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#meditation Archives - Link Endurance

Mindset & Meditation: Sneaky Ways to Meditate

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One of the biggest aversions to meditation that I hear is that it is too hard to stay focused on the breath.  That thought seems to be synonymous around the globe.  People attempting to meditate simply give up, or worse, never even try it out of fear of not being able to calm their mind and focus on just their breath. What if I told you there was an easier way than sitting cross-legged in a quiet room? What if there were some sneakier ways to begin to meditate.

 

Meditation is having the ability to focus on one singular thing/task. One Buddhist monk once said, “Eating an orange can be a meditation”.  You simply focus on every aspect of eating the orange. From peeling it to how it feels in your hands to how it tastes each bite. Let me give you a few more examples. Prayer is meditation when you are focused solely on your words. Walking in outside is meditation when you are focused on one sound, then another, then another. Similar to the orange example above, eating any food can be meditation when you’re focused on that specific food. I could continue but I think you get the point. ANYTHING you do with a relaxed breath and intentional focus can be meditation, and don’t worry, when your mind begins to wander, simply follow it to the next thing you can focus on all while maintaining that same relaxed breath.

 

Now it’s time for you to give meditation another try, or start for the first time, with a bit of a different mindset and focus going into it. Get creative and have some fun!

5 Must’s to Improve Your Recovery Time

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5 Must’s to Improve Your Recovery Time

Whether you’re a hard charging athlete, outdoor adventurer or a full time working parent, the last thing you want is to be sidelined from being too sore or injured from training, a race, an expedition or simply doing life.  When we train hard or race we create tiny micro tears in our muscle tissue. These tears produce a slight inflammatory response, which starts a process of healing and repair. This is how we grow bigger, stronger, faster, etc. However, too much intense training, or after a long/hard race our bodies are riddled with inflammation which require adequate recovery. Without proper recovery, the inflammation in our bodies begins to cause negative affects like excessive soreness, muscular weakness, tight/stiff muscles and joints, and more.  Inflammation left unattended will likely result in reduced performance and injury. What I have compiled for you below are my guidelines that I give to every athlete/client of mine to help reduce inflammation and speed recovery.  This protocol has helped my Ironman, Ultra-marathon, and Obstacle Course clients recover in record time.

Eat anti-inflammatory foods:

The foods you eat have a profound impact on your ability to recover from hard training sessions, adventures or races. Eating highly acidic foods, such as processed refined grains, poor quality grain-fed meats, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, and excess sugar (anything over 7g/serving) can actually increase inflammation and impede recovery time.  Instead of reaching for one or more of the aforementioned foods, choose foods that will reduce acidity in your body, reduce inflammation and speed recovery. My “go to” anti-inflammatory foods are:

  • Coconut Oil.  This super food has many health benefits, one being fighting inflammation.  Use it to sauté vegetables, as a substitute for butter as a spread or you can even put it on your skin as a “lotion.”
  • Green Vegetables. I have a saying, “If it’s green and it grows from the ground it’s good for you.” Not only are green vegetables a great source of vitamins and nutrients, the nutrients in greens help mitigate inflammation and lower our body’s ph level (Read: makes us less acidic). Sauté them in a little coconut oil and you’ve got a double whammy of goodness to help you heal quickly.  The most nutrient dense greens are collards, kale, and spinach.  The darker the green, the more nutrient dense. If you are one that really doesn’t like to eat vegetables you can supplement with GreenVibrance and get the nutrients and anti-inflammatory benefits you need.
  • Wild Caught Fish and Grass-Fed/Finished Meats. The amino acids you get from eating meat is incomparable, in my opinion, and critical to rebuilding damaged muscles. Wild caught fish like salmon are very high in omega-3 fatty acids and therefore not only give you the protein you need to repair, but the omega’s to fight inflammation. Grass-fed meats, although a bit more acidic, have a much higher omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Too many omega-6 fats are very inflammatory.  If eaten with greens sautéed in coconut oil, you see what I’m doing here 🙂  — you minimize the acidity and increase recovery benefits.

