Is This Warmup or Workout?

I have heard this a lot lately in classes and it makes me happy.

Warmup is a series of dynamic movements to get blood and nutrients moving into your muscles and joints. 

Warmup wakes up the nervous system and helps us dial in our movement patterns. It reveals any tightnesses / strengths / weaknesses / imbalances that may need attention and it gives us a sense of how we feel that day.

Our particular way of training is about half-and-half strength and mobility -- and sometimes the mobility work, that spans both Warmup and Workout, feels harder than the strength work.

Warmup should relate in some way to the Workout. For example, squat prying is a good practice in warmup if you are squatting in the workout. T-spine, hip and shoulder opening is always helpful to prime the body for kettlebell lifts. 

Prepping complex movements with lighter weight, no weight or movement regressions in warmup makes sense. For example, we don’t train Snatch-to-Lunge without doing some light snatches and unweighted lunges -- separately beforehand.

Warmup can be weighted or unweighted.

Kettlebells. Bodyweight. Olympic Lifts. TRX. Calisthenics. Primal Movement. Play. Warmup and Workout mix and match to include upper body pull and push and lower body pull and push using varied tools and methods.

Master RKC Dan John advises no separation between warmup and workout and recommends warming up with a lighter version of what you will do in the workout. This is when I most often hear these words, ‘Is this workout yet?’

We know that skipping Warmup will negatively impact the Workout and put us at risk for injury. 

Once we truly dive into the Workout, there are more reps, higher intensity, heavier weight, and more more varied movements and rest periods than during Warmup. There is a more serious mental focus and perhaps an accumulation of fatigue that builds, needs to be monitored by checking biofeedback, and reduced with some calming mobility / flexibility movements between sets.

Warmup and Workout should work seamlessly together.

Train safely. Move to increase range of motion, add stability and increase flexibility. Get stronger while maintaining or improving movement quality. Build cardiovascular endurance (yes, you will begin to breath hard during warmup.)

My role is to facilitate your understanding of how your body is moving and dosing the specific movements in just the right amount so you feel energized, re-charged and renewed afterward. I try to expand your physical horizons with varied, but targeted, warmups and workouts.

The lines are blurred with Warmup and Workout, but this makes the experience rich and varied and keeps our training fresh. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Outdoors

I believe it is essential to get outdoors and be physically active while the weather is good in Ohio -- whether in a park or urban area. I kick my gym members out of the gym sometimes -- and some of them are cheering and others ... not so much.

Yes it's air-conditioned, structured and tidy in the gym, but getting outdoors is necessary to challenge the brain and body in a different way. We have to deal with the sun and heat, different surroundings,, the ground surface (some of us are barefoot.)

Get outside. Watch the sunrise. Watch the sunset. How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel big or tiny? Because there’s something good about feeling both.
— Amy Grant

Today is Saturday and we did our Mobilizing Tight Muscles class outdoors surrounded by trees, with the sun peeking over the treetops, with a light breeze, birds chirping and a mix of urban sounds.

We use kettlebells a lot during our weekday training, so when we can mix it up with different methods and tools on Saturday, it's refreshing and invigorating.

I don't care what you say about fitness; if people aren't having fun, they won't keep it going.

So after our stretching class, we trained with battling ropes, wall ball, sledge-to-tire, sled pulls, sandbags moves, jumping rope, handstands, balance on curbs, pistol squat practice and some kettlebell juggling give the nervous system something new to process and a lot of growth and fun comes out of that process.

I love watching our members practice, learn and explore functional fitness in different ways. The opportunity for growth is boundless. Interested in joining us? We'd love to have you.

 

A Little Play to Get Stronger

Ever since I started teaching strength and movement, I have included play components in personal training and in our small group class programming ... and of course in my own training. I refer to this as Fitness Freedom.

We all need time to explore, learn, be free from reps, sets, time and be allowed to challenge our bodies in new and different ways.

Any movement or lift can be considered a play component -- Fitness Freedom has less structure and allows the individual to make decisions about whether to push forward or pull back.

It needs to be safe, fun, and even a little bit challenging. It may be different than our typical gym programming or it may build on what we do every day.

Read my full blog post about Play on Dragon Door.

So much is gained from play: besides strength and conditioning ... there is confidence and excitement, in addition to the opportunity to develop (or improve) skills.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

 

A Police Officer's First MovNat Experience

Thank you Daniel Sparks' for sharing your recent MovNat Ohio experience: I was first introduced to MovNat by Robb Wolf's podcast, Paleo Solutions. I immediately knew I wanted to try it. The idea of moving naturally really spoke to me. After hearing Erwan Le Corre speak with such passion and making MovNat so relatable, as well as Robb Wolf's description of his experience at the workshop in West Virginia, I wanted to sign up.

