Fitness

Staying Fit, despite depression

Stardate: December 2nd 2012

I tweet on twitter, and post statuses on Facebook.com so as to give subscribers a glimpse into my mind. My hope is that doing so serves to help people who deal with the same issues. Today’s topic is depression. A lot of ppl who’ve known me for years, especially clients, don’t know that I’ve dealt with depression since my teens. They see me laughing and smiling, functional, running multiple businesses…and think I could never relate to their periods of demotivation and lethargy. So, many hide ’em…and suffer in silence.


img src: http://amyjanesmith.blogspot.com/
Caption: “Some refuse counseling/medication/intervention…”

Some refuse counseling/medication/intervention under the misplaced belief that it is a reason to be ashamed… and under the misplaced belief that bravado is the required response as an adult. Oftentimes these same people end up cutting themselves (physically) and act out destructively otherwise rather than admit they have an issue. I know, because I’ve seen your scars.

While I did study psychology, I won’t pretend to be a psychologist. All I can do is illustrate my solution. I call it “functional depression”. It first comes from a realization that depression is a chronic manifestation, and like any other chronic illness, it can be managed…whether by medication, or other avenues.

Personally, I refused medication because I realized that it limits creativity in many creatives. As creativity is both my outlet and the basis for my professions, limiting it via medications was an illogical option in my humble opinion.

Having spoken to peers, I noticed a trend: People with high IQs, creatives and their ilk, tend to be depressed. Many of them turn to substance abuse so as to provide and outlet for expression… as expression is the ultimate form of therapy for these individuals. Having spoken to them, as well as my father (who, people would never have guessed, has dealt with depression his whole life) I decided on functionality.

For it to work, one must have intellectual honesty, and personal honesty. Don’t pretend that you’re ok and functional on days where you are not. Lying to yourself promotes a state of cognitive dissonance. Conflict begets conflict… pushing the downward cycle deeper and deeper.

re: Productivity
On the days that your mood dips into dysfunction, realign your work to suit. When you are in a productive mood, push more work. And, importantly, find a bridge that connects dysfunction to functionality. Whatever your ‘release’ is, embrace it… and let it act as an anchor and line to pull you back to functionality, and hold you there. For me that line is music/poetry, and areas of my work which encourage the mind to be creative. Take liberty and pride in yourself, and the fruits of your labours…and, in turn the product will inject pride into your state of being. i.e. You will preempt a cycle of positivity that feeds itself.

A reader asks: “were u ever suicidal? i mean truly so… there was no reason to exist further, n if so, what pulled u back?”


img src: http://www.tomcorsonknowles.com/

2007, and one period prior as a teen. As a teen, I can’t honestly say what pulled me back. Maybe it was transitional. I was quite arrogant back then, so maybe the though of irritated my sense of self. Actually, that sounds quite logical looking back at my teen years.

2007 however, my business saved me. I was quite broken that year. I had the shitstorm of my life hit me all at once…and it broke me. Apollo Fitness Barbados saved me… Because I, not meaning to be immodest, am brilliant at what I do. I immersed myself in it totally…and ran it on autopilot. I trained clients like a man with a foot in hell, and my mind shut down completely. I didn’t need to be ‘there’ emotionally to do my job. My knowledge base an innate passion for what I do allowed me a cocoon to escape into. And, that quite literally saved my life.

A reader writes: “if I had a body like yours, I’d just punch depression in the face and move on.”

lol… If I had $10 for every time a depressed client said that to me, I’d buy a plane ticket to every major city in the world.

re: Intellectual honesty, and Personal honesty
I was talking to my ex-fiancee the other day, and she said to me: “I’m proud of you babe. You don’t let stuff stop you in your tracks anymore. Before, when shit when really wrong, you’d just throw your hands up and stop right there and then.” – That isn’t totally true. There was a process back then to dealing with depression. i.e. To accept when shit went wrong (as opposed to sugar-coating it), mourn the clusterfuck…and then move on.

