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Erik's Weekly Fitness Tip | Lessons From A Legend

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Erik's Weekly Fitness Tip | Lessons From A Legend

 

Al Carius

17 National Championships, 15 times runner up, “Coach of the Century” are just some of the accomplishments that Al Carius has made. Al sits on the Mount Rushmore of college coaches along with Wooden, Rockne, and Bear Bryant and he is still grinding away.  Al is a small-town guy that is humble and has his midwest roots firmly planted in the ground.  Al values your word, work ethic, family, and being part of something bigger than yourself.  But make no mistake, the jovial, always smiling, glass half-full guy lives to compete and compete he does with a career that spans 5 decades as head of the Men’s Cross Country Team at North Central College.

But as competitive as Al is, it’s the family atmosphere and the relationships that he has made along the way of his legendary coaching career that he is the proudest of.  If I had to describe Al’s coaching philosophy and personality, from what I read he’s a lot like John Wooden.  He’s made such an extraordinary impact on so many young men’s lives that it’s not even possible for me to put into words.

A Bump In The Road

In the fall, I got word that Al hit a bump in the road with his health.  While he and I hadn’t talked in a few years I knew that I needed to reach out to him.  I wanted to remind him of the importance of strength training, that he needed to run less, and that he needed to get himself into a calorie surplus so his reserves were full.  

On a Monday in September I called him. In this first phone call he reminded me why he is who he is - it’s not what he said, it was the energy in his voice, it was his attitude, I knew he was smiling the whole time while we were talking.  You see Al learned a long time ago if you control the six inches between your ears with a winner’s attitude and inner ability of dealing with adversity you can just about conquer any obstacle. 

Life Lessons

What happened next is something I didn’t see coming. He and I began speaking weekly, rarely about health or the team.  Our conversations have become about life. I sort of feel like I’m in an AP life class and these chats have become more important than any actual class that I’ve taken.  The week of Christmas he and I had the best conversation to date, we talked about what it takes to make it in life.  I told him I thought it was about outworking your competitors, your emotional intelligence, and taking risks. 

He agreed and then said I’ll raise you.  Success is much less about IQ and much more about your ability to deal with adversity.  He credited his success to getting knocked down to the ground and having the ability to get right back up.  “If you get knocked down 10 times you get up 11.”  Easier said than done but always such a great reminder. 

1%

Al stands at 5’9” and a buck forty, in no way a physically intimidating man.  But the tenacity that this man has shown in a career and life is something that very few people will ever reach and is somewhat mind blowing.  He is a 1 percenter and I have a direct access, how lucky I am!!


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Erik's Weekly Fitness Tip | Stalled Out

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Erik's Weekly Fitness Tip | Stalled Out

 

Has your car ever stalled? It happened to me once, at a particularly choice moment,  when I was trying to get the girls off to school. It’s not a fun experience. For most of us, stalling cannot be avoided, especially if we like to push the limits.  At some point in our weight training we will stall. In our quest to lose more weight we will stall.  While on our journey to a 10K personal record we will stall.  The majority of people who experience stalling find that it is due to our: training, diet, sleep, recovery, rest in between sets or it just comes down to poor planning. 

Performance

Let’s look at performance and see how we can avoid the pitfalls of stalling. As a former track and cross country runner and now lover of heavy squats I know this feeling and I know it well.  I’ve stalled many times in my training and I have never once hit my full potential.  So if you are a runner, triathlete, mountain biker, weight lifter, or someone who just loves to push their limits but feel like there’s a little more in you, here’s my best tips to give your body the jumpstart it needs. 

  1. Keep a detailed log that keeps track of: training, sleep, diet, recovery, and anything else that could affect your training both positively or negatively.
  2. Audit your diet; most athletes do not eat enough.  This will affect your ability to recover.  Protein, carbs, and fats  (your macros) should all be on point with your training.  Most people often come up short with adequate levels of protein. If you are over 40 you especially have to make sure your protein levels are a bit higher because you do not digest protein as well.
  3. Rest! You could be overtraining or overextending yourself during workouts.  Make sure you are getting your rest in. Read more about this here.
  4. Biting off more than you can chew.  We’ve all been trying to lift heavier loads, run faster intervals, or trying to match someone else’s workout before we are ready.  These things can cost you dearly.  Be patient with your training. 
  5. Add another set of eyes.  Get a coach to review your training; sometimes a small tweak can be a game changer. 

Weight Loss

Stalling with weight loss is very similar to stalling with your performance. It can be extremely frustrating and can start to chip away at your motivation.  Here are some quick tips to help you overcome being stuck.

  1. Keep a food journal or log onto the myfitness pal app.  Your calorie intake might be more than it should be.  Keeping track of what you put into your body everyday will help you stay on track and see where adjustments can be made.
  2. Stop doing the same workouts you did 4-6 weeks ago.  If you consistently work out, but you are doing the exact same workout without changing any of the variables up you will stall. The variables being: intensity, load (heavier weights), duration, frequency, or speed.  Change things up!
  3. Pay a visit to the weight room.  The gym, without a doubt, can be an intimidating place. As a result most people stick to the cardio section and try to cardio themselves skinny.  Muscle loves to burn calories! Weight training will help not only get you stronger, but will also help you maintain and build muscle mass.  You’ve got to lift! 
  4. Don’t undo all your hard work on the weekends.  Booze, crappy food, and bad sleep can sabotage your weight loss. Stay on point as best as you can, even on the weekends, it all counts!
  5. Be Patient!  It takes times to get results, so don’t get discouraged early in the game. Keep plugging away and the results will follow and your hard work will pay off.

Stick to the Plan

Most stalling is due to not executing on your plan.  So you have to be diligent with all the steps you should be following.  As frustrating as it can be, just by making a tweak here and there can knock down that door and get you through to the other side.

Image Credit: Noah Kuhn on Unsplash


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