Category Archives: Mental Training

Success in Supplements

Recently I blogged on the TOEST.ca website how the hyper competitive environment in amateur sport is leading children and their parents to explore and pursue every opportunity that may offer a competitive advantage. In the past, this usually led to additional training opportunities but today, the mindset is that training is for losers and the ‘low hanging fruit’ to being faster is in equipment and supplements. Why waste time training, when being faster is as easy as lighter components, more aero gear, or supplements yielding performance benefits?

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Undoubtedly there is benefit to equipment and supplements, the point is not to argue that, the point is to highlight that when process and progress in training is not the primary focus, and when everything else does become the focus… its unreal how far athletes, their parents, and coaches will go. No red spinach vs beets is not the issue, the issue is that today children and their parents are resorting to ‘legal doping’ in order to obtain desired outcomes. Children and parents have figured out that some of the prescribed medications children are on actually yield performance benefits. So what happens now, when some children are on such drugs for medical reasons which have performance enhancing benefits, yet other children are not? How exactly is competition fair? How exactly is qualifying fair if cut off times are being established based on times achieved with performance enhancing drugs… even if they are legal, even if mom & dad have a TUE? How long before parents of children who are not on meds starting seeking options to ‘help’ level the playing field?

This is how perverted amateur sports is becoming. Its not about children using sport as a metaphor for life and developing a skill set to succeed as adults… its all about putting children in head to head competition for the sake of selling the 0.1% chance that the child is going to Worlds, to the Olympics, etc…

Big business has taken over sport, and as big business does… it seeks to monetize the dreams of children & parents selling short cuts with massive price tags instead of selling process and proper progression with the price tag being proper training (not equipment & supplements).

If it was only red spinach or beets, then there would be no issue but the point of linking to this article is to showcase the overall mindset that has been emphasized. Training on sport websites, on sport teams and in the sports media has been cut down to cookie cutter 10, 12 and 16week training programs dumbing-down training to HiiT and eliminating any discussion as to skill, technique, and physiological capacity. Its hard training, end of discussion.

When training is dumbed-down to this extent, then athletes start looking elsewhere. And the elsewhere is now prescribed medications used along with a TUE in order to obtain cuts, qualifying times, to make it onto various teams.

We need to go back to basics, back to the beginning, emphasizing the development of body/kinesthetic intelligence seeing it as the primary engine of performance; and leaving all the supplements and equipment as the turbo effect. In this way, remembering that a turbo is useless without a proper engine should help us keep first things first.

Training Plan = Heart Attack

So you want to run in an event… probably a marathon, right? Everyone wants to run a marathon these days, because anything less if for whiners not winners.

So where do you begin? With Google! Search for a training plan to take you into your event of choice. But, let’s say you are a mindful individual, conscious of the fact that stepping up into a full marathon is perhaps a bit excessive for your body & brain, so you decide on a half marathon as a warm up to the full marathon.

Can’t go wrong… right?

Well, what if things do go wrong…

Click here to link to the full article @ RunnersWorld.com

But… he trained right, didn’t he? He didn’t do a full marathon, he started with an half and he trained “properly” because he followed a plan… isn’t that the right way to train?

Indeed, he followed a training plan, and even with a training plan… he was unable to avoid having an heart attack. And now as a result he has to live with a defibrillator implanted in his chest for the rest of his life, but fear not… the goal of a marathon is not abandoned.

Just need to find a “better” training plan, right? One that avoids heart attacks, because of course the one used to do the half-marathon must have been defective?

Point: training for sport does not follow a cookie cutter pattern… there is no one size fits all. The only reason training plans exist is because there are coaches who are willing to ‘sell’ the fantasy that there is an one size fits all for any and all events. Problem is… these coaches don’t have the smarts to know how dumb that statement is, and the problem that arises from that is that individuals who want to complete events end up believing dumb-ass coaches who sell fantasies and then end up dead, or almost dead.

Training – even at the age of 24 – needs to take into consideration far more than whether or not you can bang out the mileage… that is if you do not want to compromise on your health in the process. Otherwise you risk participating in the event by using your health like a credit card in an attempt to pay off the effort of the event (and hoping you have enough credit to get yourself to the finish line).

In the case above, this young man had the mileage but didnt have the health to race a half marathon, proper coaching could have prevented this… but hey, today everyone is so smart, no one needs a coach… all they need is a training plan.

