Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Making Time For Fitness

Guest blogger: Tim Grizzell, former Navy SEAL

In order to successfully do their missions, U.S. Navy SEALs rely heavily on their gear to work properly. When I was a young frogman just starting out in the SEAL teams, an old, experienced SEAL said to me, “Take care of your gear and your gear will take care of you!” The last thing a SEAL wants to happen when he is deep behind enemy lines or when he is freefalling from 18,000 feet, is for his gear to breakdown.

The same applies with your body. Take care of your body and your body will take care of you! You should treat your body like SEAL team gear because your body is your most important asset. The last thing you want to happen when you are being pulled in many directions at work or at home is for your body to fail. In order to have a healthy body, there are many things you must do, but a very important item is to make time for fitness. It amazes me that some individuals carve out more time to take care of their automobiles than they do to take care of their bodies.

Finding time for fitness is easier said than done. Trust me. I know. My wife works full time and is part-owner of a business. We have three children ages five, four and two. I am starting a new business venture in sports apparel. We both volunteer our time outside of work and family in various local community projects and non-profit work. Yet we still get creative and make time for fitness because our bodies feel great after exercise. It is the core of our success. I will be honest. Our fitness workout plans do not always get executed exactly as planned. We do miss workouts from time-to-time.

Every January there are a number of individuals who start out the New Year with lofty physical fitness goals, which is great if they can stay committed to those goals. Unfortunately, some individuals set fitness goals that are too high and it causes too much of a disruption in their daily schedules. They then “fall of the fitness wagon” and before you know it is back to “couch potato” status. “I cannot workout. It just takes too much time.”

My advice to you is to make small adjustments and be consistent. Look at your daily schedule and figure out where you can find 30 minutes to 1 hour a day for a workout. Try to workout at least 4 days a week. If it is less than 30 minutes a day, 4 times a week, so be it. One idea I have for you is to get up a little earlier. Getting out of bed an hour earlier than usual may be too much. A small adjustment would be getting up fifteen minutes earlier than you normally do. Another small adjustment is to be more efficient in other daily tasks to get another 15 to 30 minutes somewhere else. Stack both time slots together in a day and you just found the exercise time that I referenced above with little disruption to your daily routine.

One last piece of advice I have for you: If you miss a planned workout, do not let it get you down. Just move on and get fired up for the next one and try not to miss another one! That is consistency.

The bottom line is once you have a committed to a consistent fitness program, you more than likely will crave more because of the positive side effects on your body. You will then be amazed by how much time you set aside to take care of your body. If you can find time for fitness and be consistent at it, you will not have to put that item on future New Year’s resolution lists because you are already doing it. Most importantly, your body will take care of you because you are taking care of it!!

Stay Fired Up!!!!

I welcome any questions regarding my own personal training programs for running or any other general comments you might have.

Tim Grizzell


Guest Blogger Tim Grizzell is a former U.S. Navy SEAL officer who led SEAL units in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. He is currently starting a running apparel company that will be officially launched in second quarter of this year. He has run numerous marathons and will be running the 2009 Los Angeles Marathon Memorial Day Weekend. Tim resides in San Marino, California with his wife and their three young children.

Tim met Alden when Alden had just graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training and he had just arrived to begin BUD/S training.


Joe G. said...

Howdy, Lieutenant!

(Sorry, I’m from the South).

I don’t know if you ever plan to get into the running shoe business, but if you need some old used prototypes, I have exactly five pairs on my front porch, right by the front door.
I’m always looking for new ones that provide better support, and after approx. 17 years of running, the one discovery about shoes that I have found to be absolutely carved into stone is this: a higher price does not mean a better shoe. Just like wine. Just like a lot of things, come to think of it. We digress.

Here is my question. I’ve enjoyed a pretty long career as a medical device salesman, and from time to time, actually about a million times in the past 20 years, I have had doctors say that running is bad for your knees. (They’re always FAT doctors.) I wonder what your knowledge of running science leads you to believe about this controversy. The truth must be somewhere in the middle, right? I mean, there is no doubt that with any impact exercise, the joints are affected over a long period of time, but this effect is grossly exaggerated by walkers, fat doctors, et. al., don’t you think? Walking is a great exercise; that is a scientific fact. I know this. But it is not as aerobic unless you go really fast. For guys – and this is just me – you look like an idiot power walking.

So my question is about knee care for runners. What do you think?

I met this old guy at the Y a couple of years ago and he told me he used to run a hundred miles a week. The guy was about 80 years old. The doctor had told him he needed to join the YMCA and forget running, but he loved it so much he continued to run about 20-25 miles per week. He said to heck with the doctor. I respected him. He was fit as a fiddle.