I was more than a bit broken down at the time. Following a Paleo approach was helping, but I was not where I wanted to be yet. I wasn't as strong as I needed nor was my mobility in good condition. I thought MovNat was exactly what I needed.

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I found a workshop near me and got excited. Prior to the workshop, which was cancelled, my life spun out. All progress I made stopped, and I had to start over. Unfortunately, MovNat was on the back burner.

I kept up with the blog and podcast, and discovered the closest trainer was at MovNat Ohio in Dublin, OH. I was visiting family in Columbus, OH and on an impulse checked the MovNat Ohio site. I sent an email to Lori Crock about hopefully training with her on Monday, but I sent the email the Saturday before. Much to my surprise, she responded the same day. A time was set and I was finally going to MovNat! So after less than two years of discovering MovNat I was finally receiving MovNat training.

I met Lori at 0600 Monday morning. My first impression was she was extremely fit and looked the part. She met me with a smile, which was impressive at 0600, and she got straight to business. She asked about my goals and what I wanted to get out of the training. This was want I expected from a quality coach.

After the paperwork and expectations, we got to work. She didn't just explain what to do in relatable detail, she performed the movements with me.

When the warm up and stretching was completed, we moved outside. She worked with me on jumping, throwing, climbing, lifting, running, balancing and crawling.

She explained everything and demonstrated the movements with grace and accuracy. Her strength was revealed with the ease in which she preformed all the movements and techniques. If I faltered on a movement, she had me make corrections and encouraged me to continue.

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I had attempted MovNat techniques before based on videos off the Internet, but having Lori's coaching made a huge difference. I actually climbed a tree! I was able to make corrections to my movements throughout the morning. My mobility improved. My movements felt easier. I felt better. This was working!

In just over two hours, my approach to training had changed, and for the better. I would highly encourage anyone seeking to improve their fitness and health, to sign up at MovNat Ohio! Lori is an excellent trainer and coach. She has far more to offer than just techniques on movement. Her whole approach to coaching encompasses the total picture of health. I was very pleased and impressed by my experience.

After 15 years of Law Enforcement, and 11 years as a Defensive Tactics instructor, I believe MovNat Ohio offers great training which is completely useful in everyday life.

You will increase your strength, improve your mobility, become more flexible and truly enjoy yourself.

I highly recommend training with Lori. I am now hooked and I look forward to returning for more. I have been through several great training programs, both LE and civilian, and MovNat Ohio is one of the best.

Countdown to the RKC

When my husband Al and I first started learning to use Kettlebells a few years back with Jeff Turner, we weren't sure we liked using them. It was awkward and we didn't know anyone else using them in the gym. But once we got the timing down, and realized how much they help build strength, power and endurance, we began using them more often and really enjoying it.

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After receiving my MovNat trainer certification in 2012, I increased my kettlebell work and began training for the Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC) offered by Dragon Door, as a personal goal, but also as another business offering. The Kettlebell cert is also recognized by Pavel's organization Strong First.

Since then, I have really gone crazy enjoying and teaching the kettlebells -- more than barbell lifting.

Thanks to Chris Meredith, RKC (and our UPS  man) for his advice about preparing for the certification.

So now I am two weeks away from the cert and I very excited about the challenge.

I have been doing some private training with Dave Clancy, RKC II, owner of Blue Chip Athletics, to make sure my form is correct, and that has been very helpful.

Dave isn't really as mean as he looks in this photo.

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So at the cert, which is at Dave's gym, we have to perform and coach the Turkish Getup, Clean, Press, and Swing (single arm and double), Squat, various KB carries, and of course, complete the killer 100 overhead snatches in 5 minutes.

I have been testing myself on the 100 snatches weekly for a few months now and I am under 4 minutes, so that is going well.

I am using the 26 lb. KB for the snatch, but I often practice the other movements with heavier kettlebells to build endurance.

Recently our intern Gabby Sinmaz ran the 1/2 marathon by only training with KBs and some resistance training -- no running -- a nice testimonial for the power of Kettlebell training for overall strength and conditioning.

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So I am trying not to do anything stupid between now and the cert;  no falling out of trees, no overtraining, no getting injured and no adding new lifts to my routine.