Good luck with that.

Too Much of a Good Thing

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing…

Click here to link to the full article at Bicycling.com

But our hi intensity lifestyles coupled with our hi intensity training and our mindset that rest is for losers is supposed to lead us from one epic high to the next doesn’t accept that there are limits, let alone too much of anything.

The mindset is… if a little is good, then more is better, and even more is best.

It doesn’t work that way.

Iron-Clown [2]

Since so many triathletes who complete iron distance triathlons end up with tattoos, figured that all the iron-clowns should also have an image to commemorate their finish line crawl…

Think that a m-dot sad clown face should do justice for all those who think the finish line actually holds some secret special power of making one whole, or that the words spoken by the commentator that “you are an Ironman” is something other than a mindlessly repeated corporate motto, conveying some special meaning in regards to who you are as a person.

Its not that you cross a finish line that matters.

Finish lines are arbitrary pieces of pavement, in and of themselves they are meaningless.

Its how you cross a finish line that matters, but when you realize that the how begins not at the start of the race, but with the how that you approach each and every day that you are alive… only then do you appreciate that there are no finish lines.

All that there is… is life… and how you succeed in life is what matters. Everything else is temporary but the how with which we live is what immortalizes us and is what we take with us beyond this life.

Iron-Clown [1]

/ˈī(ə)rn kloun/

noun

  • An individual who lacks awareness of the fact that they do not have the health nor the basic physical skill set to swim, bike, and run with the degree of competency required to compete in the sport of triathlon, yet who subsequently enters and competes in the longest endurance events in the sport of triathlon, namely iron-distance triathlons, believing it will serve to accurately portray the superior state of physical fitness, emotional stability, and mental health they believe they have

Misrepresentation

Can science lie? I mean… isn’t science objective, as in 100% objective?

Science may be, but we must remember that scientists aren’t.

Case in point…

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Researchers did indeed show – in this study – that parachutes don’t work, or more correctly, work as well as backpacks (which were worn by the control group). The spoiler… the study subjects jumped from planes that were not flying, weren’t even moving, were actually parked on a nice piece of grass with the jump off point from the plane a mere couple of feet above the ground. Refer to the picture in the linked article to see exactly how researchers ‘proved’ parachutes don’t work.

The point… this is exactly how scientists can use research to cause readers who fail to dig into the details of the scientific study to come to false conclusions. Worse, sports writers who rarely are versed in scientific literature (you need a minimum of a university level course in statistics to understand the data points precisely and in order to draw conclusions), defer to the scientists study title in order to write articles which are then posted on triathlon, running and cycling websites. With few of the website readers digging into the depths of the research the dissemination of false information grows and grows until you have a meme develop like… take for example all the articles that showcase only the upside of HiiT and fail to ever mention any downside, any long term costs or consequences to hi intensity training.

Its not only the setup of the study that matters – e.g. jumping from a plane on the ground vs a plane flying hundreds of feet above the ground to test a hypothesis over parachutes – everything about science matters… from the number of participants, to who are the participants, how they were selected, how the study was performed, and whether the results of the study are in fact statistically significant.

Every study will yield results, the questions that need to be dealt with are the results meaningful, reproducible, valid and reliable? If not, then the study, irrespective of how awesome the conclusion may be… is irrelevant because it wasn’t science that was performed, it was a hack or hobbyist attempting to do science.

Google “research fraud” and you will find that the number of reported and unreported cases of scientists messing with their scientific studies in order to deliver “results” is growing. This has huge implications not only in sport, but everywhere, especially in areas such as health care.

In the meantime, be cautious about accepting scientific research study results just because someone says the data was published even in a noteworthy journal.

Scientists unlike science are not 100% objective. They are prone to the fleshy pursuits of profit, power and prestige and if the opportunity to mess with results offers the potential to eek out a nicer slice of the pie for themselves… well… some scientists won’t blink twice to take the opportunity even if it means disseminating incorrect information hence compromising on their name and their reputation.

Flat Feet Don’t Mean You Need Orthotics

Lesson is… you cannot look at feet in isolation of the entire body, or in the case of runners just in or out of the running stride, and the entire body and how it moves needs to be assessed, meaning all the joints from head to toe.

