All things physical. From stretching, resistance exercise, injury prevention and post rehabilitative care. This is the source for musicians physical care through the science of movement.

I’ve been asked countless times, “Mike, I’m eating well, I just can’t seem to lose the weight… what am I doing wrong?”

I’m usually quick to ask “What’s eating well look like to you?” As part of my coaching, I like to believe the best in everyone, but honestly, seeing is believing so I generally follow that question up with “Can you show me what each meal has been exactly in the past three days?”

Most often, that person cannot.

More often they say something to the effect of

“Well, it’s just really tough when the boys want to go out for wings and beer after the game… when my wife wants to do pizza and wine night on Friday and the kids are always on the go for band recital, soccer practice and other extra curricular events… I just don’t wanna be that guy, you know?”

I do. However, own it. You get to make that choice to get wings and beer, enjoy the pizza or choose to eat fast food from the drive thru en route to the kids practice… only you get that choice. And to piggyback on this, it’s not only to do with nutrition. If you find yourself in any less than ideal situation, maybe you just lost your job, maybe you’re considering starting your own business, maybe you want to pursue a passion – whatever it is, if you don’t have the social support, the likelihood of you achieving that dream significantly decreases.

It’s amazing how much we are influenced by the social circles that we are in. I found a very interesting article that explain the power of social support very clearly, from my friends and fellow coaches at Precision Nutrition. Take a read if you think you might know someone that’s got the right intentions but the wrong friends. Might be time to cut the line…. [Read the full article here]

Ciao, babes!

Xo

M

 

Featured Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

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Whether it’s coming in and bossing out on the olympic platform, running a sprint for 3 minutes, or maxing out her previous record dead lift, my athlete of the month goes to Karen.

 

It’s crazy to think that this rock star has dropped about 40lbs in a year, started Olympic Lifting and setting Powerlift records nearly every time she touches the bar and – what I think is the most important change – has truly integrated a healthy lifestyle into the daily routine. Day in, day out.

I’m here to write about my experience of working with Karen. I can’t begin to tell you how much I feel as though she has helped me grow as a coach. Not just because I can basically toss any exercise at her and she’ll fine a way to get it done, but because how ridiculously determined she is. This is what it takes to make positive change in your life.

Let’s start with her dedication to getting comfortable in being uncomfortable.

Comfortable

She had never tried Olympic Lifting, let alone even really know what exactly it was one year ago.

I showed her how to throw a barbell over her head… the rest is history.

Just to put it in perspective she clean and jerked 105lbs (that’s shown in the video up there…)

She deadlifts, she runs, she squats, she makes everyone around her happier and she absolutely kills it at work. Sure she might dislike doing the exercise at times, but she puts her head down and goes.

Things sound pretty good, eh? It wasn’t an easy road. Combine daily (sometimes painstaking) lessons and habits to help refocus her relationship with food and her nutrition, overcoming scheduling bumps, vacations, sickness – all the typical excuses… with life’s general random “curveballs” and you’ve still got an individual that never missed a session. A date with herself. A date with change. A date with progress, over perfection.

I’m honoured to get to work with Karen towards her craziest goals. Together with her attitude and what skills I can pass along I really see the sky as the limit. it’s amazing what the power of the mind can do.

Thank you, Karen. Stoked to see what’s next and keep this going.

Stay sweet.

M

 

Yep. Let’s kick off the shoes and relax the socks. We are gonna get into why your posture, performance and overall quality of life will significantly improve with the simple task of taking care of your feet.

Why? Well, your feet hold a kazillion interconnected little muscles that serve to keep the rest of your body, most notably you posterior chain all in line.

That’s right. If you’re suffering from a sore back, it very well could be rooted in your plantar. The spiral of your hip starts at the hip and winds it’s way down through the knee and into the ankle. So oftentimes, Problems that exist in one joint transfers up into the other joints on the spiral. It’s generally the result of a compensation pattern that develops when something isn’t working as efficiently as it should be. Ie: your feet.

Now, don’t get me wrong – compensation patterns aren’t the problem. They’re okay. The body is intended to survive in its environment without a medical team on call. However, it becomes a problem when that compensation pattern wears the body down to the point of mechanical break down.

Here are my top three pro tips to take care of them footsies!

1. Golf ball in the shower technique

Keep a golf ball in your shower and roll your feet on it each time you’re in there. Part of the biggest problem is we only tend to ourselves when there’s an issue like plantar fasciitis – so this acts as a preemptive strike against poor foot health.

2. Streeeeeeeetch yo feet!

Seriously, your feet will appreciate it. And if upon starting your feet start to cramp, you should do this more.

Step 1: Kneel down, toes curled under your feet so that you stretch the sole of your feet as you slowly try to get your butt back to your heels.

