that can handle progressively heavier loads, more force absorption (and thus, possibly more force production as well), on top of improving ability to mobilize and utilize energy stores found within our bodies!

Photo Credit: PsychloPedia.Wikispaces.com
Photo Credit: PsychloPedia.Wikispaces.com

Now, there are multiple factors that lead to increased and specific adaptations to an imposed demand, such as lifting heavier weights and getting faster:

  • Just enough of a stressor, and you can meet those demands.
  • Not enough of a stressor, and you won’t improve because your body simply isn’t stimulated to grow.
    • Think of doing 3 sets of 10 reps for literally ever – your body will get used to doing only those sets and reps.
  • Too much of a stressor, and your body will be overstimulated and will not have enough ability to recover from the given demands.

However, there are also other ways to inhibit these overstimulated demands through the manipulation of specific reflexes and movement pathways.

Many times, the fitness industry seeks these methods out by foam rolling, stretching, and performing self-myofascial release type of methods (lacrosse ball work, massage/manual therapy, etc.) in order to inhibit a pattern or muscle group. That is fine, but if it doesn’t work, or if you have to keep on doing it in order to achieve the same effect – then what?

Spock - Logic

Essentially, there is more than one way to provide an inhibitory response. Seek out multiple methods, and perhaps you can improve your ability to recover.

Case Study – Me, Squats, and Nasal Saline Solution

So, lifting weights is a sort of “perceived threat” to the body. Not in the sense of this is going to be painful, but rather there is a stimulus (adaptations to lifting weights), and there is an adaptation (body improving bone mass density, cross sectional area of muscles, etc.).

However, if you were to keep on lifting weights without the appropriate amount of rest/recovery, what happens? Or what happens if you lift a weight that is too much load for you to handle?

I’d venture a guess and say that this is a lot of stress to the body, and you may lose stability of a specific system. Now, to use the neuromuscular movement patterns we are all hopefully familiar with, these patterns may be shifted negatively – all because of a lack of ability to adapt!

More specifically, what occurs when you attempt to “fix” your movement patterns, but there is no ability for you to get into that range of motion?

Well, then we can assume a few things:

  • There may be a bony adaptation that is limiting you.
  • You don’t know how to perform a squat (or insert pattern) (either due to lack of prior knowledge, or perceived neurological threat).
  • Soft tissue structures are limiting you from achieving that range of motion (often due to neurological threat, and/or increases from localized stress)

Well, just like how there can be harder structures within the hip and head of the femur, there are also ideas of interconnectedness within the skull.

Skull - Structures
Photo Credit: Wikipedia.com

There are structures involving the bite, nasal cavities, orbital structures, and obviously the brain as well, that can allow better or worse movement to occur, at least, from an exercise point of view.

Zac Cupples elaborates a lot more here on why this particular inhibitory method works. Essentially, it comes down to understanding that if you cannot inhale through a specific nostril, your ability to inhale/exhale will be altered throughout your lungs.

If you cannot inhale through your lungs, perhaps you may be overinflated with attempts at constant inhalation – inhibition of the accessory respiratory musculature is necessary (along with simultaneous activation of the main musculature for breathing).

Just imagine the last time you had a stuffy nose – it probably made for an awful time for singing, running, or just general well-being. All of these things need air in order to perform well – can you imagine squatting the house with both nostrils clogged with snot and mucus? Sounds like an awful time.

In fact, the practice of yoga considers these items relatively well. Following the process of jali neti can lead you to understand that cleansing the nostrils is actually a method for cleansing of the airways.

From my time in undergrad (I took a Yoga class for a solid 5 months as a graded course), I can recall a technique utilized also aimed at nostril breathing named pranayama – which has claims of improving stress levels (by decreasing negative stressors), improving distances in six-minute walk times (find article HERE), along with improving brain function (find article HERE) because nostril breathing is correlated with performances in various tasks!

It’s All About the Reflexes Baby

So if I lost you with the above talk about yoga, fear not! There can be more than one explanation for the sudden change in movement patterns seen in my squatting and saline solution video, and other functions of movement patterns.