This is NOT a skill set any specialty running shoe retailer sales clerk has; that running stores make such claims … well, if any professional made such claims and didn’t have the education, the experience, the credentials to back it up, its called malpractice.

Running Shoe Sales Scam

What happens when you put any body part into a cast?

What does it look like 6 or 8 weeks after having a cast?

Besides hairy, its what… thin, weak, fragile.

Alright… so what happens when you place an orthotic onto a body part?

The exact same thing.

The orthotic – whether that be a foot orthotic or any other type of orthotic – will result in the underlying structures slowly becoming more and more dependent on the supporting features and functions of the orthotic device, hence the underlying structures will weaken and in time be unable to support the body part or entire body without the orthotic device.

Now, with this said… there is a time and place and person who will need a true orthotic device and thank goodness there are health care technicians & professionals specializing in constructing these custom devices for patients. For the most part, most do not need orthotics. What is needed is a proper training program that teaches the body to do the work the orthotic device would do, so that the orthotic device is no longer needed, or not needed to begin.

What if… all the stability shoe nonsense, and orthotic nonsense is actually the source of many running injuries and not the so-called solution that its made out to be by your typical specialty running store sales clerk?

What if… all the support, stability, etc… that we are putting under our arches is resulting in the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and even bones becoming more and more dependent on the supporting structures, hence having to work less and less becoming weaker and in time instead of being able to function properly, become so dependent on being ‘casted’ 24/7 that without a stability shoe or orthotic insert or both… the person ends up not even able to walk.

Yet that same person will swear that if it wasnt for the amazing support in their shoes and orthotics… they would never be able to walk again.

Gee… this sounds like a terrific con job if you are in the business of selling shoes and need to ensure that your customers become repeat customers and in turn bring in more customers (all with foot problems, foot pain, and most importantly running injuries)!

For those not interested in being scammed any longer, there is an alternative but you won’t find it in any specialty running retail shop… its called training.

Indeed. You can actually train the muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones in your feet, your lower leg, your entire leg all the way up to your core to becoming more agile, able to balance with less effort and exertion, leading to greater coordination in movement.

Guess how that happens?

Right… through repetitive simple silly little exercises that most laugh off as pointless and useless, meanwhile they will run – sorry, i mean hobble – over to their running store sales clerk seeking a solution for all their running injuries, and never clue in to the fact that their injuries have progressively become worse and worse, even chronic in some cases as a result of the shoe sales scam of… seek ye… Stability! Support!

What I would like to see… research that identifies just how many running injuries result from so-called ‘proper running shoe selection’ from a typical specialty running retailer. How many injuries have actually been caused? Based on that research, I believe an estimate could be made of all the wasted health care dollars that the public health care system and individuals have used for private health care in ‘resolving’ issues that were never properly solved because the so-called solution never was, instead running shoe selection by a sales clerk being a bandaid that covers up what is truly needed: proper training, proper progression, perhaps even a period of no running so that the body can heal, return to zero so that it can be built up to take the repeat stresses of running or whatever is the sport the athlete is involved.

It’s Gotta Be The Shoes!

Walk into any running shoe store, especially a specialty running shoe store and mention that you are looking to either start running or replace your current running shoes and the sales clerk will immediately put on their white lab coat to start selling you on the scam which is… that running shoe design (i.e. stability, neutral or cushioning) is critical to preventing running injuries.

The sales clerk, who is without any training in foot anatomy, foot biomechanics, foot anything, will likely ask to see your current pair of running shoes in order to “analyze” your wear pattern so that they can ‘prescribe’ you the appropriate running shoe.

Its an unbelievable scam because there is no proof for any of it.

https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/52/24/1552

First, there is no conclusive, consistent, reliable and valid research that shows that running shoe design will prevent any injury.

https://www.triathlete.com/2018/12/gear-tech/does-shoe-type-really-matter-probably-not-says-study_337721

Second, when did running stores obtain the ability to ordain sales clerks as pedorthists, podiatrist, orthopedist or physiotherapist? Seriously? If any regulated health professional made as many false claims as running sales clerks do regarding running shoes, there would be countless complaints to the regulatory bodies of those professionals. Sales clerk get away with it because they aren’t anything… other than a sales clerk: they are not specialists in the foot, nor in prescribing footwear despite the fact that this is exactly how they present themselves.