Step 2: Try not to cry. You got this.

Step 3: Take a breather and relax. Then repeat.

3. Book a foot massage

Treat yo self!

Go get some spa treatment. Massaging that fascial tissue is super important to help alleviate future problems. Here are a couple of fun facts about massage for your reading pleasure: Fun facts about massage

K. Sweet. Take care of your feet, yo.

Alleviate all those other problems. Got to the root. Get to the soul – rather sole, of it all.

Boom.

Stay sweet!

M

Okay, we have all been here before. Late at night, pull out the guitar…and … nothing.

What?!

“But this what I do.”

Nothing. No spark.

You can’t help but wonder what it is, pulling at every strand of self-doubt. Did I sleep funny? Maybe that pulled pork sandwich (or tempeh wrap for our plant based friends) had some funk to it… whatever the case may be. You’re just not feeling it.

Well, that does happen from time to time. However, for professional artists, that could mean sacrificing a paycheque or two. Not cool. Let’s discuss three effective remedies to kick that brain fog and get our performance back up to snuff so we can focus on doing what we do really well, creating music.

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    1. Reduce the screen time!
      We spend far too much time in front of time-wasters like Facebook,Instagram,
      Reddit and the like. If we took half the time we spent searching news feeds or watching cute cat videos as we did reading, painting, getting outside… imagine how much more effective our time on earth would be. The dopamine hits from hitting the like button and constantly being concerned about who is liking your posts and how many followers you have is an unhealthy way to live. I would encourage you to set a daily time limit and stick to it. No more than a couple hours. And shut ‘er down by 8 pm so you don’t screw up your sleep cycle. The anxious feeling we get from self-worth is heightened when we follow the social norm of online gratification, so remove yourself from that world and you’ll start to inspire creativity simply because you have more time to do so! Check my recent post about last weekend’s social detox I did here. Follow up post is in the works…images

 

  1. Move!
    • Seems simple, but activity has proven to excite the brain in areas related to creativity independent of mood. You can read the study here. According to the research, the study’s result show that exercise helped to improve mood in participants and also creativity independently. This is good news for folks who want to get out of “creative blocks”. My suggestion? Get up and walk around when you’re feeling a block on the creative flow. I’m actually hosting a clinic specifically designed to address inspiring artistic creativity through movement in Calgary. If you’re in town, check it out here! If not, that’s cool. Here’s the best warm up for getting some creative flow! Unknown-1
  2. Journal!

    Oftentimes I feel like garbage at the end of the day. I feel as though I haven’t done anything at all. Have you even been there? There is a really easy way to track how productive you have been. Keep a journal and just close the day down with some thoughts and points of the things you did. Over time you’ll start to see how (un) productive you were… that way, you can manage it. For most people, we don’t track things so while we think we’re doing productive things, we really aren’t. If you see this trend, you can work towards improving upon it. We can’t manage what we’re not tracking, right? So give yourself a chance. I also found it amazing how easy things came to me when I wrote them down as goals and took behaviours that’d be intentional toward accomplishing them. I compiled it all into a workbook journal to help others get their shit together. I am officially releasing it this May in Toronto at Canadian Music Week. If you’d like an advance copy, just let me know.  mike@mikeschwartz.ca

There you have it. Three cool little tricks of the trade for you to keep up the creative flow. For those of you that are into reading, my favourite book ever for crushing the creative roadblocks is called “The War of Art”Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. Get it.

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Ok my friends. I’m out of here for now. I’m going to keep up the post per day to see what topics and time stick for the remainder of this week. I’m working through some things and have some exciting news to post about in due time, but until then… I hope your day or night is great.

