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Warmup, Workout, Stretch, Recover


Cat Fitzgerald - Martin Stepanek's guru for body conditioningMarch 29. 2012

Warmup, Workout, Stretch, Recover - Are you doing the right thing?

by Cat Fitzgerald

No specific movement this month; instead I want you to simply be present in your training and try this methodology: Warm up, Workout, Stretch, and Recover.

There has been a lot of controversy lately about whether or not to stretch and if flexibility is necessary or a better condition than “inflexible” (see articles in Men’s Health, New York Times, Miami Herald, Shape, etc). Critical thinking skills seem to be drowning like Dolphins in the vast fear-mongering drift nets of media and politics. I have read many of these articles and, while the cover may spell dismay over your time spent stretching, the conclusions that they draw are that stretching is fine, if not great, it is when and how you stretch that matters. Flexibility in body is akin to that of mind. If you are too flexible it is difficult to come to a decision or answer a call to action, it creates a sloppy feel. I don’t generally refer to that as flexible (see last April’s article). Skipping ahead: I find it best to do a warm up, then workout, and stretch at the end (unless I am doing a resistance stretch as my workout). Each section has its’ own goal; don’t conflate them. Warm up: Goal, to get the blood flowing, boost the heart rate a bit, and take an inventory of the body to check for injuries, aches, elasticity, etc; How, start with slow motions that grow in range of motion, and possibly speed, from hips out (Hula dance, to torso circles, arm circles, elbow, wrist, neck [keep extension], legs circles, knees [mogul skiing] to ankles and toes). This is also to build a constant dialogue and feedback system for you to use during your workout and then for your stretch. Workout: test previous experience, maintain or increase an aspect of our activity/sport/strength/happiness etc. Stretching: (what I find to be of most use for the professional athlete to daily grinder) to relieve tension and blocks to mobility; to increase functional use of muscle (maximize muscles ability to contract and elongate) in concentric (contracting and shortening a muscle – like walking upstairs), eccentric (contracting and elongating a muscle – like walking downstairs), and isometric (a static contraction of muscle – like sitting against a wall as if you were in a chair, but without one) capacities; improve my athletic endeavor through speed, power , fluidity, dynamics, ease and speed of recovery and other qualifications in and quantifications. I personally use resistance stretching , plyometrics, and bodyweight exercises in my own blend as my workout (tweaked for the individual sport). Keeping the goal of stretching as trying to maximize the three methods of muscle movement (isometric, concentric, and eccentric) then we are creating an essential element to our training.


Goldfish Kiss


RebekahMarch 21. 2012

Go Freediving with Goldfish Kiss

by Rebekah Steen

 It’s absolutely amazing when you learn a new sport and simultaneously discover an ability you never realized you had. It was time to take a deep breath, dive in and have some one on one quality, uninterrupted time with the ocean. So to be quite obvious, learning to freedive was an all-around rather awesome experience.

Rebekah Goldfish Kiss FreedivingI took a FII Level 1 freediving course on the Big Island (officially certified now—the card is in the mail) and really, it was one of the most exhilarating, eye-opening weekends I’ve had in a while.

Here’s why:

I knew the class was going to be awesome when the guy who sat next to me, Aquil, had flown all the way from Dubai to take it. He had 21 hours of flying, I had about 21 minutes—you get the picture. Our instructor was Martin Stepanek and he can hold his breath for eight minutes. He's dove to 400 feet deep, which just so happens to be the world record. Now I know why Aquil flew from Dubai.

So I had a total bada** yet modest instructor, and over the course of the weekend, learned how to properly breathe for a dive and the ins and outs of making it all safe. After two days I was able to hold my breath for three minutes, and dive to a depth of 66 feet three different times with one breath.

Freediving is also an amazing workout. It's a relaxing, peaceful sport but it mimics interval training so it's a total fat blaster. When you pop up from a dive, you are breathing as if you ran up a flight of stairs, only you were swimming with dolphins instead. I’ll take Flipper over the Stair Master any day.

Some people get into freediving for recreation, to help with spearfishing, to survive big wave surfing wipeouts, or to compete (good luck beating Martin). Me? I got into it completely out of the blue.

Find your nearest Instructor and take a Course at!

