It’s NOT just Grit to get Fit:
Discover the Power of Vibe, Tribe, & Guide
by Bill Nurge, M.A. Exercise Physiology
Head Coach, HardCore Training Center for Regenerative Exercise
Humans are complicated. I can come up with safe and uniquely effective training sessions all day long; but figuring out how to get people to eat right and stay the course on their fitness regime is a "whole nother ball of wax." Although we’re all made from the same stuff found in the bedeviling Periodic Table--and share a DNA recipe which is simply a combination of 4 nucleotide ingredients--we all respond differently to the same training stimulus and have vastly different motivators for success. But don’t despair! The good news is when you find your Vibe,Tribe, and Guide, exercising & properly preparing your body to stay young, and perform better in Life & Sports, can be the best part of every week.
The cornerstone role grit plays in success has become popularized by Angela Duckworth, who rocketed to the forefront of the field with her study-based conclusion—and million plus view Ted-Talk--that grit is “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” While Duckworth acknowledges that the essence of grit is fraught with hundreds of nuances, correlates, and anomalies, she contends it is the constancy of your tenacity--and the degree to which you can access, ignite, and control it--that ultimately determines your success in any endeavor.
While I concur with Duckworth’s findings that we need passion and perseverance to make anything meaningful happen, I also think there’s more than a grain of truth to Warren Buffet’s “grit doesn’t mean much at all” sentiment. For those of us who didn’t invest 1k with Buffet in 1964, and now have a corpulent nest egg worth 12 million, the guy is clearly very good at what he does. But if the economy were strictly sports-performance based, Buffet has woefully acknowledged that no amount of grit, instruction, or training would help him succeed.
Bottom line: to be truly successful at anything, it’s important to like—and be good at -- what you grit your teeth for.
Here’s where it gets interesting… Most people don’t like —and don’t feel particularly adept at—physically training their bodies to perform better for life and sports. Doing the right exercises, at the right tempo’s, with the right loads, in the right sequence, for the right amount of reps and sets in an effort to aggrandize bone and muscle density, stamina, coordination, and balance is not a simple algorithm, even if you have an advanced degree in exercise science and 35 years of experience. Further complicating the issue is the fact that most people simply “don’t have time” for exercise, or “can’t afford” a trainer. The reality is that you don’t have to be good at fitness and sports, to be fit and participate. And most people can prioritize a couple hours per week for training; and can afford some level of professional instruction.
So here’s what I’ve found works best when it comes to maintaining a salubrious long term relationship with your most valuable asset:
FIND YOUR VIBE:
Practicing the sports and activities that you enjoy and feel good at is the easy part… The hard part is finding a safe and effective strength & conditioning regime that you like, and will consistently practice. And in all honesty, very few people--including me and my wife--would spend any time inside training our bodies if the results weren’t so compelling. We do it because we feel better, younger, and stronger. And heaped on top of all the warm-fuzzy feelings is the stark reality that we have a lot more injury-free fun, and higher levels of performance in our outdoor sports as a direct consequence of the indoor training we consistently practice.
Because we don't like “weight-training”, we’ve been forced to formulate safer and more effective alternatives to make our bodies better without getting hurt; and have fun at the same time. Our unique equipment and style of training has attracted a powerful tribe of like-minded acolytes (including families, teams, couples, & friends) who would never grit-it-out in a pumping-iron type program, and yet enjoy the benefits and intuitiveness of bodyweight-based resistance-training, utilizing tools such as the TRX Suspension Trainer.
FIND YOUR TRIBE:
Without a doubt, the quality of your Life—and training experience-- is directly affected by the quality of your Tribe. You could go to the best gym, with the best trainers and equipment, but if you don’t connect with the people and “the vibe” it’s probably not going to end up at the alter. Finding like-minded peers that help make you a better version of yourself is paramount to being successful at anything…And it’s a LOT more FUN!!! As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Spending two to three hours per week with a coach and people who challenge and uplift you will dramatically influence your results and long-term success…So pick your tribe wisely!