re: Intellectual Honesty
Modern Society revolves around lying to oneself. Friends lie. They say ‘everything will be ok’, and a bunch of other coddling bullshit which really does nothing but appease their need to be comforting… like a friend should be (or so society says). This does nothing for the dysfunctional depressed person, cept push them further into depression. On one hand their mind paints the world as it is (albeit through glasses with a magnified lense), and on the other hand the people around feed them tales of other people ‘having it worse than them’, and things being ok.

re: Society Encouraging Self-deception
Sure, there are people in Haiti living in huts… but does that mitigate the reality of the job you just lost? Does it trivialize the significance of such? It doesn’t… but friends are socialized to point out the plight of others, to trivialize and numb your feelings, and to redirect your thought process. This may work in the average person, but it doesn’t in the depressed person. So, as a depressed person, one of your first steps to mediating your condition is to DEMAND that your right to embrace what you are feeling as real and important to you. Stop lying to yourself. Stop pretending. Stop hiding. Only then will you be able to visualize a bridge between dysfunction and functionality.

A reader writes: “my tattoos are a direct result of me needing to “hurt myself”.”

Same here. Actually, it ran deeper. There is a thin line between pain and pleasure… so, honestly, celebration and self-denigration/punishment overlapped. re: punishment. There are few things are liberating as a needle punch you 300 times per minute. It’s like acupuncture and spanking had a baby. That being said, I realized (when I started to run out of skin) that my reason for tattooing was wrong. I mean, I used to get a tatt every birthday to celebrate, but then I started also getting ’em when huge bad things happened in my life… thus tainting the celebratory purpose of tattooing. So, things had to change.

A reader writes: “I try hard to keep those around me encouraged and happy. It depresses me more that when I am in need, the same people either put me on ignore or brush me off.”

Keeping people around me encouraged and happy is one of the biggest mistakes I made over the years, for exactly the same reason you slipped in just now: When I’m depressed and in need, those same people ignore me. I came to multiple realizations some years ago that I’ll share right now: One realization came when a guy I considered a friend for years said to me one day: I don’t even like you, I just keep you around because you make people laugh/smile… you’re good for a laugh. Another came within a relationship where I realized I would constantly be building up said person’s self-esteem, keeping them encouraged etc… while watching my emotional energy being sapped away. When my depression finally kicked in, I didn’t have the person to lean on…and I didn’t even have the energy to stand on my own. Opening yourself to others is fine. Becoming the foundation they stand on, isn’t. May sound selfish, but it isn’t intended to be.

I kicked those people out. I still work with them and assist them via my businesses. I still greet them amicably when I see them… but, I’m honest with myself. I can honestly say every year I get more happy. My body issues (which people/clients/friends can’t believe that I have) bother me less each year. My disappointments (which grow larger each year because I take bigger business risks each year to encourage growth/expansion) hit less hard. I wake up every single morning of every single day looking forward to the day. I literally leap out of bed every morning (and have for almost 5 years now), while normal people get out of bed and groan ‘do i have to go to work today?’ And, all that started with being honest with myself.

A reader wrote: “I used alcohol as a release…but then I found Valium.”

Valium. That’s one drug I never touched. 2007, I remember, I was at my biggest and most muscular… but at the same time my most self-loathing. One night enough alcohol to give two people alcohol poisoning, a couple lines of coke, 2 tabs of ecstasy, and enough weed brownies to put the pope in orbit. I couldn’t get high or drunk…or numb. I think my metabolism was way too high at that point, so my body metabolized that crap like it was nothing. But, it was also in those moments of loathing that I realized that my dysfunction was me trying to kill myself… albeit slowly. People who’d known me for years thought that I was just partying hard… They actually said “I like this guy”, that guy pounding the alkie, smiling, laughing… dancing. It was then that realized that people, as a whole, are clueless and truly disinterested in what others are thinking or feeling. They rationalize and label things so events fit into whatever makes them least uncomfortable.

re: Waking Every Day Happy
Yes, that even includes the days that run to shit. However, functional depression revolves around accepting when days run to shit…and being willing to end a day/conversation/activity (or whatever) at the shit point. Normal people suggestion trudging through. Fuck that. I call it a day… mourn the clusterfuck, and start the next day anew. NB: it doesn’t automatically mean taking an entire day off… It make take only a few minutes. Regardless, it is important for depressed ppl to stop, take the time, breathe, and acknowledge the stimuli before one can move on. Without this, you will get stuck in the downward spiral.

Anyway the footnotes (for anyone now joining the thread): Yes I have dealt with depression for most of my adult life. No I’m not dysfunctional.

Yes, you can be functional too.

/end 🙂

Have a great day all.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

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Why YOUR New Year’s Resolutions won’t work.

Stardate: 2nd January 2016

A year ago on this day, and ever optimistic, I wrote a post about optimising one’s new year resolutions.

Today… I sit here inundated by a flood of exactly the same resolutions as last year, by the same people. The facebook memories app compounded the situation, by reminding me further that each of these individuals had posted basically the same thing each year… every year, since I’d befriended them on facebook.

new year

Gung-ho “new year, new me” posts. “It’s all about the money!” “Gonna lose that gut!” “No fake friends this year!”

…followed by failure.

Yes. I’m talking about you. Are you pissed off yet? No? No wonder you’re failing:

  • Neural priming
  • Follow-through/Logical progression
  • Motivation/Commitment

…or, rather, the absence of any of the above.

A quick visit to google shows over 15 million posts about New Year’s Resolutions. Staggering! That’s more posts than those about the Loch Ness Monster and BigFoot sightings combined. Maybe, that’s because New Year’s Resolutions success is equally fictional.

But… it doesn’t need to be.

Let’s talk:

  1. Neural Priming

Priming (psychology): “a process in which the processing of a target stimulus is aided or altered by the presentation of a previously presented stimulus.”

Many of your fail, primarily, because your mind isn’t continually primed for change, via the inclusion and achievement of small goals through-out the year. i.e. Instead of making small changes (- e.g. cutting back on flour one month; cutting back on soda the next month; adding a brisk walk the next month; joining the gym the following month… and so on-), you wake up on January 1st declaring to the world that you’re going to get your teenaged figure back. You expect that a magical switch will flip on, and success will follow suit.

If it worked like that… we’d all have PhDs, 6-figure incomes, and flat stomachs. C’mon man.

2. Follow-through.

My go-to thought? “What did you spend December 31st-January 1st doing? Working on your vision… or where you drinking?”

FYI: the only correct answers are ‘working on my vision’, or ‘the latter… plus drinking.’

I hate using myself as an example, but for the purpose of this post I’ll do so anyway. It’ll piss someone off, but … *shrugs*

My timeline:

  • December 31st – 5 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Trained clients (i.e. maintaining vision continuity into the new year)
  • December 31st – 8:20 p.m.- 10:30 p.m. – Cleaned Studio and planned workouts for January 1st’s clients (i.e. neural priming: preparing to transition)
  • December 31st – 11 p.m. – At church with family (i.e. neural priming)
  • January 1st – 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – trained clients
  • January 1st – 2-3 pm. – Collected items for charity drive
  • January 1st – 6 p.m. – Delivered charity food hampers
  • January 1st – 7 pm.-until – Consumed alcohol (lol)

Now, I’m not saying that you need to follow my truly-anal process. Not at all actually. What I AM suggesting however, is that you’re failing because you’ve squandered those pivotal, transitional points with activities that contribute NOTHING to your goals or passions.

3. Motivation/Commitment

The stats suggests that almost half of the people making resolutions fail… with many who start, not making it past the first two weeks.

And, that’s understandable. No… I’m being serious: I get it. Your well-meaning facebook declarations sound good, and are somewhat expected by society. But therein lies the reason why you can’t commit to them: they’re not coming from within you. You kinda want these things because you believe you kinda should.