Visit Goldfish Kiss

The Gift


Cat FitzgeralsdMarch 2. 2012

The Gift

by Cat Fitzgerald

We all train, yet, most of us miss its hidden gifts. We tend to look at training as the gift and other things, such as a better body and less stress, as nice, secondary benefits. Training with only these goals is Sisyphean, a dead end. Inherent in any training is a deeper level of work at whichpoint, while we work to grow and evolve into that next physical level, we are actually train for life.

Freediving is a great example of just that. To get better, it is not enough to simply be good at CO2 resistance, be hydrodynamic, or equalize well. All of that is important, true, but, as a reader of this column, it is safe to assume that these are things you are already good at and know to work on – though being a first-timer does not preclude you from the following. Here is the gift, the key to the next progression of excellence:


I’ll leave the touchy-feely for your private time; what I am referring to is the ability to deal with primal, basic, hard-wired emotions. In the work that I do, we face a lot of Fear, Anger, Sadness, Joy, Frustration, and the list goes on. However, for the purpose of our discussion, I will only use Fear, Happiness, and Shame. Fear is future-based. Shame stems from the past and Happiness, while it transcends both, is the only emotion that can live in the immediate, in the here and now.

What happens when you are at 60’ and even the slightest bit of anxiety enters your thoughts? Your heart rate shoots up, there’s a release of adrenaline into the system, O2 metabolization becomes less efficient. It all equals less down time. Now, before you start sending me hate mail, I love Yoga, Meditation, and other contemplative practices, but I bring up Yoga and Meditation specifically because they have long been the loudest promoters of the “Here and Now” existence, of “Be.” Here’s the rub: Anyone can learn to be still on a mountain or at a spa retreat. It is easy to not honk your horn at the car in front of you if you are driving through Yosemite. It is a piece of cake to relax, breathe, let go and “Be” while on a massage table – though it sometimes seems less so in a Yoga studio with the instructor turning you into Gumby’s whining little bitch. And that’s the gift: the opportunity to not hide from or ignore discomfort, pain, loss, or pretend these feelings do not exist, but to process these emotions in a process them in a productive, positive way.

We learn how to process emotions and how to actually be in the Here and Now versus being in the past or the future or elsewhere altogether. We learn how to be aware of our goal during the dive without the future-reaching Fear and Anxiety of expectation and then we get to take that trained skill into our lives and relationships. The very training we used to create a new competitive edge in our sport, or to reach a new personal best, translates to development of the person we are at home, on the road, when we are full of Joy or in a Panic.

Keeping this in mind, let’s get ready to stretch. The Bladder Stretch – Lateral Hamstring, works on Bladder health, bone strength and density, improves balance, and helps to eliminate back pain. As we go deeper into the rabbit hole, this stretch can help you feel more hopeful and results oriented, while helping you increase your Self-Esteem and decreasing narcissistic behaviors. Deeper still and we discover that this stretch helps us to resolve Fear. Not Fear of [Fill in the Blank], but the pure, abject emotion of Fear. It helps to dismantle the negative processes we can fall prey to when we feel Fearful, and helps to create a positive processing MO.

Start lifting your spine from the sacrum up, one vertebra at a time

Bring Abdominals toward spine, rather than pushing them out (as show on the picture)

Start lifting your spine from the sacrum up, one vertebra at a time

Start lifting your spine from the sacrum up, one vertebra at a time.

Keep your thighs relaxed as you lift and lift until you are resting on your upper back. Keep your Abs sucked in toward your spine.

Keep your thighs relaxed as you lift and lift until you are resting on your upper back. Keep your Abs sucked in toward your spine.

Lower yourself, again, one vertebra at a time, keeping your thighs relaxed and abs sucked into your spine, until you reach your starting position. Be sure to go through your lower back before you reach the top of your glutes.

Lower yourself, again, one vertebra at a time, keeping your thighs relaxed and abs sucked into your spine, until you reach your starting position.

Be sure to go through your lower back before you reach the top of your glutes.

Take today’s stretch and feel it. Train yourself to know the difference between productive discomfort and counterproductive suffering. Add in breathing, centering. This is your first step to real cross training: Physiologic, Psychologic, Emotional, and Spiritual. Methodological Integration.



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