Our Esteemed Leader Alden (wait – isn’t that what “Saddam” meant in Arabic? Let’s stick with “Team Leader”), according to all the literature that came with my Perfect Pushup and Perfect Pullup, worked with the SEALs to determine why there were so many incidences of stress fractures and other injuries among wannabe SEALs. After studying the natural movements of the human body carefully, the team determined that the body’s muscle groups naturally are INCLINED to move in a certain manner. Why this was not discovered while John Paul Jones was a sailor is anybody’s guess. It is so obvious!

I put running in this category, don’t you? If you’re a cave man and it’s 40,000 B.C., and you are really hungry after a long day looking for a mate, and you see a baby velociraptor – presumably a tasty meal if you cook it long enough – just out of range of your javelin, are you going to jog or power walk to catch up to the little dinosaur?

Thanks for serving our country, Lieutenant.

Anonymous said...

Lt. Grizzell, thank you for your service.

1.) Do you know of anything that helps recover from overtraining/ over exercising?

2.) Is there any low stress way to lose body fat?
Thank you

Tim Grizzell said...

Hello Joe:

It is great to hear from you and thank you for commenting on my first post. I appreciate the offer on the running shoe prototypes. For right now, I am focused solely on apparel.

I’ll get right into it. I subscribe to the theory that humans were born to run. Relatively recent biomechanical research by University of Utah biologist Dennis Bramble and Harvard University paleoanthropologist Daniel Lieberman suggests that humans are built to outrun nearly every other animal species on the planet over long distances.

I personally love the following quote from Professor Lieberman. “From our abundant sweat glands to our Achilles tendons, from our big knee joints to our muscular glutei maximi, human bodies are beautifully tuned running machines. We're loaded top to bottom with all these features, many of which don't have any role in walking."

I disagree with doctors that say running is bad for the knees. They either do not like running or just want to take the easy way out on the prognosis. When I was just out of BUD/S, I had a hard landing on my 5th and final jump at Airborne School in Ft. Benning, Georgia. I completely tore my anterior cruciate ligament and had two tears in my meniscus. Three years ago, I had some extreme pain in this reconstructed knee as I was preparing for a marathon. I went to see my doctor and he told me “running is bad for your knees and it is time to pick a less intense form of exercise!” I have not been back to see him, the pain eventually went away and I have logged many miles since.

No question – running is an impact exercise and our knees are affected as a result. In terms of ongoing care for the knees, my advice is the following:

1) run on soft terrain when possible,
2) inject some cross training when your knees are a little overworked (I personally like to cycle and/or swim),
3) try not to add any unnecessary pounds to your frame; and
4) rest your body if necessary.

I will conclude by saying that runners come in all shapes and sizes carrying varying loads, which is proven every time I run a marathon or some other distance. We are all born to run! It is just a matter of taking a realistic approach to conditioning your joints and body for a consistent running program if you want to run on a regular basis. (Note: Clearly, there are exceptions and I realize that not everyone can run for various reasons.)

Thanks again.

Fired Up!


Tim Grizzell said...

Hello A.J.:

Thank you for the questions.

Regarding your question about recovering from overtraining/over exercising, I would suggest the following:

1) Dial in some rest days to your exercise routine,
2) Drink water and stay hydrated as this helps your body recover quicker; and
3) Ensure you are getting the right amount of nutrients in your diet, especially a lot of protein.

In my opinion, the simplest answer for losing body fat is to burn more calories in a day than you intake. For most of us, that means to make a small adjustment to our diet and eat in moderation. More specifically, you could eat smaller portions at breakfast, lunch and dinner with a small healthy snack in between your main meals. This is a relatively low stress method.

Fired Up!


Joe G. said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Joey, have you tried these?:

This gook's shit is really fun!

Joe G. said...

Hi, Barbie - I loved the video. (If I were not a married man I would beg this lady for a date.)

By the way, this guy is not a gook. Gooks were the bad guys in Vietnam! This dude is from Hawaii, and was in the U.S. Army, according to his website.

Yes, I like Brooks and have a pair right here by my desk. They're great shoes.

Have a lovely day.

DebbieKinIL said...

Tim, do you have any tips for running in the cold weather? I see runners all the time here in ChILL-in-NOise in the snow and out at when it's below zero.

Tim Grizzell said...

Hello Debbie:

Although I currently live in sunny Southern California, I am from the Northwest and I also lived in Stuttgart, Germany for two years. So, I have logged plenty of miles in really cold weather.

Your question is very interesting because most discussion about running in extreme climates seems to be focused on the risks of too much sun and heat, which ultimately could lead to heatstroke. Running in very cold weather poses some hazards as well that we often overlook. Hypothermia and frostbite are the most serious conditions to consider when running in subzero weather. The risk of hypothermia and frostbite is not great when running shorter distances, but you still need to be prepared. Therefore, when you step out the front door, you want to ensure that you are ready for all of the elements: wet, cold and wind.

You want to prepare for all the elements that you might encounter when running in cold weather by wearing proper clothing and layering the clothing. You will want to wear a base layer of technical fabric designed for runners (i.e., long sleeve top and full length bottoms/tights) that takes moisture from sweating away from your body and keeps your skin dry (otherwise known as “wicking”). The outside layer of clothing designed for running that you wear on top of the base layer that should protect you from the wet and wind, but it should be breathable. As your body starts to warm up, you might want to shed the outside layer and wrap it around your body. If your body starts to cool down, you will want to put the outside layer on. You can always add another layer in between the base layer and outside layer if needed, but do not overdress because you could end up sweating too much. Lastly, do not forget your gloves and hat as well.

In cold weather, you also might encounter some slippery surfaces. You do not need to change your running form too much. Maybe lean forward a little and shorten your stride some if it is very slippery out.

Another factor to consider when running in subzero weather is breathing in really cold air. You might feel like you have asthma like conditions after your run because of the cold air hitting your lungs. Some runners might wear a fleece neck gaiter that they can pull over their nose and mouth. Other runners just breathe through their nose instead of their mouth and find that helps. Most importantly, I would try to warm up inside by stretching or doing some exercises (i.e., pushups, pull-ups or situps) to get your blood pumping before heading out the door because this will help too.

Lastly, do not forget to hydrate just like you would if it was very hot outside.

Fired Up!


Unknown said...

and wear at least 2 Under Armour sports bras when exercising, chicks.

I found a new exercise to do: Twisted pushups.

Unknown said...

It was on the "Analyzing Arabesque" video. You get into the knee pushup position or do it up against a wall. Then, you reach one arm underneath your chest to the side opposite that arm until your torso is twisted to the side of the working arm. Do a 1-arm pushup while keeping your body in the position where your torso is twisted. This helps something-er-rather.
I suck at explaining but I can't find a description.

Lisa A said...

Hi Tim,
Enjoyed your guest blog. In your response to Joe's question you said "We are all born to run." It made me think back to first grade when I loved to run and could out run all the boys in 1-3 grades. How things changed once they got their coordination. Now I don't run, and haven't in years, and years.

I enjoy taking 4-6 miles walks. I love yoga. And I'm a fan of Alden's BodyRev workout! I do have some extra weight on me. I go by inches, but if I were to guess in pounds I'd say 20. I'm losing it slowly through very mild diet modification which works best for me.

For the last 2 years I've done one big (for me anyway) physical challenge. 2 years ago I participated in Rudy's Navy SEAL Challenge, You run a 5K(?) and do a few sand crawls after getting wet a couple of times, you do some pull-ups, and pushups, run through mud, climb over some logs It's a blast !! I walked most of it and jogged some of it. I've considered doing Rudy's Challenge again this June, if I do I'd like to run some of it and better my time of 1:15. I think I can take 5 minutes off by wearing shorts instead of sweat pants, I think my sweat pants held about 20 pounds of sand and water, least it felt like it to me.

Last year I participated in the VB Rock n Roll 1/2 marathon at the end of August. It was a last minute decision about a month before, and I said I was walking it. I didn't have to time to train. It took me 3 1/2 hours. with a few jogs but mostly walking fast. It was pretty challenging I needed a few hours nap to recover. In Nov I volunteer at a 5k beach run, I think I'd like to try running it one year. I haven't decided which of these events I'll do this year. I'm not looking to win any of these events I would like to be able to run at least a portion of the event I choose.

So, how do I go from walking to running when walking feels great and running feels awkward to me?

Tim, Thank you for your service to our nation !!

Tim Grizzell said...

Hello Lisa:

I am fired up to hear that you did Rudy’s Navy SEAL challenge and got the experience of turning yourself into a “sugar cookie,” otherwise known as getting wet and sandy! Congratulations on finishing the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. You only gave yourself less than a month’s notice and you did it. I like it. You obviously have a positive attitude that inspired you to do the event in the first place and carried you through the event. I like to refer to it as “FIRE IN THE GUT!”

I will begin by saying that you are on the right track to go from walking to running. You have completed athletic events where you did both walking and running. Also, making slight modifications to your diet is a more sustainable approach that will work in the long-term versus some extreme diet.

Given that running has not been part of your weekly exercise program for many years, you will want to ease into it. From a physical perspective, you need to condition your muscles, joints and tendons for running. The last thing you want is an overuse injury by jumping into it too quickly.