A lot of the things that are successfully performed on an exercise level can be attributed to reflexes. There are tons of them (find reflex list HERE) and I am here to elaborate on a few of them, and identify how these few reflexes are being stimulated in order to provide an inhibitory effect!

Nasal Reflexes – It’s Not All Just Sneezing

The nasalcardiac reflex has a mechanism that involves a specific structure (called turbinates or the nasal concha) that many people should be familiar with if they eat ice cream way too fast. The structure that is stimulated is the nasal concha, and it is stimulated when you experience brain freeze.

Your new recovery method
Your new recovery method

Turbinates can be synonymous with the nasal concha, and these structures coincide with really cool nerves, specifically the trigeminal nerve, for starters.

Long story short, if you stimulate the turbinates, you can induce a type of bradycardia, or rapid lowering of the heart rate. This could be good reason to not try this experiment if you have an already very low heart rate and/or blood pressure.

When stimulation of any branch of the trigeminal nerve occurs, stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system is recruited – and thus, the inhibition of the sympathetic nervous system must occur as well. This is referred to as the trigemino-cardiac reflex!

The trigeminocardiac reflex (TCR) is defined as the sudden onset of parasympathetic dysrhythmia, sympathetic hypotension, apnea, or gastric hyper-motility during stimulation of any of the sensory branches of the trigeminal nerve.

Practical Application

The practical portion of this information essentially allows us to identify whether or not specific structures within the skull may be limiting movement capacity or not. Essentially, how does identifying structures within your skull help us from a movement perspective? What can we derive from this information?

Well, I would like to believe that this leads us to improve the questions we ask in an initial assessment. Whether you are working with athletes, or general population, these items could lead you to improving your ability to deliver a high quality service for your clients and patients!

I also believe that by identifying other possible sources of stress, albeit a constantly and subtly turned on stressor (think dimmer switch that is slightly turned on for years on end), will allow you (the professional) to provide better solutions that could be very easily managed from an expectations point of view.

Essentially…

Have you ever had braces (or are you currently wearing braces)?

  • Braces can cause tightness on your teeth (obviously), but more importantly the constant (and perhaps inaccurate) reference that your teeth are getting may impede neck movement, which can cause a cascade of information down the kinetic chain that something is always tight (from the teeth/neck on down the body!).
  • Anecdotally I had braces for 5 years of my life, and this was right around when I was growing up and being surrounded by more formal sporting organizations (high school, league teams, etc).
  • Did having braces contribute to my lack of coordination? Well, I can’t go back in time to do an experiment on myself, but tell you what – I started dancing after I got my braces off, and I was moving a lot better. Very n=1 of course, so take that with a grain of salt.

Action Plan

  • Make sure you are comfortable with your braces (as best as you can). Use wax on the sides if you are brushing on your cheeks, and make sure to always clean out your teeth. If you feel tight with braces on, make sure you are in the correct position by asking your orthodontist if it should feel like “this” (if they feel too tight or wound up) in order to live with higher quality of life!

Have you been sick (cold, flu, etc.) recently?

  • Being sick can cause a cascade of residual and systemic threat to the body. Lifting or moving may not be the best idea, as attempting to increase stress to the body may be disadvantageous to the goal at hand (improved resilience to stress).

Action Plan

  • Get some sleep, and get over your cold! Also, doesn’t help that your nose getting stuffy will decrease your ability to breath.
  • Perhaps improving symptoms via over the counter medications could be the resolution you need in order to move better.

Do you wear glasses/contacts?

  • Reading things on a phone, constantly looking for the floor in many movements, and watching your step every time you walk (for fear of tripping, losing footing), can cause, yes another, cascade of lack of appropriate adaptability to stressors. If you are constantly “on” then you won’t be able to ever turn “off” – much less so if you are wearing the incorrect glasses/corrective vision.

Action Plan

  • Make sure you have updated vision, or at least, stay away from deleterious things involving straining your eyes (surprise surprise, your eyes have muscles that can become tired as well!).
Extraocular Muscles
Photo Credit: Wikipedia.com

Imagine holding a purse for 24 hours – your arm would get pretty tired! Similar things can happen if you play video games for a day straight!