I also did the Whole 30 recently to focus on eating nutrient dense foods, and by the way, the cert has a weight requirement. The heavier one is the more weight that must be lifted. So there can be no gaining weight for me between now and the cert.

I am looking forward to the challenge of learning from Master RKC Andrea DuCane, meeting other kettlebell lovers and sharing all of what I learn with all of you.

Back at 'ya after the cert! ~Lori

At the Playground

Some very forward-thinking yoga instructors, Eric and Chelsea from Solaluna Yoga, had us in recently to teach MovNat to their community in beautiful Oberlin, Ohio. See the photo gallery at the end of this story.

Even though balance is a strength for yoga trainees, everyone enjoyed the challenges MovNat balance practice imposed with the dowell thow-and-catch, walking over and under obstacles and through the hula hoop and balancing with a squat and lunge.

Lifting and carrying is very practical skill we teach-- whether we are lifting/carrying sandbags or people.

Another favorite are the variations of the foot-hand crawl -- and  trainees are always surprised at how difficult it can be to master the various crawl techniques that came so naturally when we were babies.

The highlight of the day was our trip to the local playground.

How often does a group of adults get to enjoy a lovely Sunday afternoon climbing trees, jumping on and off a giant turtle, hanging from the monkey bars and testing out their newfound efficient movement skills including the jump-over-human-to-front roll? Smiles everywhere.

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And because we had to get to the playground somehow, we practiced our forefoot running on the way -- on the way back we jumped over benches and balanced on curbs, movnat-style, with nary a nod from anyone. Oberlin is a college town after all.

To play with purpose -- explore movement using MovNat, sharing stories, tweaking our running form, using our bodies to move in new ways, laughing and being physically active without reps, sets, machines or even any rules (except to be safe and try some of the skills) is all that we ask.

On days like this, I do have the best job in the world ... helping people learn to look at 'exercise' and health in a new way with freedom, excitement and pure fun.

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In our competitive world, people find the collaborative nature of MovNat refreshing.

We encourage each other and share in each other's triumphs while practicing the skills.

When someone masters an elbow swing up over the bar, we're all sharing in it, and in fact, we feel like we are really right up there with them.

Different ages can practice together and each be challenged.

We had a family in the workshop with a 10 year-old boy ... and it was so interesting to hear the 10-year-old' perspective on movement (it's so simple, it's a bear crawl!) and his favorite movement was the jump with a slap landing.

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We had a couple trainees preparing for the Tough Mudder and we gave them lots of practical movement tips and techniques to help them prepare for the 12K grueling obstacle course next weekend.

I don't think many fitness sessions leave people feeling energized and so happy afterward.

Okay, maybe we are a little sore the next day, but while we are in the midst of it, it is nothing but fun and community building and for a period of time, we leave the rest of the world out of our minds.

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Thanks to Solaluna for hosting us! We enjoy giving private workshops at fitness studios, to corporate groups and non-profit organizations. Contact us for more information.

Competitive or Collaborative?

I was interviewed by a news reporter recently for an article in The Columbus Dispatch about competitiveness in the gym. Read the story here.

I felt like I had a split personality as I was talking to the reporter ... because while I consider myself a collaborative person, when I am really honest with myself, I see that my true nature is, well, competitive.

So what does this mean in terms of daily fitness training?

I think it means that we should accept our true nature, but I also think that most people can benefit from a mix of competition and collaboration in fitness.

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MovNat is collaborative, but in a MovNat team-building event recently, after working collaboratively, we created some friendly competition by splitting into teams for a little tug-o-war. The group was hungry for it.

Here are some questions to ponder if you consider yourself a competitive person and struggle with that a bit (like me).

1. What is your true nature?

Don't fight your true nature; work with it. But definitely fine-tune it appropriately for the people you are with and for the situation. In terms of competing with my husband, I do that at times where it makes sense -- when it's just the two of us training and with appropriate fitness tools. We don't compete in areas that would be unsafe or there is a ridiculously large difference in our skill levels.

2. How do you use competitiveness for good?

Keep it in perspective. Be safe and progress appropriately. Listen to your body. Have fun and keep a light spirit -- a good challenge can keep you progressing, but don't let it get out of control or someone could get hurt -- when form falls apart, the competition is over.

3. When is collaborative and/or competitive appropriate?

I think collaborative and competitive work together on and off all the time. Helping each other, correcting form, reminding the other to hydrate, stretch, spot a lift ... that's collaborative. Wanna see how many Kettlebell swings we can do in a minute? That's competitive, but in the case of hubby and me, we are competing with ourselves and each is using Kettlebell weights appropriate for our individual skill level.