Breathe:

Diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing, has been used for many years to calm our bodies down from the sympathetic “fight or flight” nervous system and engage our parasympathetic “calm relaxed” nervous system state.  Mindful relaxed breathing has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce stress/anxiety, and if done daily, before or after a stressful situation, with the proper mindset can actually aid in reducing inflammation and speeding recovery. If you can calm your breath and calm your mind, you will calm your body.

Move:

A common misconception, especially when we are really sore from a workout or race, is that we should rest and not move at all.  Allow our bodies to rest and recover, not unlike the old R.I.C.E. Rest Ice Compression Elevation protocol after an injury.  What if I told you that following those theories actually lengthens the recovery process and can create stiffness and tightness in your connective tissue and joints? Even after racing a full Ironman distance triathlon I, and my clients, will go through an easy recovery movement protocol the following day. The more you sit still the less circulation, blood flow, and therefore nutrients used to heal your tissue, get to sore muscles. Incorporating non-impact movements i.e. an easy swim, an easy spin on a bike, or MOGA for 15-20 minutes a day can greatly improve recovery time.

To begin incorporating MOGA into your recovery protocol – follow us on Instagram for weekly movement posts – @themogamovement

Cold contrast shower:

The benefits of cold therapy are well documented in aiding in reduction of inflammation, improving immune function, and hormonal balance to name a few.  For the purpose of this article, when combined with heat, hot/warm water, it can greatly improve your recovery time.  When you are in a cold shower your blood vessels & muscles constrict and blood is shunted to your core/vital organs, then when warm/hot water is introduced, your blood vessels open up and fresh blood & oxygen are re-introduced.  In the latter process you are delivering nutrients and oxygen to damaged tissue that help to reduce recovery time.  A typical protocol is to take a shower as normal.  At the end of your shower go through the following protocol 10 times: 20 seconds of cold water followed by 10 seconds of warm water.  Be sure to end on cold water.  This again, is something I prescribe to all of my athletes with great success.

Supplementation:

There seems to be a bazillion supplements on the market that tout recovery benefits, and there are some legitimate ones out there, but to avoid any confusion and to keep your bank account from busting by buying multiple products here are my top 3:

  1. Omega-3 fish oil in the form of  Krill Oil
  2. Bioastin 12mg
  3. Solgar Curcumin

These 3 supplements have been tested and proven to help reduce inflammation and aid significantly with recovery from hard training sessions, races, injury, and more.

There you have it – my five, must-do, go-to’s for faster recovery! I am certain there are other methods you can implement, and/or may have implemented in your own recovery plan that have worked. If so, keep doing it! If not, give my suggestions a try and let me know how it works for you.  If you have any questions or need help creating a custom recovery protocol for your needs please contact me at mo@linkendurance.com.  Until then, train hard & recover smart my friends.

 

Health Episode #7 Why You Need to Lift Heavy & Muse Headband Feedback

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In this episode Mo and Alix discuss the importance of lifting heavy weight and how/when to incorporate into your training plan. Whether you are an endurance athlete or just trying to be health conscience and reduce your risk of bone loss and strength as you age, EVERYONE needs to lift heavy occasionally. Contrary to popular belief, lifting heavy, when done correctly WILL NOT make you big…

Also, Mo goes into deeper review of the Muse mediation headband. Learn how you can take your meditation and mindfulness practice to the next level.

CLICK HERE to listen or download from iTunes or Stitcher

Mindset & Meditation: Muse Headband

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Muse Headband Review…

 

After many meditation sessions, guided, repeating mantras, and some with sound only for a year now I thought I had a pretty solid grasp on “being present” and focusing on my breath, a visualization, or something similar.  Then I discovered the Muse Brain Sensing Meditation Headband; you can check them out at www.choosemuse.com.  I called their headquarters for more information and spoke to one of their representatives for about 15 minutes.