Any surgeries to the face? Any concussions?

  • Let’s face it – injuries happen. Concussions are a normal part of household lingo, along with the concept that contact can occur directly to the face. When this happens, structures in the face, and in the brain, can be affected.
  • By asking this question, you are more equipped with providing a better screening service, or even referring out if symptoms are not resolved.

Action Plan

  • The two things that come to mind with respect to trauma to the face and/or brain involve vision and vestibular issues. When it comes to understanding how vision plays a role in exercise, I can defer to this article by Kevin Neeld where he discusses proprioception, the vestibular system, and the visual system’s interaction.
  • If you have issues with vertigo, balance, or visual issues tracking specific items (something that is very important during competition scenarios), then the action plan seems to be aimed at improving these items by any means necessary with the appropriate referral source.

How do I connect snorting saline solution to asking better questions for our athletes and clients?

Well, by understanding, even on an anecdotal level, the effects of multiple systems, inputs, and outputs, and how I can influence my own personal systems, I can have a wider array of experience to draw from in order to provide a better platform for my clients and athletes.

I can confidently draw lines from one system to the next, instead of isolating them in a textbook. Ideally, a combination of pragmatic and practical application combined with book smarts will allow myself to increase results for the individuals I work with.

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Well feel free to bookmark and/or read this page. There is a lot to absorb!

As always,

Keep it funky.

MAsymbollogo

My Favorite Exercise Combinations: Installment 8

After performing a large handful of assessments with our athletes at Cressey Sports Performance, one thing is very apparent: there is a trend of unilateral instability that is present.

How do I know? Well, I’ve been keeping track of these items in a fancy schmancy Excel sheet, and these things keep popping up! How these individuals arrived at a unilateral instability is also important, but from my point of view I am using the assessment process as a way to deliver high quality fitness and exercise selections.

Essentially, athletes (and general population as well!) are coming in with a predominantly strong pattern for favoring one side or the other.

A Few Thangs to Consider

1. As a strength coach and personal trainer, my responsibility is not aimed at ridding them of dysfunctional movement patterns – some of these dysfunctional movement patterns happen because of broken bones or surgeries, and it would be facetious for me think I can fix a bone! Rather, I’m all about improving upon their current fitness levels and referring out if necessary.

2. A lack of unilateral stability can mean: they need stability in a unilateral (or single leg/single arm fashion), or they need mobility in one area in order to stabilize in another area (providing more ability to move in an ankle or hip or even neck can clear up these issues).

3. If someone cannot perform single leg exercises in a dynamic fashion very well (Reverse Lunges, 1-Leg RDLs, etc.), I have to ask one question: why can you not perform this fundamental movement?

RFESS
Rear Foot Elevated Pains in the Ass

1. Lack of Ability to Split Pelvis in Efficient Manner

  • If someone is extended, their pelvis may be tipped forward (think anterior pelvic tilt).
  • If someone’s pelvis is tipped forward, forward and backward control of their pelvis may not be present.
  • If forward/backward control is not present when standing, how much more will be present when asked to control ONE pelvis in opposition of the other pelvis moving in the other direction?

Pelvis - Weight Shift

2. Lack of Reflexive Control (or Stability) via Abdominals

  • If someone is extended, this lack of forward/backward motion may be attributed to lack of abdominal control.
  • Obliques attach on PSIS and ASIS of pelvis.

Abdominal Obliquables

If abdominals cannot control a pelvis, and pelvis is not used to controlling motion one hip at a time, well then that leads us down a path of a few exercises that keeps all of those items in mind!

Inability to control pelvis, or inability to control abdominals?
Inability to control pelvis, or inability to control abdominals?

With all this in mind, I find myself falling back on this exercise combination that will help initial trainees reintegrate training in a single leg and single arm fashion.

 With the initial half kneeling exercise, you are getting a couple of great items:

1. A hip flexor stretch.
2. Ankle dorsiflexion on the back and down leg.
3. Requisite stability of the lower half of the body while moving your upper body.
4. Scapular motion (protraction/retraction) on the arm that is performing the rowing motion.
5. A static (or non-moving) neuromuscular pattern where you have to stabilize one pelvis in hip flexion and the other in hip extension, along with maintain abdominals and torso that requires stabilizing while rowing.

Why is this a better option than other rowing exercises?

Do you like chocolate? Feels good when you have some, right? Well performing rows (like barbell rows) are like chocolate. It’s good, but this is like adding in Graham crackers and smores. It adds in a little bit of nom, and a little bit of delish to the mix.

PopTart Smores
PhotoCredit: Cakespy.com

Long story short, this exercise allows you to perform a single leg static hold, while performing a rowing variation.

Why the variation for a side bridge?

Well this is a single variation, and you can perform this other variations to get a few more benefits:

1. Feet Elevated Side Bridge

2. Feet Elevated Side Bridge with Hip Abduction

3. Side Bridge versus Bands

4. Side Bridge with PNF Pattern

With that said, the side bridge (or side plank) variation will allow you to work on the abdominals, obliques, and hip stabilizers as well to improve unilateral stability by simply activating them!

How can you program these?

I’m so glad you asked. I usually perform these as a secondary exercise selection, so if you’re following along in the home program, these can be done as a B1/B2 exercise selection.

The movement is a secondary exercise, or accessory, or however else you want to call it. It can also be done as a warm-up, or even added into a circuit if you want to get a little crazy.

Sets and reps are variable as well, and rowing variations can usually be performed for 8 to 12 repetitions. Side plank variations can go anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds, or 5 to 8 respiratory cycles (inhales/exhales).

As always,

Keep it funky.

MAsymbollogo

Falling in Love…

Falling in Love with the Process: The Non-Tangibles

Within the fitness and perhaps even the strength and conditioning industry, many individuals are caught up with measuring and tracking information. From an objective point of view, this provides several benefits; what gets measured gets managed. However, one large part of measuring everything may be overlooked, and that is falling in love with the process towards your goal.

I am of the opinion that I will achieve my goals by any means necessary. Many methods are simply a means towards an end. This I fully accept, and understand.

However, many can’t get out of their own way, and I believe that there are a few steps that many need to undergo prior to achieving their goals. Firstly, being self-aware will allow you to accept where you are now. Secondly, falling in love with the process is necessary if you have a big enough of a goal, and can’t realize it in less than 2 days. And finally, what will occur if you have fallen out of love with your goal? Managing expectations is a large part of the process, and being pragmatic with your approach is necessary towards achieving an often idealistic goal!

Self-Awareness

I was of the opinion in the past that people will need a specific exercise in order to achieve a specific goal. Sometimes this is true, sometimes this is not true. Exercise is often a method utilized to seek out an end goal of improved fitness quality of some sort.

I was aware, but didn’t understand that people don’t fall in love with an exercise. In reality, for those who want to achieve a goal, the most successful ones fall in love with the process.

When you are attempting to improve yourself in any capacity, there are several things that must be brought to the surface:

  1. Where are you now?
  2. Where do you want to go?
  3. What are the methods that you will utilize in order to get to that goal?

In my world, there are several items that must be accounted for with respect to fitness:

  1. Do you have the ability to perform several different variations of movements?
  2. Do you have the physiological strength needed in order to improve?
  3. Do you have the cardiovascular foundation necessary to improve from workout to workout?
  4. Are you supporting your body with the nutrition that is needed in order to go from workout to workout?

You can measure tons of things, down to the velocity of the barbell that you are moving in order to improve a specific fitness quality. However, what does any of that mean in the grand scheme of things if you are inconsistent with the process? Not many fall in love with the technology, they fall in love with the belief that measuring whatever it is you’re measuring will help them get to their goal faster, and more efficiently.

This is like tracking your steps for the day with one of those fancy apps, or wearing a heart rate monitor for your daily walks. You don’t need an app to tell you how far you walked, because you probably missed the whole point of that walk if you’re tracking it. You probably did that walk by yourself also, instead of inviting a friend and enjoying an experience together.