This is what happens when an industry sells a belief, ordains hundreds and hundreds of false prophets (i.e. running store sales clerks) who call all runners to seek redemption by buying the proper shoe… only then will they achieve running nirvana with all their foot aches and pains receding, and bringing an end to their running injuries. Convert to injury free running with the purchase of “proper” running shoes is the claim… the outcome… runners have just as many running injuries today as they did prior to the “innovation” of all the gimmicks in running shoes.

Meanwhile, the fastest runners in the world – runners from nations in Eastern Africa – grow up running on dirt roads without any shoes whatsoever (usually because they cannot afford them, yet become world class runners despite running for years without ‘proper’ running shoes).


I remember working in a specialty running retailer.

I remember the head office supplying the store with a treadmill and video camera so that customers could be recorded walking or running on the treadmill in order that the “diagnosis” of over-pronation be captured in order that stability shoes could be sold, or those runners who land heavily on their heels could be shown the need for a shoe with the utmost of cushioning.

I remember how customers could be ‘sold’ more and more expensive shoes because of this sales process.

I remember the store manager excitedly using this tactic to sell over and over again the most expensive shoe in the running store.

I recall customers gobbling up the apparent care, expertise, and knowledge of all of us sales clerks in the running store as if we were actually ‘experts’ in all things feet.

What a scam!

It was only afterwards, while attending UofT studying to become a physiotherapist that I realized the inappropriateness of this process, and moreover that there is in fact no connection between running shoe type and running injury.

But do you think anyone in the running shoe industry wants the truth to get out?

Now consider that its not only in regards to running shoes, but false claims of assessment, false diagnosis of an underlying issue and ‘prescription’ by a sales force of a service or product is rampant across the entire health, fitness and sports industry. The entire cohort of personal trainers have less combined education than a lifeguard, yet these so called ‘professionals’ are widely accepted as ordained ministers able to preach all things health, fitness, even nutrition, promising that all your goals… from weight loss to performance in sport are achievable through another scam: hi intensity interval training [HiiT].

I challenge you to start challenging everything you hear in the health, fitness and sport industry because you will find that almost all of it is simply trending fads with nearly no substance to any claim made.


Now consider this…

Recently in reading a newsletter from the College of Physiotherapists, I read that a particular insurer will stop accepting invoices from physiotherapists for orthotics: meaning that this insure does not believe that physiotherapists are able to appropriately diagnose and prescribe orthotic devices for their patients (despite having training in anatomy, biomechanics, pathology, and rehab processes, etc…).

But… running store sales clerks ‘prescribe’ all sorts of orthotic type solutions to customers – from shoes to insoles – without any repercussion.

That makes no sense at all!

So whats the point in becoming a foot specialist – a true foot specialist who has taken university level courses to become a regulated health professional who specializes in the foot – if all you need to do is start to work at a shoe retailer and you can… well, you can do just about anything without anyone regulating you?

Sign of the Times

The news of how the Boeing 737 Max was designed and was certified as safe to fly, sums up the current mindset… short cuts, short cuts, and more short cuts in order to make money as quickly and as easily as possible (as in with minimal work, if any at all) to the point that the lives of those who would eventually be flying on the plane is no matter of consequence.

Seriously… what can we expect other than planes falling out of the sky, killing everyone on board when the mindset from the get-go is anything other than excellence? How can we possibly expect anything else? And what… a collective ‘oops’ or ‘my bad’ from Boeing is supposed to be the apology we are expected to accept as sufficient?

Its no different in sport…

A mindset of short cuts, short cuts and more short cuts has taken over, with the goal of making it to the finish line of our chosen event to be made as easy as possible (as in with as little training as possible).

What is not surprising is that there are coaches willing to climb on board this mindset and sell the short cuts. With designers, engineers and the entire C-level of executives at Boeing being all-in on whatever it took to beat European based airplane manufacturer Airbus in delivering a next generation of fuel efficiency plane where wagering the lives of those who would eventually fly on the plane being immaterial… that coaches are willing to do the same should be no surprise. What’s one or a couple lives, if we are willing to kill hundreds at a time?

Ask yourself… do you want to fly on a Boeing 737 Max?

If not, then why are you willing to train under the guidance of a coach who has as much of a conscience as the Boeing team that developed, built, and sold the 737 Max? Stick with that kind of coach and your training and racing will fly just as well as a 737 Max.



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