 

I was intrigued by the ability to quantify our ability to focus on a single thing, such as breath. When wearing the muse headband during a meditation it can detect when your brain begins to lose focus and your mind begins to wander.  It then gives you instant feedback based on what you are listening to. For example, if I am meditating and listening to ocean waves on the muse app, the water sounds calm like small waves washing onto the shore.  When I lose focus on my breath the smooth calm waves become louder like crashing waves, nothing violent that or excessively loud, but enough to bring your attention back to your breath.  After each session the Muse app gives you a diagram comparing the time during the session that your mind was calm, neutral, or active (see photo above). Your goal is to increase your calm time and reduce your active time.  The ability to remain focused on a subject/object/etc. is crucial to maximize your ability to visualize during meditation.  For me, I thought I was able to remain focused, but turns out my mind begins to lose focus each time I exhaled.  It was quiet interesting and really made me think about how to remain focused. This has actually helped me stay focused during daily tasks. It’s pretty cool.

 

Using the Muse headband just before working on an important project/assignment as a busy adult, on a paper or studies if you are a student, or even prior to exams can help you retain a calm focused mind. I recently saw a news segment about meditation where a 5thgrader would meditate prior to a test to help her stay calm and focused. I think incorporating the Muse headband could help increase focus and a sense of calm presence even more.  If you practice meditation or even if you are thinking of beginning a meditation practice, which you should J, I encourage you to give the Muse headband a try. In our fast paced, over-stimulated, multi-tasking on top of other multi-tasking world, having the ability to calm our mind and thoughts and truly be present for just a few minutes a day could be just what you, I, we need.

 

 

Mindset & Meditation: Reflection

By | Mindset, Uncategorized | No Comments

 

Reflection…

 

 

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflection on experience” – John Dewey

 

 

As I have mentioned in previous posts about learning from failures and facing obstacles head on, it is important in your breathing and visualization practice that you reflect on those times. Reflect on what you could have acted, responded, or chose better and learn from that moment. Also, reflect back on the good choices that you made during times of stress, doubt, or conflict and log those moments into your mental memory bank so that you can refer back to them when needed.

 

Reflecting back to a time or situation where you made a better choice, response, etc. and really reliving those moments can have a profound impact on your ability to make better choices in the future. Let’s say for example you had to deal with a client, co-worker, boss, friend, or relative that was challenging and negative. Reflecting back to a time where you were able to remain calm and respond vs. react to diffuse the situation, you can mentally prepare yourself for the next encounter with a similar situation with this person. As doubt, anxiety, or even fear creep into your mind before the next meeting, reflect back on your win and say to yourself, “I was able to control this situation before, that means I have the power to do it again.” Then go into the meeting confident and mentally prepared.

 

Daily reflection is also important and can help you not only with clients, but also with life itself. It is quite easy to do and can be done at the beginning and end of each day. Here is how it works:

At the beginning of each day ask yourself these questions…

When doubt, fear, worry, or anxiety become present today I will:

1.

2.

Two positive things I will do today are:
1.

2.

 

I will be mindful of my reactions/responses by:

1.

2.

3.

 

At the end of each day answer these questions…

Today I was able to control my fears, doubts, worries, and/or anxiety by:

1.

2.

 

Things I could have done better/responded better to were:

1.

2

Tomorrow will be a great day because:

1.

2.

 

I encourage you to get a notebook and write out each question from above along with your answers. Do it daily and in doing so, you are creating a reflection journal as well as creating your own roadmap to success. Look back, learn, succeed.

 

 

Mindset & Meditation: Stealing Joy

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Stealing Joy

 

This week’s mindfulness echo’s last week’s post on “Look Within”. Too often, especially in the digital age, we let our happiness be determined by “likes”. We glare at photo-shopped images comparing our bodies to others, and we let other people’s opinions impact OUR attitude and mood for the day. All of these have one thing in common. They steal our happiness, our self-confidence, our self-worth, and our joy.