Falling in Love

In some relationships, you can love the little things that a person can do, and appreciate the nuances of how they laugh, smile, cry, or get upset, but those things, while individual to that person, are small things that make up an individual’s whole personality and being.

Love
PhotoCredit: PhotoRee.com

The tangibles in a relationship involve what you did, in what quantity, and at what times you did those things.

The non-tangibles in a relationship that cannot be replaced involve your feelings for one another, your memories that you cannot replace, or your experiences spent together.

The Process

I used the above analogy in order to make a point – it isn’t the facts that make a relationship great. Instead, it is the experiences and time spent together that make the relationship worth it.

This section will make sense to those who are by and large, fairly normal people. This may be enlightening to those who are literally just like me – the slightly neurotic, planning the majority of my day (whether by necessity or not).

Process

The process involves a series of actions required in order to achieve the end product. To make it sound less monotonous, the process involves understanding the pieces of the puzzle that comprise the big picture. However, some people might mistake the pieces of the puzzle for the big picture.

A + B + C … = Alphabet + Logic + Grammar = Sentences + Logic + Thesis = Essay/Papers

Understanding the capacity for what the letter “A” stands for is great, but you still have to have sound logic to create sentences in order to write a paper of any sort.

Within my industry, this is like someone falling in love with improving on a singular corrective exercise that is a minor part of the whole movement pattern – the brain works on a much higher level than monitoring the small pieces of the puzzle on a conscious level. Improving your ability to move is great, don’t get me wrong. But the brain, in my opinion and from my readings and research, operates on a much higher scale than any singular exercise will be able to improve.

Don’t mistake one piece of the puzzle (corrective exercise, facts in a relationship) for the whole picture (performing hundreds of workouts a year, spending time together to build a foundation for a relationship).

Not many people fall in love with the process in the fitness or strength and conditioning industry because of how much weight they lifted.


Just because I can hip thrust, a popular hip hinging exercise, with 640lbs for 5 repetitions does not mean I can deadlift this weight for that many repetitions.

And just because you may have set a world record does not mean you can now rest on your laurels – someone else may be gunning for your record, and that competitive spirit may be the missing component that you need in order to improve upon your process.

It is often the continual progress that many lifters are in love with. Athletes can be in love with any part of the process of improving, certainly. I’m not saying lifting weights isn’t fun – of course it is. I’ve worked in a gym for the last 6 years of my life.

I’m merely saying that even if an athlete’s broad jump improves, that is a small drop in the larger bucket of the big picture. As long as they make the team, are utilized, and are making progress, and staying injury free – that is the big picture that needs to be focused on.

Simultaneously, I have to remind many of my athletes who are coming back from an injury or surgery that they have improved their capacity for movement, and it is often very encouraging when I remind them where they have come from, and show them where they are now!

Managing Expectations

Many people fall out of love with this process for several reasons. With attaining any goals, many feel discouraged because they are not honest with their expectations. Similar to a relationship, if expectations are not managed, well then some may be in for a rude awakening. Trust is a large component of any relationship, whether it is with yourself to achieve any goal, or creating a foundation for a relationship with a significant other.

If you fall out of love with the process, you perhaps lacked the self-awareness necessary to achieve your “bigger picture.” Simon Sinek had it right when he made that book with the ever-so-catchy title, “Start with Why” – it merely makes sense to have a purpose for your actions.

Start-With-Why

Just like any relationship, if you have arguments or disagreements, but you love the chemistry you have for one another, then you might try to make it work… but it ultimately won’t work out because of other, larger circumstances that are abound.

From a fitness point of view, it is not uncommon to improve your strength on a squat from 100 to 150lbs in a certain amount of weeks or months. However, it is unlikely to improve your squat from 100 to 2000lbs in a few weeks. There is no process there – just unrealistic expectations.

There can be unrealistic expectations if you’re an athlete – you literally cannot look like another athlete from an aesthetic point of view, simply because of individual variances. Wishing you looked, played, or did anything like any other individual will go to disrespect the creative process that you have as a human!

Do what you can, with what you have, and pursue those options with a fervor like no other.