Ciao,

M

Alright everyone, I told you I was up to something two weeks ago. I am periodically bringing on guest writers. These are professionals in the industry that are stoked to share their expertise and help give you all a different perspective on the learning thing. I’m very excited to bring to you my first guest, good friend, fellow Calgarian and amazing talent, Janis Isaman. She’s going to talk about her experience with the misconceptions of Yoga in the fitness industry and give you some insight of why it may or may not be the thing for you. Amazing how your understanding can totally shape the effect something has on your lifestyle. So without further adieu, I bring to you Ms. Janis Isaman…
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I get clients who stand in front of me talk about yoga in an offensive manner.
Offensive, as in: “I’ll do yoga on my days off from seeing you.” Aka: Yoga is a “rest day” program and therefore doesn’t “count” toward achieving “real” fitness goals.
(Note: I don’t want to wander into the “what is yoga” debate in this short post. So let’s simply presume we are talking about Yoga as the pursuit of moving your body, exclusive of any spiritual or mental benefits. So if you are a yoga teacher, don’t email me with the many meditative or spiritual benefits. Let’s just acknowledge that we both know and focus on asana for this post).
So here’s the thing.
Yoga is not “rest.” Sleeping is rest. Any pursuit of any kind that moves your body is movement, not rest.
We have a cultural obsession with things that “count”. And if there aren’t measurable caloric benefits from doing it, it must not “count”. If it doesn’t “count”, it necessarily gets lumped into  “rest, or even worse: “active rest.” Seriously: can we stop building programs that include “active rest?”
Yoga does not have to be done in a hot room or at full effort to “count”. I have personally experienced dramatic body transformation from practising yin, which theoretically burns no calories and should change anything about my body. But it does.
You can get injured doing yoga. I have.
You can change your body doing restorative yoga. I have.
You don’t need to punish yourself for “resting” the next day with a hard workout to make up for it. I used to do that.
Yoga can certainly vary in perceived difficulty. But doing things that are “easy” doesn’t make them “rest”. Next time you are on vacation, tell me that walking for 12 straight hours for 5 days in a row is restful on your body. You don’t need to be at maximum exertion to gain mental or physical health benefits.
In general, yoga is a complete movement system. Key word: movement. Even yin is movement. So yoga “counts,” every time.
Rather than thinking of Yoga as rest, we need to think of Yoga as balance. The busier you are, the more your body movement program needs to include body sustainability work and restorative work.
So if you are a mother of a young child, an executive, middle aged anyone, or a type A person: you probably need some yin or restorative yoga to balance out the busy and the drive.
The more sedentary you are, the more you need activity, effort and action in your body movement program. So: students and office workers, maybe consider some active postures and poses.
A fitness professional with yoga training can help you figure out an appropriate yoga program. Not to rest, but to balance the rest of your life and life choices, and to smooth the edges so that you can keep going.  Yoga is about sustaining you, not about resting while you are secretly doing Warrior poses.
Oh, and by the way….Yoga doesn’t necessarily EVER make you more flexible. You might be following instructions and cues that aren’t helping you. You might be doing things outside class that make it impossible to get gains. You might be doing movements that aren’t good for your body. Or you might be at bone compression and there no more range to gain. But that’s a whole other rant…
Contact Janis at www.mybodycouture.com where you’ll find all her social media, information on services and more awesome insight like this, her thoughts on cooking.
Photo by Farsai C. on Unsplash

Ahhh. I know it’s out of schedule for me, but I JUST HAD TO TELL YOU!

My first episode is up. And damn, that was a thrill. I got over my fear of talking to myself in a room and just let things subconsciously flow. Check it out below.

Episode 1 “Thoughts + Action = Reality”

Here’s what we have on the PPLSKLZ Radio feature I’ve dubbed “The Symposium”:

Expect a new topic that’ll keep you a “dope soul” every Monday night.

Then, you can also expect every second Thursday starting up in February a new guest in studio. Not just anyone. These are individuals that are pure magic. I will be hosting athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs, artists and anyone else that is next level shit. These people light me up and inspire the room they’re in to a totally different world. These are true rock stars and my aim is to bring to the forefront these inspiring stories of adversity, challenge and success so we can have a collective of badassery and solid PPLSKLZ.

Again, here’s the pilot…

Episode 1 “Thoughts + Action = Reality”

Check it out! Let me know if you have any particular topics you’d like to discuss or if you have any impactful people in your life that I can get on the show to help others become better humans.

Use the form below or just tag me on social media @coach_schwartzy

 

That’s right.

Well, actually no… but close right? Look:

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I’ve known this guy for years now, and after reconnecting through working together again  I’m super honoured to call him a dear friend. After hearing his story, seeing his drive and determination to best himself, I’m so happy to see how quickly his progression to become the best version of himself has been. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of his change.

That photo up there shows you physically how his body has responded. To check out the work he’s put in and his experience with the program for yourself, click here… left is August, the right is January. Dude’s lost 10lbs, 5cm around the waist, went down a whole pant size, up in confidence and actually became even more hilarious. We’re starting our 8th week together in movement and accountability coaching next week. Pretty amazing results when you dig in and want it. Unfortunately converting him from being a Canucks fan is going to be a bit of an uphill climb, but I believe anything is possible…

So he’s a pretty smart guy. Algebra. Algorithms. Math nerd. Big time brainy dude. He would teach Pythagorean theorem – shortest line travelled and efficiency and that sort of thing…

Ironic too, as Carder found the shortest line travelled in his quest to bettering his health and wellness in order to feel as good (and look as good!) physically as he feels inside.

Carder, man – you’re a true beauty. You light up every room you’re in and it’s only just the beginning. Your strength, both physically but even more so in the less talked about realm of mindset, is truly admirable.

Keep on rockin’, congrats on Athlete of December. I truly can’t wait to see this transformation unfold. The best is yet to come!