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4. Can you achieve good results without competition?

For sure. We do it all the time. Working together toward a goal is fun. Shouldering a log together ... one day we ran up a hill side-by-side carrying heavy rocks -- fun and challenging -- we told ourselves "this is not competitive," and it felt great to laugh and move fast. Although, I have to admit  ... I was racing him ... as I always do  ... and I can promise you ... he was racing me too.

Do you tune in to your true nature and use it for good?

A Taste of Fitness Freedom

Saturday was pretty cool so I have to write and tell you about it. First, we had a MovNat and Paleo Meetup where this week we taught and practiced Efficient Running, Crawling and Throwing (rocks) outdoors.

Second, my daughter Sarah and her boyfriend Slade came in for their first session with me indoors.

Third, one of our bridal clients and her fiance came in from out of state to train with us.

What the three have in common is this ...

They all experienced Fitness Freedom.

The Meetup folks learned to run efficiently and naturally, the MovNat way ... and this is totally counter-cultural to our heavily-padded tennis shoe world of running.

We practiced excellent form barefoot, or in socks, to get the feel of the forefoot landing with an emphasis on posture, leg pull and the landing. Based on their feedback, it was a positive change in running form -- one that was quite eye-opening; it gave them something new to take with them and explore further in their daily lives.

Sarah and Slade experienced an indoor movement session with a mix of MovNat (climbing, crawling), TRX and Kettlebells. It especially resonated with Slade -- as an engineer whose job includes plenty of time working at a computer. I believe the physical fitness will be a nice addition to his life as he seeks to increase strength and have fun doing it.

Finally, Anthony and Valessa enjoyed exploring the Waterfall park with me through the practice of MovNat. The weather was perfect and the fallen logs allowed us to practice the deadlift, clean-and-jerks, crawling, balancing and climbing and jumping.

Their minds were open to all of it, and to experience it together, both indoors and in nature, was really special.

Here Valessa's testimonial about how she enjoyed training in nature and learning MovNat with us over the last month or so.

I can’t describe how much fun it is to teach these incredible people to explore their environment through simple, safe, efficient movement and to watch them learn, grow and unfold in new ways as their view of fitness changes.

On days like this, fitness coaching feels like the best job in the world because I get to help people have fun, appreciate their bodies, learn to move well in new ways, reconnect with nature -- and with each other.

Want to experience Fitness Freedom too? Contact us to get started.

Back to My Roots

When my aunt and uncle visited recently from Hawaii, they stopped by MovNat Ohio to see the place and find out more about what I was doing. My parents were there too ,and of course I made the entire group of 70+ year-olds walk down to the River Park with me to better understand MovNat and how we practice it. My dad immediately challenged me lift a 400 lb. log, yeah right, but at least he appeared to understand what I was talking about. My aunt is very perceptive. On the walk to the park she commented “you must be so happy to return to your jock roots.”

What jock roots?

I haven’t thought much about how from age 10-19, I was Swimmer. That was it -- my whole high school identity, all that I cared about, my entire social life, everything was about swimming.

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Lori the HIgh School Swimmer

It had also been my family’s main social life as my younger sister swam too, and we had lots of with out-of-town swim meets where we ended up becoming very close to other swimmer families.

I swam 3-4 hours a day, before and after school, trained on Nautilus machines (LOL) and had ‘visualization’ training with some psych major from The Ohio State Universtity.

My high school swim team, which I captained for two years, won State repeatedly and our relay made it to Junior Olympics. It was a great experience and I have lots of happy memories.

I then decided I wanted a ‘normal life’ and quit swimming when I hit college -- much to my dad’s dismay as he was planning on a swimming scholarship to pay for it.

At Miami University of Ohio, I immediately gained the freshman 15 and began running with my college roommates to get back on track.

I have been running on and off, along with trying other various fitness programs, ever since.

About a year ago I discovered MovNat and now I run using MovNat running techniques either bare foot or in minimal shoes. Running gets me to cool parks and playgrounds to practice MovNat.

So with my aunt’s insight, I now feel more like my transition from marketing pro to MovNat trainer is pretty natural. There have been a couple points in this transition where I feel a bit crazy -- scaling back a marketing business and ramping up a fitness business at age 50?

Sure, why not -- I can live in both worlds. A lot of people do.

Hopefully other former athletes will find their way to MovNat, get back to their jock roots, so to speak, and embrace something new, exciting and different in MovNat.

I think they, like me, will be pleasantly surprised at how naturally MovNat can fit into their lives.