Powerlifting Squat

For example, I can’t wish to dance like anyone else, because I am my own individual. I can aim to model myself like others, but at the end of the day, my choices are mine!

Wishing you could shoot three pointers like Stephen Curry is great – but if you are a dedicated center with the reaction time of a sloth, it will be difficult to pull off that three point shot from the hip as well as Curry does. It is even much more difficult to actualize if you have a pre-existing shoulder injury that will limit your ability to bring your arm up to shoot in a reactive way.

These examples and more can cause you to fall out of love with the process of training if we’re talking about improving sports, or if we are talking about inter-personal relationships. Expectations are necessary towards improving towards a goal, something that can be managed on a psychological and emotional level.

What I can do involves setting realistic expectations day to day, month to month – aiming to lose 4lbs in a month is do-able! Aiming to lose 20lbs in a month is difficult, if not dangerous.

The Difference Between Tangible vs Non-Tangible

So what is the purpose of explaining the differences between the tangibles and non-tangibles of something involving goals?

Well, after attaining some type of self-awareness within yourself, I’m of the opinion that you can get really good at one thing by falling in love with the non-tangibles of a goal.

To go back to the relationship point of view, sure many people fall in love because of the facts – someone has a lot of money, or someone has lots of material things – tangible things.

Batmobile
Hey ladies… want a ride in my Batmobile?

However, in my experience I’m of the opinion that people fall in love with the things that can’t be replaced, or the things that comprise an individual’s being.

Falling in love with the process of a relationship not only involves being attentive to the other individual, but also being proactive and providing care for the individual. Anyone can give you attention. Showing care through words and actions and being proactive are the non-tangibles that cannot be physically counted.

Now to bring it back to goals… sure you can simply be efficient towards a goal by respecting the tangibles.

If your goal is to achieve an elite total as a powerlifter, I’d assume you can improve in several different manners: dropping weight class, improving strength levels, and discover what leverages you have in order to pass a certain standard of movement. These are all quantifiable and tangible items that involve being a powerlifter.

However, this does not mean you’ll fall in love with the process involved with being a powerlifter.

If you are looking to get strong, there are hundreds of methods of doing so – the lens of being a powerlifter is merely one more method to attain maximal strength. There are several non-tangible items that can be involved with powerlifting. Surrounding yourself with a team of people, encouraging each other, understanding the woes of not going out because you want to improve your diets, or improving your sleep quality by any means necessary is all a part of that process as well. Working out every day is merely part of the process.

If your goal is to get really good at dancing, I’d venture a guess and say that you should not be entering competitions in order to spark a fire that isn’t there yet. Competitions and auditions could call for a certain standard of movements, and performed to a certain degree or quality. Not many companies will allow a sloppy dancer within their ranks. There are quite literally certain tangible goals necessary in order to be a professional dancer.

Dancer

If you want to get decent at dancing, well guess what? All you have to do is start, do it everyday, and fall in love with the process of the non-tangibles involved with dancing:  moving in some capacity to music, exchange experiences with others, going on road trips to competitions, and having shared experiences with music and dancing being the cornerstone of your dancing life.

Actionable Items

So where does this leave us? How can I qualify an actionable item for something that is largely unquantifiable?

If you find yourself getting burnt out, fall in love with the process by bringing to light the non-tangible items involved with whatever goal you have. Whether it is dancing, losing weight, improving your business, or any other goal – the non-tangibles are what make the big picture worth it all.

Look for experiential items that make any goal worth it – get your family, friends, and significant others involved with the process in order for you to make things stick, and make things matter to you.

If you have a quick and easily attainable goal, identify the tangible items that you can do in order to achieve those goals as efficiently as possible.

No one falls in love with the process of accumulating $100 a single time during the week – you simply just do it by not going out for drinks and cooking your own food. However, if you have a bigger goal of doubling your annual income, well then you better start hustling to fall in love with that process.

Next time you find yourself burning out with respect to your goals, hobbies, or relationship, ask yourself whether you are even meant to be doing what you are doing. No one says you have to do it. But it does have to be internalized in order for anything grandiose to be accomplished.

As always,

Keep it funky.

MAsymbollogo