As a trainer who’s worked with literally hundreds of clients over the year (and respectfully turned away hundreds more), let me clue you in to something about the “kinda” thought process though: It kinda runs out of steam before you even get started. Nothing happens before it’s supposed to… and, further to the point, nothing happens before you are ready (-read: until you make the conscious choice-) to.

So… when you decide you’re ready, pop off facebook for a minute… and give these year-old-but-still-valid-non-resolution-goal-achieving-tips a try.

…or don’t.
Merry January!

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

 

The Right Fat-loss Diet for you

“Hey! I just saw your client [*inserts name*]. Their progress has been seriously impressive! What diet did you put them on?!”

Stardate: 9th December – 2015

Hey all.

I get questions like that one at least once each day. I try to answer politely each time, though (if we’re to be honest) the answer… the true answer… is unavoidably one that will ruffle feathers.

That answer? “What I did with him/her isn’t relevant to you… at all.”

Invariably, the person asking will assume that I’m being an asshole. But, let me extrapolate: Any sensible diet works… and there are tons of them out there.

-Did I mention that they, basically, ALL work?-
So, it doesn’t matter whether it’s:

  • Low-carb with high fat and moderate protein
  • Intermittent fasting and its myriad of variations
  • Low-fat, moderate-to-high carb, and high protein
  • Paleo
  • IIFYM (If it fits your macros)
  • 80:20
  • The Military Diet
  • The It’s-Income-Tax-Season-So-I’m-Broke Diet

It truly does *not* matter.
What matters then? I’ll tell you:

  1. Picking a style of dieting (based on how its precepts fit your personality, lifestyle, and needs – Logically, if your life requires that you work for 12 straight hours without a meal, a diet plan that requires 6 small feedings will fail you).
  2. Adjusting your caloric intake to your needs and goals ( – here’s a handy little guide to calculating your caloric needs).
  3. Sticking to your plan.

It’s that simple.

No.

Really.

youre-welcome

Yours in health, peace, and fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

p.s. Let’s talk about the right diet for you in the comments below.

p.p.s – A rundown of eating correctly for your goals et. al.

#DirtyDecember At-Home Fitness Challenge: Day 2

Stardate: 2nd December – 2015

Alright!
As many would know, for years I’ve hosted free (monthly) online fitness challenges. True to form, I’m hosting one for Christmas… to help negate the weight-gain inherent to the season.
What many don’t realise, is that I actually participate in these challenges as well. I do so, whilst maintaining my usual workouts… as a form of support. And, yes… I struggle. Some days, I struggle BAD! Today was one such day.
Here goes!

Prologue: ‎
Missed the 1st day of my challenge… so I needed to combine days 1 and 2’s workouts (plus my normal gym workout) to make up.
I was NOT looking forward to it at all.


My goals for today, not counting my usual workout:

  • Planks: 5 minute total
  • Burpees: 100 reps
  • Push-ups: 100 reps
  • Jumping jacks: 100 reps
*sighs*

Arrived at the gym 8 minutes early… figuring that’d give me a decent headstart. My training partner came 15 minutes late… giving me more of a headstart than i’d anticipated. I’m still unsure as to whether I should thank him, or tell him off.

– Jumping jacks: 100 reps
JESUS CHRIST! MY LUNGS! I’d forgotten how much these burn. This is not a good sign.
– Push-ups: 100 reps
Contrary to popular belief, I suck at push-ups. I regretted every rep… unashamedly.
IMG_20151202_070219

– burpee (without push-up): 100 reps
I walked past the treadmill, and swore I observed a woman watching hardcore black pornographer. Either i’m in the wrong place, or burpees have left me delusional.

Either way…

BURPEES!

I swear I must be the only person in existence that likes this exercise. My legs are wobbly. My eyes are blurry. My lungs feel like i’ve been holding my breath underwater… under burning water… with mortar shells whizzing past me… whilst carrying full tactical gear.

But… HOLY SHIT, do I ever love it.