FIND YOUR GUIDE:
If I were a betting man, I would wager that the single most important decision we make as adults is selecting a life-partner. Day-in, day-out, ’til death do we part, this person influences virtually every facet of our ephemeral existence. The second most important decision—at least from my vantage point—is choosing a guide/coach/trainer who can positively influence the 24/7/365 relationship you have with your body. Because without pain-free health and fitness, Life can quickly segue into armchair athletics, unbridled Amazonian consumerism, and drain-circling revolutions around the next calorically-dense meal. Hiring a guide to go fishing, hunting, or trekking is always a good idea; especially if you’re serious about catching fish, putting wild game on the table, or observing a remote piece of the planet. Hiring a guide to navigate the circuitous road-less-travelled to optimal fitness costs is probably not a good idea; unless you think your body is as important as a fish, pheasant, or landscape.
When searching for your Vibe, Tribe, and Guide, try not to be the guy who dropped his keys late at night on the unlit pitch-black side of the street, and desperately searched for them on the well-lit other side. The keys to your long term health and fitness may very well not be under the bright marketing lights of the “best gyms” and trendiest workout that the masses are aping. Everyone knows that McDonald’s is the most successful restaurant in the World, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they hire the best chef’s and serve the highest quality meals. Thankfully—for the outliers like us--there are safe and effective ways to get fit which don’t involve lifting weights, endless burpees, and jumping on boxes.
Have a great September, and feel free to reach out if you need us to shine a light in the direction of your keys to long-term heath and optimal fitness.
Invest in Experiences, Not Things
By Bill Nurge, M.A. Exercise Physiology, Head Coach, HardCore Training Center for Regenerative Exercise & Ageless Living
Money can’t buy you love…But it can buy experiences that change who you are, how you view the world, and how happy you are.
A 20-year study conducted by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, demonstrated that experiences--as fleeting as they may be--deliver longer-lasting happiness than things. "Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods," said Gilovich. "You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”
Not sure about the studies findings? Think about what you share with your friends and family. Think about what you reflect on at the end of the day, week, month, year…I’m pretty certain you’re not talking about, and thinking about, the stuff you bought… You’re thinking and talking about what you experienced, because what you EXPERIENCE—whether it’s good or bad—is MEANINGFUL. What you experience is what becomes your Life, and ultimately determines your level of happiness.
Here are four life enhancing experiences that should top your SV summer bucket-list:
1. HardCore Training-
Living life to the fullest and tackling bucket list experiences necessitate a requisite amount of health and fitness. To say that life is less fun when you’re not fit is a huge understatement. If you’ve been sick, injured, or in chronic pain you know exactly what I’m talking about. Aging bodies are either "falling down" and getting weaker, or rising up and getting stronger; there is no third direction. So the smartest “thing” you can ever invest in is YOUR MOST VALUABLE POSSESSION: YOUR BODY!!! Having the strength, stamina, balance, coordination, and athleticism to do what you want, when you want to, is the key to pursuing your passions and experiencing life without limitations. Bring us your body and we’ll make it better!
Aside from our unique style of training doing all the right things for your muscular, skeletal, cardiovascular, nervous and endocrine systems, every session is a shared athletic experience that your body and mind won’t quickly forget. There is no strength without struggle, and there is no better way to struggle than with the camaraderie of your training partners and friends. Give us a shout if you’re interested in experiencing the collective exhilaration and joy of making your body better, stronger, and good-to-go for your Life and activities.
2. Baldy Buddy Hike-
Join us June 23rd for the 5th annual opening day hike/run to the RoundHouse. All proceeds go to Camp Rainbow Gold, a local non-profit which provides emotionally empowering experiences for Idaho children diagnosed with cancer. Whether you walk (untimed) or race (timed with a buddy) the 3 miles and 2,000 vertical feet up the Cat Track, three things are guaranteed: Perry’s cookies and lots of Raffle Prizes; a Gondola ride down the mountain; lots of fun and fraternizing with your friends. This is the best way to kick off the summer season and celebrate your health and fitness with like-minded locals.
3. Mountain Warrior Decathlon-
July 21st marks the 3rd anniversary of this uniquely challenging fundraiser for Higher Ground, a local organization whose programs give individuals with disabilities the opportunity to experience recreation and the outdoors without limitations. Whether you team up, or tackle the 7 indoor (SkiErg, RowErg, Slackline, Climbing Wall, Sandbag Push, Agility Course, Pegboard) and 3 outdoor events (Bike, Hike, & Run to Round House) yourself, this iconic event will redline every aspect of your athleticism and change the way you think about fitness. If you’re not interested in participating as an athlete, perhaps you would like to sponsor a solo or team competitor and help support the awesome programs offered at Higher Ground.
4. Sun Valley Nordic Fitness Camp for Master’s-
June 28th. There’s a reason why Nordic Skiing is regarded as the World’s toughest Sport; and elite xc skiers are referred to as the Fittest Athletes on the Planet…It’s true!!! Unlike most dryland nordic camps which focus primarily on roller-ski technique, this 7 day camp will teach you how to develop the strength, stamina, power, balance, coordination, and athleticism that’s necessary to have more fun—and speed—on your nordic skis. Utilizing state of the art equipment-- RollerSki Treadmill, HardCore Training Center—and all that Sun Valley has to offer for ski-walking, mountain-biking,and dryland training, World Cup skier and Birkie winner, Matt Liebsch, and I will take every aspect of your technique and training to a whole new level of performance. Practice and training don’t necessarily make you better. Knowing what to practice and how to train effectively makes you better. This camp is all about giving you the map and directions to make yourself better, stronger, faster, and more technically proficient for our favorite sport.
Happiness is what happens when you’re investing in shared experiences that challenge you to be the best version of yourself.
So go ahead and fill your summer calendar with lots of meaningful experiences. Some of them will cost you nothing, and some will be expensive but rich with rewarding memories and life altering lessons. The more you can align these experiences with your passions and purpose the more satisfying they will be. You can always spend your money on more “stuff”, but in the end all that really matters is what you experienced and shared with others.
Be brave, take some measured risks, and reach out if you need help making the most of your training time and summer experiences.
200 First Ave. North, Ketchum
A NEW YEAR’S HEALTH & WELLNESS RESOLUTION THAT ACTUALLY WORKS.
By Bill Nurge
Humans have been making New Year’s resolutions for thousands of years. The idea of a new year swarms the mind with salubrious thoughts of sweet change and new beginnings. And if you’re like most Americans, there’s at least some part of your resolution that has to do with losing weight and getting fit. This is good news because at least most people are willing to acknowledge that they WANT to get leaner and more fit. But wanting and doing are two totally different things. The key is converting the want, the desire, the resolution for change into meaningful, intelligent and consistent action. Make a reservation and make it happen!!!
Most people are very astute about making reservations for things that are important. When you want to go on a trip you make flight and hotel reservations. When you want to dine at your favorite restaurant you call ahead and make a reservation. When something goes awry with your body you are quick to reserve a time-slot with an orthopedist, dentist, physical therapist, surgeon, chiropractor, masseuse, or acupuncturist. When you want to get a haircut you don’t pontificate about the pros and cons of getting a haircut, how inconvenient it is for your schedule, or how much it costs- you simply pick up the phone, make a reservation and get your hair cut.
So if you are serious about bringing in the New Year in a newer, lighter, stronger, more fit & happier version of yourself, make a reservation so you can make it happen.