 

In the meditation from last week we are guided to not seek approval from outside sources, rather, look within yourself to find your happiness, what makes you unique, and THAT is what you should focus on.   There are also those out in the world, fire starters, who thrive on getting a “reaction” out of you. These people are thieves of your joy. If left alone, they have no power, but they poke and poke waiting for the moment you break and reply/react. You have just given them power. Think for a moment about the last time something you read or heard got you all fired up. Now think of how you then acted towards other people thereafter. Were you kind and patient, or were you short and potentially rude?

 

The same rule applies in traffic, where we all tend to lose it from time to time. Nothing gets under our skin more than the person that cuts us off in traffic. This is where your mindfulness practice is put to the test. We think that this jerk cut us off on purpose, and maybe he/she did, but maybe they are rushing to help someone, get to the hospital, make it to an important meeting on time and they simply didn’t see you. Maybe they did see you and they feel bad for cutting you off but don’t have time, or know how to say sorry/thanks/oops in that spit second. Whatever the case may be, don’t let traffic or people in traffic steal your joy. Again, there are folks on the road that like to “poke the bear”, however, it is up to you whether or not you react. Instead of getting angry and letting them know they are number one with that special digit, create a picture of patience and say to yourself and them, “I hope you get where you are going safely and everything is alright”. Then smile and wave. Try it, and I assure you, that you will feel a sense of happiness and peace instead of anger, and you will go through your day a bit more confident in your ability to stay calm and be happy.

Episode 144: An interview with Beni Gifford Like you Have Never Heard Before

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In this episode Miles and I chat with our friend Beni Gifford.  We start the show as we always do, wanting to not just learn about training and racing, but really dive into what makes our guests tick, and boy did we learn a lot! Beni opens up, enlightens us, and shares some diamonds, not pearls, of wisdom that you absolutely must hear!

You will here and learn:

  •  How to use the “why” technique for things you want or how you want to become, perform, etc.
  • How Beni uses meditation and one of the best/funniest mantras I’ve ever heard to get through hard races
  • How he has made difficult choices and not followed the status quo of what he “should be doing” in order to follow his own unique path to happiness in life
  • How to prevent conflict with co-workers, family, & friends with the “call out at point easy” technique
  • Why it is so important to chase your dreams
  • His greatest OCR influences and heroes
  • How he views his body as a Ferrari and how he uses nutrition to fuel the machine!
  • Why he thinks “NO WAN” will beat Hunter McIntyre on the Skull Buster
  • The reemergence of his alter ego “Antonio”
  • and a LOT MORE!! Seriously you will walk away from this episode inspired

CLICK HERE to listen or download from iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud

Check out Muse Wearable meditation band HERE

“I am” Guided Breath Practice

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This short guided breath practice is designed to help you reduce stress and go into your day with a calm/confident mind.  As you listen to this recording follow these tips:

  • keep your eyes closed and relaxed
  • breathe at your own comfortable pace
  • exhale fully on each breath, drawing your belly in towards your spine to stimulate your calm “rest and digest” nervous system

Episode 110: The Importance of Mid-Season Single Leg Strength Training, Huge Benefits of Deep Breathing, and More

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In this episode Coach Mo takes a break from athlete interviews to give you insight on:

– The importance of single leg training to prevent overuse injury and musculoskeletal imbalances

– How to implement single leg training into your weekly strength program and daily training

– The extreme importance of implementing deep breathing/breath work and meditation to your daily routine

– How breath work has helped an athlete with Parkinson’s improve performance/reduce tremors, and how it helped Coach Mo produce his fastest swim times in 10 years

– The use of Nootropics and Exogenous ketones to improve daily energy, clear brain fatigue, and improve athletic performance

 

CLICK HERE to listen or download from iTunes or Stitcher!

 

Insight Timer is the meditation app I referred to

KETOSPORTS by www.ketosports.com are the Exogenous Ketones I have been using

Nootropics I am using: Qualia, Onnit Labs Schroom Tech & Alpha Brain

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ICEBUG SHOES!

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