Today, I experimented with several variations: those with forward jumps, backward broad jumps, overhead clapping, lateral hops, behind-the-back clapping. I’m not sure if this was self love or abuse… but it happened.

Dear Lord, did it ever happen!

– Machine standing calf raise: 5 sets – 300 lbs x 15 reps each
I like to train calves when i’m fresh, so I can dedicate a tonne of energy to developing large ones. Today though, no such luck. Everything from burpees onward has been a struggle. 🙂
– Lying leg curls:
3 sets: 10 plates x 15 reps each
My hamstrings are on fire. There must be a law against this. I’d call the police myself, but I’m too pretty for prison.
Barbell squat: ass to calves, with a deliverate pause at the bottom – ‎3 sets: 225 lbs x 3 reps each
Decided to cut back on the poundage today. I *may* be a bit light-headed 🙂
– Plank.
Managed to knock off a 2-minute set, and three one-minute sets. My shoulders were DONE at this point.
Mind you: My legs are fine… But i’m horribly nauseous by now.
Job well-done methinks.
I mean… look at this face!
IMG_20151202_074205
’til tomorrow.

Yours in health, peace, and fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

p.s. Here’s a link to the Full Fitness Challenge: https://www.facebook.com/events/1524360047879653/

Give it a go!

Got 20 minutes? I can give you abs!

Stardate: 30th August 2015

Ok, ok… maybe that should read: “Got 20 minutes, a lack of fear, a vomit bag, a box of tissue for your tears, 2 spare t-shirts, and maybe a change of underwear? Well… yea… I can give you abs.”

G’day all!

I’ve heard the complaints of the masses:

  • “I don’t have time to exercise.”
  • “The gym is SO boring.”
  • “3 sets of 10? Who came up with that shit?”

Today, I’ll let you in on a secret: None of my clients have time for those concerns. None of them are applicable. Each of my clients works in a Type-A-primed, 8am-til-whenever, kind of environment. We neither have time to waste, nor any to spare for boredom.

_MG_8285

We aint got time for boredom!

Here’s how we approach fat-loss:

Exhibit A: Kristin.

Kristin is a lawyer, and competitive olympic lifter, who hasn’t exercised in 8 months… due to a rough pregnancy. This is her 3rd week back with me…having been cleared to exercise just days prior. The first two weeks were mobility, skill tweaking, and conditioning. As a new mother, her time is very, very limited… as I’m sure you all can appreciate.

Her Circuit:    1 round

  • Bike Sprint – 1 minute
  • bodyweight plyometric squat – 1 minute
  • deep squat hold – 1 minute
  • bodyweight plyometric squat – 1 minute
  • deep squat hold – 1 minute
  • single-arm kettlebell snatch – 1 minute
  • Bike Sprint – 1 minute
  • barbell thruster (ass to calves) – 1 minute (ie squat to overhead press)
  • bodyweight plyometric squat – 1 minute
  • Barbell front squat (ass to calves) – 1 minute
  • Hyperextension: bodyweight x 30 reps
  • Barbell hang snatch – 1 minute
  • front-loaded barbell reverse lunge – 1 minute
  • Bike Sprint – 1 minute
  • barbell overhead squat – 1 minute

Exhibit B: Kirk

Kirk is an accountant who, one year ago, had a 40 inch waist and zero mobility. After reaching his fat-loss goals with me, his work schedule intensified. So, we’ve had to find ways to use the limited time we have effectively.

His Circuit:        1 round

  • bike sprint – 1 minute
  • bodyweight plyometric squat – 1 minute
  • bodyweight hyperextensions – 30 reps
  • bodyweight plyometric squat – 1 minute
  • bike sprint – 1 minute
  • Standing behind the neck press x 1 minute (switched to push-press @ exhaustion)
  • bike sprint – 1 minute
  • Standing behind the neck press – 1 minute (switched to push-press @ exhaustion)
  • Alternating-arm one-arm row: 1 minute
  • Brisk 1km run
  • Alternating-arm one-arm row x 1 minute
  • GHD sit-up: 20 reps
  • Alternating-arm one-arm row x 1 minute
  • bike sprint – 1 minute
  • Alternating-arm one-arm row x 1 minute
  • bike sprint – 1 minute

Exhibit C: Liam.