In late May, Justin and Kerri Williams approached me and my wife, Naty about helping them with their floundering 2015 New Year’s Resolution to lose body fat and get fit. Like most forty-somethings (Justin recently turned 50) they were skinny-fat (looked thin but actually above ideal body fat %), Sun Valley-fit (hike,bike, & ski-fit but no strength, stability & core fitness), and unable to make changes despite their desire to get to the gym and clean up their diets. So this is what we did to address their objectives:
Assessment/The First Training Session
Justin made a reservation with me for a private HardCore Basic Training session. In his first session (while he was performing a warm-up on the cardio machines) we discussed his goals of recovering from a recent hamstring injury, strengthening his back and core which have been his Achilles heel his entire life, losing unnecessary body fat and increasing his strength, stamina and dexterity.
I explained that a typical Basic Training session would consist of a 10-minute cardiovascular warm-up on the treadmill, SkiErg, Concept 2 rowing machine, and stationary bike. Immediately following would be a light circuit consisting of some variation of leg assisted dips, rope-ladder, leg assisted pull-ups, sled push/pull work, climbing on the bouldering wall, and core work on the ceiling attached rope. Then there would be a higher intensityround or two of metabolic work on the machines followed by higher intensity circuit training. Total= 30 minutes.
From there, we would work on hand/eye/foot coordination on the speed bag, balance on the slack line, cardio on the BOSU ball and battle ropes, ball slams on the bongo board, and probably some more SkiErg intervals. The final third of the 55-minute session would focus on improving asymmetrical multi-dimensional strength, power, and core-stability with the TRX straps, bench, and medicine balls.
However, a “typical” Basic Training session is not what happened with Justin. While he was performing the warm-up exercises I was able to quickly ascertain why he was having so many problems with his lower back and hamstrings. Not only was he tight, weak, and systemically unfit but also his reliance on faulty movement patterns placed undue stress on his lumbar spine and musculature (we see this a lot).
In his next session, with pain as his guide, we worked together to do a modified low-intensity warm up, and some easy circuit, strength and core-conditioning work. He did all symmetrical exercises with limited range of motion and minimal loading. The intensity level was just enough to elicit an adaptation stimulus but not so great that it would exacerbate his pre-existing limitations. Slowly, one workout at a time, over the course of several weeks, Justin increased his range of motion, power production and core-stability to the point where we could start to “push” a little bit.
The Training Program
After four weeks of one-on-one basic training sessions and a modest sense of mastery over the fundamentals, Justin segued into twice weekly HardCore Delta-Force Training sessions with two to four other partners. While these Semi-Private sessions are structured similarly to the Basic Training sessions, the exercises are considerably more advanced, varied, and the intensity is higher.
Assessment/The First Training Session
Kerri followed a similar progression with my wife Natalia (Naty). Like her husband, Kerri didn’t necessarily look overweight and out of shape but she felt overweight and out of shape. She wanted to get back to feeling trim, strong and fit like she did in her 20s and realized that hiking, biking and skiing wasn't cutting it. Turning back the physiological clock is much more complicated than it seems. The body has a lot of moving parts and everyone's capacity for physical stress is different on any given day. Knowing when to push and when to back off, which exercises to use and which ones to avoid, which exercise sequences will make you fit and which will make you hurt, is not intuitive. Most people who exercise on their own fall into two categories- those who push themselves too hard, too often and get sick, injured and over trained and those who don’t work hard enough to make meaningful changes in their fitness, function and form.
After 6 weeks of Basic Training, Naty, and I were confident that Justin and Kerri had acquired enough strength, stability, and movement skills to take on the Fitness Decathlon- A battery of 10 different tests that assess the most critical components of overall health, athleticism, fitness & sports performance. We like to think of these ten elements as spokes on the wheel of fitness. To keep your fitness wheel rolling and moving forward you need all 10 spokes to be strong and stable. Below is a summary of their results from the initial test in July and their follow-up test results after 5 months of mostly twice-weekly HardCore Delta Force Training sessions.
It’s important to note that Justin and Kerri did not train specifically for the purpose of improving their test results. We train to perform well, be well, and feel well. Every HardCore Training session challenges every system of the body to get better and perform at a higher level. We believe in building better athletes not just better body parts. To this end, we utilize a vast array of unique tools, movements and methods to functionally develop the 10 attributes and physiological capabilities that comprise athleticism, fitness and optimal health.