On the mental side of things, you do not want to lose your motivation and desire to run by doing too much at the beginning. I will say though that you are going to have to push yourself out of the comfort zone. You clearly like to walk. Walking is great exercise and that is what your mind knows. Right now for you, running is somewhat of a foreign exercise. Yet – running will not feel as awkward the more you do it.

In terms of training tips for easing into running, I suggest the following:

-After you have properly warmed up, run a quarter mile, walk a quarter mile, repeat. I would try to do this running program three days a week.
-Once you are comfortable with the above program for some weeks, I would try running a half mile, walk a quarter mile (or a half mile if you need it), and repeat.
-I would just keep doing this type of training until you have worked up to a program where you can run a mile without walking. Just try to continue to building from here and give yourself small victories.
-Eventually, running will not feel awkward and you will probably start to run and not want to stop.

I will finish by sharing some personal thoughts on running versus walking. When I am running, I am generally thinking about a number of things that have nothing to do with the environment around me. My mind tends to wander and I come up with a lot of creative ideas and thoughts. Also, I am an “endorphin junkie.” Walking, on the other hand, produces some different feelings. I tend to become more aware of the environment around me, especially if I am hiking in the mountains or along an ocean side cliff. Although my mind is free to wander when walking, it is not with the same intensity as running.

I would be happy to answer anymore questions about running you might have as you get further into your running program.

Fired Up!


Unknown said...

Unknown said...

You can also do it by starting with 5 minutes of running throughout the day and build up to, for instance, 6 times total. For example, 5 mins every hour throughout the day. You could climb a hill and then running down is a cinch. However, make sure you're following a correct training plan that's progressive and then you taper off and also that you have variation in your workouts.

Unknown said...

Oops! I meant to write start by walking/running for 5 minutes every hour for a total of 6 times. Basically, breaking down that chart and spreading it throughout the day.

Lisa A said...

Hi Tim,

Thank You for your advice. Breaking it down like you did makes it seem less daunting. I'm looking forward to the time when I start to run and don't want to stop :)

I appreciate your offer to help as I get further along. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Lisa A said...

Barbie~ Only incline here in South Florida is on a treadmill. Thanks for your suggestions.

The WatchCat said...

Hi Tim,
Thanks for the insights, particularly your comments to Lisa which are also relevant to my own situation. I'm coming out of what doctors call Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and I've often wondered if CFS is a long-term case of severe overtraining. Now, I've been walking for a half hour a day (including hills), and while I don't feel great afterwards, it's not causing "crashes" either and I'd like to ramp things up a bit. Actually, I'd like to ramp it up into the law-enforcement level of fitness, but I know I have to take things slow. Any ideas of how to do it without getting sick again?


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The WatchCat said...

Thanks, Barbie.
What constitutes "a little bit"? I've always been under the impression that it's best to do at least 15 minutes at a time, otherwise the benefits are severely diminished. Is five minutes of jogging better than ten minutes of walking? Where do I start?

Not dead, can't quit...

Tim Grizzell said...

Hello Cat:

Thank you for commenting on my CHARLIE MIKE post!

I will preface my response first by saying that I am not a doctor, but I know that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a very serious condition. Obviously, you really want to ease back into physical activity. I find it very encouraging that you are able to go for 30-minute walks without any “crashes,” but you mentioned that you do not feel great either. So, you might want to pull back a little and really ease back into your exercise routine. There are no “minimums” when it comes to exercise. To give you an example, I have a friend who runs just one mile every day and that is it. He is on a well-balanced diet and he is very fit. I am not suggesting that you workout every day just yet given your situation, but be consistent on a weekly basis at a level that works for you without overdoing it.

I think your goal of ramping up your fitness level is great. My advice for right now would be to vary your physical activity (i.e., the type of exercise depends on your preferences and what you can do) on a daily basis and exert yourself at low levels of intensity. Just be consistent at this for awhile and stop when you do not feel great. Just remember there are no minimums. Listen to you body and it will let you know when it is time to increase the level of intensity and frequency. The last thing you want is to take two steps forward and then five steps back because you overdid too soon.

My last piece of advice – ensure that you are on healthy diet, try to reduce and/or eliminate all stress and rest your body. This might seem like simple advice, but it is true and often overlooked.

Stay Fired Up!


Unknown said...

I was wrong. I asked now. For normal people, 5 mins of jogging is better than 10 mins of walking but not for people with CFS. Also, ignore my recommendation. With CFS, it doesn't matter if exercise is split up throughout the day or done all at once. I blow.
My friend with CFS got better because her thyroid flipped.

The WatchCat said...

No problem, Barbie, I'm well aware of the contraries of CFS!

I'll comment more at the new post, but here I'll simply say that my major challenge is being in the middle ground, ie with some CFS-type challenges but no longer bound by all the issues. Thanks for all the ideas!