Liam works in a quality control setting. That means long hours on his feet, and very odd shifts. Like Kirk, his time is limited. Unlike many others on my roster, Liam sometimes exercises with me in a sleep-deprived state. So our sessions have been optimised to accommodate such..

His Circuit:        1 round

  • half burpee: 20 reps
  • bodyweight plyometric squat: 10 reps
  • push-ups: 10 reps
  • bike sprint: 1 minute
  • deadlift: 1 minute
  • burpee w/o push-up: 1 minute
  • bodyweight plyometric squat: 10 reps
  • push-ups: 10 reps
  • forearm plank: 1 minute
  • bike sprint: 1 minute
  • alternating arm row: 1 minute
  • bike sprint: 1 minute
  • barbell squat: 1 minute
  • burpee w/o push-up: 10 reps
  • push-up: 10 reps
  • burpee w/o push-up: 10 reps
  • push-up: 10 reps
  • suspended inverted row: 1 minute
  • bike sprint: 1 minute
  • half burpee: 1 minute
  • Plate front raise: 1 minute
  • half burpee: 1 minute
  • hang clean and press – 1 minute

Exhibit D:Shane

Shane is a lawyer. His client load sometimes leads to him getting to his personal training sessions late. Optimising that limited time sometimes means scrapping the plan for the day, and compiling a conditioning workout as laid out above.

His Circuit:        1 round

  • bike sprint x 1 minute
  • bodyweight plyometric Squat x 1 minute
  • bike sprint x 1 minutebodyweight plyometric Squat x 1 minute
  • bike sprint x 1 minute
  • behind-the-neck barbell thruster x 1 minute
  • bike sprint x 1 minute
  • behind the neck barbell thruster x 1 minute
  • bodyweight plyometric squat x 1 minute
  • kneeling push-up x 1 minute
  • plyometric squat x 1 minute
  • barbell clean and press x 1 minute
  • bike sprint x 1 minute
  • kneeling push-up x 1 minute
  • barbell row x 1 minute
  • floor sit-up x 1 minute
  • kneeling push-up x 1 minute
  • barbell row x 1 minute

Putting Together a 20 minute Routine For Yourself:

Just how do we go about that? Easy

  1. Assess your skillset. If you aren’t good at olympic lifts, leave them out. Not good at kettlebell stuff unsupervised? Leave them out. Working out at home, and don’t have much equipment? Bodyweight resistance exercises are great, especially for beginners.
  2. Pick 1-2 exercises for each major muscle group (e.g. push-ups for chest, shoulders, and triceps, squats for the lower body, and pulling/rowing exercise for the muscles of the back etc.)
  3. Place a conditioning/cardio exercise between each exercise to keep your heart rate up. You should be able to sustain this exercise for 30 seconds to 4 minutes (e.g. anything from skipping to a brisk walk or run; burpees fit here as well)
  4. Do a light warm-up prior to starting. Nothing exhausting however. Exhaustion before the hard work starts is pointless.
  5. Weight selection, where weights are used: 50-70% of your one-rep max works here. Expects loads of pauses. Don’t let go of that bar however! (NB: DON’T know what a one-rep max is, OR your percentages? Not interested in being that anal either? Pfft… No problem. Pick a weight that you can manage 8-15 reps with. The rest will take care of itself. Trust me)
  6. Post complaints on Instagram @NarkSide. (lol)
  7. Set your timer for 20 minutes. When it goes off, stop. Doesn’t matter what you’re doing. The session is over!

…as is this post. 😉

Yours in health, peace, and fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

p.s.
I’m sure you’re wondering what my OWN conditioning workout looks like… so I’ll share it–> How I approach my own conditioning.

(Please don’t try this. PLEASE don’t try this. It won’t take 20 minutes… or feel good. lol)