STABILITY- Powerful arms and legs won’t do you any good if your core is a marshmallow and doesn’t know how to provide stability. A strong, stable and intelligent core is absolutely essential for postural integrity and power production.
SPEED- Improving hand speed, leg speed and total-body speed is important because some aspects of life and sport require the human body to move very quickly.
STAMINA- Most people don’t mind doing some cardio on their own which is great, but it’s not the same as HardCore High-Intensity Interval Training. High-Intensity Intervals on the SkiErg, Treadmill, Rowing Machine & Bike coupled with High-Intensity Circuit Training elevate the body’s natural anabolic hormone levels as well as maximizing metabolic efficiency and endurance.
STRENGTH- Most strength training programs are based on what bodybuilders and power lifters do which is build bilateral symmetrical strength in one plane of motion. But life and sport take place in 3 planes of motion with unilateral asymmetrical loading as the norm, which is why we work on building total-body multi-dimensional strength that you can use in your sports as the foundation for power production.
POWER- The ability to produce force quickly (strength-speed) is a prerequisite for success in most sports. We work on functional power production at varying tension levels, speeds and degrees of instability because life and sport requires us to exert varying amounts of force for varying amounts of time under variable conditions.
BALANCE- There are many times in life and sports when injury is imminent if you are not able to maintain your balance. We train dynamic balance by performing exercises on one leg, two legs, moving, stationary, and on stable and unstable surfaces.
COORDINATION- All of the strength, stamina and power in the world won’t do you any good if you cannot move effectively and coordinate your efforts. A big part of what we do is teach people how to move efficiently so they can optimally express their power and stamina. When someone moves well it should look effortless, powerful and inspiring. Because virtually every movement we do is through a full range of motion there is dynamic flexibility work that takes place every repetition. So you get stronger and more flexible at the same time. Not only is this time-efficient, it’s the best way to improve meaningful mobility.
AGILITY- The ability to accelerate and decelerate your body quickly and deftly in multiple directions is important for most sports and life.
BODY COMPOSITION- In the absence of an effective training regime the average adult increases adipose tissue (fat) and loses critical muscle mass every year. We do specific muscle-tension exercises to increase lean muscle mass because losing muscle is all-bad for an aging body. We also work on reducing body fat to optimal levels because carrying excess fat is an unnecessary burden to your body and a serious deficit to athletic performance.
It’s interesting to note that Kerri’s body weight did not change at all. This is not unusual. Her hard work over the course of 5 months aggrandized her muscle mass by 5 lbs. and reduced her body fat by 5 lbs. While most women are concerned about gaining muscle for fear of getting “bulky”, in Kerri’s case she actually got smaller and less “bulky” because she got rid of the high volume bulky fat and substituted it with low volume muscle fibers that contribute to increased strength, power and a higher metabolic rate.
HEALTHY LIFESTYLE- Eating well, getting enough quality rest, and managing stress are vital to the success of any training regime. We know this because we’ve been athletes our entire lives and have to live by the same rules as everyone else. It’s actually not that hard to lead a healthy lifestyle if you know what you’re doing and stay with it long enough so that you’re no longer a prisoner to your old cravings and habits.
There’s no doubt that Justin and Kerri’s improvements are impressive and kudos to them for working so hard for their results. But interestingly enough, it's not test results that keep people coming back and maintaining their commitment to HardCore Training. In our experience, the greatest determinant of adherence is the fun factor followed up closely by feeling better, performing better in your sports and looking better. The tangible results you can see and feel from HardCore Training remind you why you spend the time, energy and resources... But it’s the fun you have training hard with your friends that you look forward to and makes it such a valued part of your day, your week, your year, your life !
So instead of making a resolution to get lean and fit this year, make a reservation to train 2x/week and make it happen- there’s nothing we love more than making people healthier, lighter and more fit so they can have more fun in life and sports.
HardCore Training Center
200 First Ave N | Ketchum