Miracle Fitness Mineral
Improve Every Aspect of Fitness with Daily Use of This Mineral
It will enhance bone density better than calcium. It will decrease muscle soreness more rapidly than magnesium. It is more potent than potassium. It will make you shinier than chromium and vaster than vanadium. The miracle mineral you are missing is graphite. Use of this long-neglected mineral will improve nearly every aspect of your fitness. The dose required for success is minimal, so a single ten cent pencil should last you an entire year. Read the remainder of this article on how to put this essential element into your training program.
You need to purchase a note pad, binder, or log book to store the pencil that carries this magic mineral. You use the graphite in the pencil to record the date of every training session. List out the exercises–you can use your own nomenclature. My wife has a special name for the Airdyne bike (that can’t be printed here). Most of the time you can just write numbers to document the sets and repetitions performed on each exercise. Write down if anything hurts, the effort necessary to complete the session, and post training energy level. Documenting post-training feelings is pure gold for your long-term success. Listed below are the scientific reasons why graphite is so helpful.
Getting Better and Not Broken
Beginners: If given the proper training prescription, newbies should make consistent progress. That time of steady progress should continue for at least a year. If it slows or stops, your trainer or coach needs to be able to review your exercise history and determine what is going wrong. Your recollection of what you did, when you did it, and how much you did is not reliable. A graphite laden training log is essential.
Intermediate and Advanced Clients: The longer you have been training and the more fit you become, the more concerned we are about injury and over training. Advanced clients require a more aggressive stimulus in order to elicit a positive adaptation response. The consistent exposure of graphite on paper enables the coach to monitor progress over time.
Ohh, Ohh, Ohh Feelings
Documentation of post training pain, morale, and energy levels help the client and the coach determine if the prescribed exercise program is producing the proper brain chemistry response.
Pain: Post rehab patients–I want them to “feel better or the same” after a training session. A good coach needs to know if any exercise is increasing symptoms–how long, how strong, and location. Pain creates an environment in your central nervous system that blunts motor control and slows progress in the gym.
Energy levels: If you are leaving the gym feeling sapped and ready to take a nap, I can guarantee that you will not be successful. Lots of research demonstrates that you are more likely to get sick and not fit.
Morale: University of Michigan psychology department found that clients who say they felt good about their effort level were far more likely to form the consistent habit of exercise. Use numbers, smile sad faces, graphs, stars, ven diagrams, trigonometr– I do not care. The coach needs to be able to see how you feel after each and every session.
Motivation Creates Habituation
Depending on the research, creating the exercise habit takes from eight to sixteen weeks. Train consistently for that period of time and suddenly it becomes part of your life and easier to remain in the habit of exercise. Consistency is king–all other modalities of training, good intentions, and fantastic plans will not work unless performed in a consistent fashion. Most of the goals people bring to the gym take more than sixteen weeks to achieve. Mobility, strength, pain resolution, and endurance will improve before fat loss or girth measurements. A sharp pencil and documentation of every training session affords the trainee the chance to look back and be a witness to the small successes that reinforce the exercise habit.
From the age of sixteen, I have kept a consistent log of my fitness efforts–45 years. Everyone’s physiological response to training varies, and my documentation has helped me identify the activities that helped and the ones that hindered. On more than one occasion I have “tweaked something”– doing too much too soon and for too long. A brief look back at my training history provides me with an “I did this before” revelation. As we get older, it becomes important to know which exercise activity produces a positive adaptation response and what you need to stay away from. The consistent use of graphite has sent me into my sixth decade with healthy, surgery free joints.
Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS