Wood Frogs n Stuff


A shadowy, frigid night. A pale, black moon. Looking for a wood frog, looking for this wild spirit as it has left my body and is running for the hills. To a grassy knoll, on the top of a mountain for a breath of fresh air. Where does the soul go when we lay down for rest, when we sleep? What if that sleep is for an extended period? Where do our thoughts release us to if the slumber is for a lengthy stay? Sometimes the answer isn’t so simple. Presenting the Wood Frog; a common amphibian of the timbered persuasion found everywhere from Arkansas to the Arctic Circle.





As the only frog to exist above the Arctic Circle; developing an adaptation when encountering the effects of the cold means to survive. When ice crystals reach our friend the wood frog it dehydrates itself into a rock like composition. Exhibiting more self control than a necrophiliac in a funeral parlor, the frog quickly petrifies itself at the first signs of ice, dehydrating into a fossil with all brain activity ceasing and no heart beat until it rethaws  as many as 7 months later. SO WHERE DOES IT GO?? Floating in suspended animation it lays there encased in ice, with the insides of its cells filled with thick, sugary syrup and the outside water remaining frozen completely solid. “When you drop it, it goes Clink” states Kenneth Storey, a professor of Biochemistry at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.



This rock-like state is created using special proteins in their blood (called nucleating proteins) which cause the water in their blood to freeze first. The frogs liver begins to produce a large amount of glucose (sugars) which then prop up the cells like tent poles during the dehydrated phase. The freezing helps the frogs drop their metabolism. As humans, we don’t do this..  Unfortunately we get frost bite. We do however have the ability to expand/speed up our metabolism. Using this as inspiration, humans have a sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system gets you ready for action, a fight, a great burst of energy. The parasympathic system is the surfer dude trying to chill you out, man. It calms you down, releases chemicals that relax and regenerate you. Studies have shown that habitual cold exposure (cold showers, ice baths) causes a shift toward parasympathetic activity and lowers sympathetic activation. Even turning from a hot to cold shower and back to hot a few times will give you positive benefit.



The first 15 to 30 secs or so can be pure hell. Much of this is your body’s automatic fight or flight response kicking in, or a Sympathetic response. In order to get through this we must breathe, which provides the oxygen required for the muscles to relax. We have about 30 seconds of pure energy stored within us at any given time. It’s there in case a Lion jumps out, or a tree starts falling requiring you to sprint and not think. These motions require action without processed thought. In essence, thought and action so quick breathing isn’t involved. During these instances we use an energy currency called ATP. The first 30 seconds or so of an ice bath requires us to breathe through the initial pain response brought upon by the cold stimulus.







A few things to keep in mind when trying cold exposure:

  1. The body interprets mental and physical pain the same, producing the same chemicals and hormonal response for both
  2. Cold receptors are 3 to 4 times more numerous than warm receptors (after getting over the initial shock it provides more of an opportunity to feel and be aware of our surroundings)
  3. Temperature and Pain receptors use the same pathways within the body


By breathing deeply you provide the ATP (immediate energy) for the body to process its “freak out” moment. Moving into the Parasympathetic response, building up a tolerance to the cold. The heating/exciting and cold/intense aspects of a proper workout can generally be classified as Yin or Yang.

Yin represents the forces that produce passiveness. The cooler winter months and elements such as water, air, trees. Fruits that grow particularly fast and are larger than others; Yin tends to forever fill up the dimensions of its space (a goldfish or certain snakes and reptiles fit this bill). Coffee, caffeine, drugs and alcohol are all classified yin in nature. Fruits that are particularly watery or juicy are yin in nature.


Yang is representative of the dense, heavy, or highly active elements of the natural world. The hot, active nature of the summer months; the denseness of the sweet potato and other root vegetables classify them as yang.


During a workout we speed up our heart rate, our metabolism, and our breath. Exciting the senses and making us hyper sensitive and in turn hyperaware of what is going on around us. Creating a very Sympathetic, blood pumping, fat burning response in the nervous system; a very Yang response. In order to bring ourselves back to baseline we provide a Yin or Parasympathetic response.


Although we don’t turn into stone we exhibit characteristics similar to the wood frog. Using the cold as a tool and ally, we can speed up or slow down our metabolism at will. Requiring only a few minutes a week, we have the ability to train our bodies and minds to respond to stress as elegantly and with as much grace as desired. Happy showers yall!


Justin Sarmast is a personal trainer and fitness expert from Anne Arundel County. You can contact him at destinationisfitness@gmail.com


The Observational, Zeno effect and Working out

Muscle cramps and rigor mortis

You’re running down the track, breathing is getting disorderly, muscles begin to cramp “Ahh, I’m dying here!”.. How right you are my friend! The bodies response to a muscle cramp is markedly similar to the effects of rigor mortis after the soul has left the body. Essentially is comes down to a depletion in oxygen stores within the body, which help create energy (ATP or adenosine triphosphate). The cramp becomes serious due to the lack of precious oxygen that relaxes the muscles so they can be used again properly. Called the “stretch/shortening cycle”, this stretch/relax sequence is the foundation for all movement and measurement of athletic performance.

The body needs to be fueled and refueled using foods that cause little wear & tear within the digestive tract and leave you properly nourished. For cramps I recommend cruciferous greens to be introduced regularly within the diet.  Cruciferous or Brassica vegetables are so named because they come from plants in the family known to botanists as Cruciferae or alternately, Brassicaceae. Many commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables come from the Brassica genus, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, turnips, bok choy, and Chinese cabbage. Arugula, horse radish, radish, wasabi, and watercress are also cruciferous vegetables.

High intakes of cruciferous vegetables have been associated with lower risk of lung and colorectal cancer in some epidemiological studies, but there is evidence that genetic differences may influence the effect of cruciferous vegetables on human cancer risk.

In health and fitness, training is organized as different specific tasks which result in a definite improvement in sports results: the degree of improvement in sporting performance is the criterion/deciding factor of the effectiveness of training. Which brings me to the greatest tools in health and fitness; the pen and paper. Keeping track of results and the systems we use to achieve results cannot be stressed enough. Since an observed system literally fights against change (Zeno Effect), it is best to keep track but also be able to put the system down and to let it take affect.

“The Zeno Effect”

Sometimes stated as “a system cannot change while you’re watching it”. The odd theory in quantum physics that was recently proven by Cornell physicists


Putting your attention on something changes the way that thing will act. Not only that, the way that that thing operates in the world, the laws of physics change because of your newly placed attention. When you’re in the car & something drops under the seat, you reach for it almost grabbing it. But in the act of reaching for it you push it further and further away from you.

“Observation Affects Reality”

“When a quantum observer is watching quantum mechanics states that particles can also behave as waves. When under observation, electrons are being “forced” to behave like particles and not like waves. Thus the mere act of observation affects the experimental findings”

Even turning on the lights will change how molecules will act. Being present will affect the activity, whether you participate of not.




A lot of getting results in health & fitness is showing up and trying your best. Give your best push phase and you’re be 90% there.

When you show up and do the work, even if its not perfect your body recognizes the need to change for the better and will acclimate to the new stresses put upon it (general adaption syndrome). In doing the work your muscles will start talking to each other. When groups of muscle begin to start talking to other groups (intermuscular coordination) you create a more balanced body. When you get individual muscle fibers within the same group talking to each other (intramuscular coordination) you create a highly functional body capable of almost anything.

Having a higher functioning body means having a faster reaction and response time.; responding to both visual and auditory cues more quickly. Studies have found men and women respond to audio cues more quickly than visual, so next time you’re getting ready for that workout and are dragging a bit listening to some music that gets you hype can be a lifesaver.

The study also found that the reaction time in people who are exercising regularly is higher than in those who do not.



If you’re having difficulty adhering to an exercise plan or pushing past a plateau, it is important to read. Get someone else’s thought pattern and coaching in your head. It helps achieve a ready state and a more relaxed mind. A free mind goes well with a free body, the animal (body) takes care of the man (mind), so in order to get the best results we need to train both. Get your mind right with Plato’s “the republic”, and the “book of 5 rings” by Miyamoto Musashi. With principles deeply applicable to todays society as well as the art of physical training. The summer is here, stay active my friends.

The Art of Grace

By the end of the workout only the determined remained. The goal: be the boat so focused on its own course that it doesn’t register the saltwater vibrations of sharks below. The art of focus, manufacturing state of mind, and creating a deeper connection with the power of grace.

When we workout we change not only our body but also our minds. It largely comes down to breathing. Breathing metabolizes fat, processes our emotion, creates new life within us. When we stop breathing we tense and brace for impact. Breathing produces atp (the quick energy of the body, giving us the ability to move/stay loose) through the citric acid cycle, atp stops rigor mortis (rigidity that occurs when we die and/or stop breathing).

Rigidity and loss of range of motion aren’t just a physical issue however, our brains become grooved (set in a pattern over time). A great example is a record on a turntable.. each time the recording spins, the needle digs deeper into the groove of the record. Over time, the groove itself becomes deeper. The vinyl record is permanently altered….

We have 2 very distinct systems for processing information at work.

Sitting on our right shoulder is the angel of implicit learning, producing creative thoughts, random jokes and movement, the ability to think “outside the box” and create lateral thinking. The implicit system is our unconscious, creative side; and is located predominantly within the right hemisphere of our brain (right side of the brain controls the left side of the body). The neurons on the right hemisphere are located further apart than the left side and take a longer, more creative path when connecting. When we are using our gut instinct or intuition in real time the implicit system is operating. The implicit system mixes daily experiences, with random thoughts and obscure memories to produce completely new thoughts.

The archangel of our left brain hemisphere uses logic and rules to problem solve and can be easily expressed. The explicit system; operating with our conscious thought process uses lots of calories to function and operate which is why we primarily use the implicit system.

My man, whats this got to do with fitness??! I hear you, lets go deeper.. Our implicit system constantly rewires itself over and over to solve problems with maximum efficiency (in the heat of the moment even), using a negative feedback loop. When we’re chatting it up in our kitchen and unintentionally place our hand on the hot stovetop, we need to pull our hand off immediately and without thinking. This is a process too quick for our conscious brain to process so we use our reflexive nature (feedback loop). So that’s it right? Small burn and then we are done thinking about it forever, lets move on.. Not so fast, our body doesn’t want to have this pain occur a second time so we alter our posture using an unconscious system which then affects our conscious ways of moving..

In anticipation of future pain our mind/body tends to overprepare for it.. This is phenomena is called pain of injury which is a protective response to any activity which is causing or has caused damage to one of the bodies systems. It is rational to want to save ourselves from injury, but when we let our fear get the better of us this turns into a phobia; similar to a fear of spiders or heights. Pain of Effort (Pain of Fatigue) refers to ones personal interpretation of the intensity of a given effort, the fear of the work ahead.. To quote a wise man who was quoting another wise man “A coward dies a thousand deaths, a Soldier dies but once”. We make a mountain outta the mole hill, put the task on a pedestal and create a thousand negative variables..

Sheesh what can we possibly do here? Just breathe, respirar, respire.. Ok now breath deeper. When we breath we bring thoughts from the caverns of our mind into the light for clarity; switching from using unconscious modes of operating to conscious. Diaphragmatic breathing, “Athletic” or belly breathing.. learning to control the muscle located horizontally between the thoracic cavity and abdominal cavity. Air enters the lungs and the belly expands during this type of breathing (chest breathing is common in clients who drive or sit for prolonged periods of time). Don’t take my word for it, just listen to my man Elmo..

Yuri Verkhoshansky (Russian athletics pioneer) on the art of changing the mind, “It is noteworthy that no popular western texts on so called plyometric training pay any attention to the fact that reflexes are not immutable and can be unconsciously or consciously conditioned by training actions”

When we prepare the body for movement we start of crawling, then walking, running, then we fly.. To move properly with correct posture we do the same, we start sitting. To practice breathing is to practice awareness. In order to become good at inverted headstands we need to have awareness of where our feet and head are while upside down, this means having conscious thought while exerting ourselves. Breathing through our belly while in this position means finding peace and balance. Initially becoming aware of ourselves then power and explosion come after. Proprioceptive exercise (exercise that builds awareness and control of the limbs) require control of the diaphragm and spine.

Image result for brain map of limbs

Pain and the Cold:

“flexibility and motor skills are also affected by emotion and discomfort or perception of pain, because there are emotion related and pain interpreting centers in the cerebrum and the cerebellum that are closely related to the execution of patterned movement. “

Pain isn’t intolerable, when it happens we feel it and operate with it just fine whether it be emotional or physical (our brain interprets physical and metal damage similarly)… The anxiety and panic sets in when we realize that our next moment will be painful as well, creating a heightened sensation and stress response. Through breathing we master our reflex to pain, and through cold exposure so can you. Taking a cold shower can be a real test in mental fortitude, especially when its snowing outside and we have anything else to do.

Image result for wim hof cold exposure

When the cold water first hits my face and neck the sound of wolves howling fills my ears and I’m ready to call it quits. Breath in, breath out, in… out.. Over and over I play this game until the water feels tolerable and eventually dare I say enjoyable. I do this ritual every morning and night post workout. The cooling of the tissues with the ice water stabilizes connective at their newly achieved length (retain gains for longer), causes diaphragmatic breathing which activates the brown adipose tissue (healthy fat that metabolizes white, unhealthy tissue), increases the pain tolerance, and allows us to access our autonomic nervous system (the part of the nervous system responsible for control of the bodily functions not consciously directed, such as breathing, the heartbeat, and digestive processes) to name a few of the many benefits.

Stay tuned for words on different methods of training, how to optimize your diet for maximum benefit, and increasing your ROM for better performance in the gym and life

Posture and GAS and Fight or Flight

Posture, the relationship between your shoulders and coccyx  (the top of the spine and the base). Keeping these in alignment is hugely important. But its based on a pully system, a tug of war between larger muscles that pull down and smaller muscles that pull us up.


We have a general response to stress and that is Fight, Flight, or Freeze

General Adaption Syndrome– When we encounter stress, our bodies attempt to adapt and overcome.


Milo of Croton was a 6 time Olympic champion between 540 and 520 bce, eventually finding an end to his magnificent life after being eaten by a pack of wolves while pulling tree stumps out of the ground. This wild Italian had unusual methods for gaining strength over time. He would carry a young bull upon his shoulders, as the bull grew towards maturity his strength would grow as well. How was he able to do this? Is this feasible? Well, there are still those that use this training method today. It is called general adaption syndrome, brought to light by Hans Selye in the 1930’s. Essentially, if everyday you walk by and poke a dog with a stick eventually you need two sticks to get the same level of reaction. Our bodies work very much the same way, as do our minds. That dog in you is what gets you through hard days, difficult workouts, life during crisis, ultimately its your will to live (“its not the size of the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog” my brother Remy would say this constantly growing up). This energy system is called your deep energy resoviour and is used during extreme as well as quick reaction.

When world sambo master Khabib Nurmagomedov was a young boy, his father wanted him to have a strong GAS response. His father would have young Khabib wrestle a young bear. As Khabib got older, so did his bear and so did his strength. Gradually increasing the challenge as well as his response to challenge, eventually taking him into a place of incomprehensive ability and accomplishment. He became world champion in his field, and now using the same mindset to become champion in another competitive sport, MMA. This physical conditioning he undertook has more to do with creating changes within the mind than body, and getting over the fear of pain and losing.

Young Khabib and his Bear


Pain, fear, and fear of pain wreak havoc on our CNS and posture so it is important to adjust and overcome these obstacles.

“When a new task with a demand that is different in intensity, load, rate, repetition, or duration is undertaken, an entirely new pattern of “neuromuscular adjustment” must be acquired. “the fatigue experienced in new activities is not just from using different muscles but is also due to the braking caused by improper coordination”

Bruce Lee- 1975


A “natural athlete” is generally characterized by “his ease of movement, even during maximal effort”. Some of Americas greatest..

Bo Jackson

(Baseball amazing moment)


Football Highlight



Herschel Walker






Jim  Thorpe


they say success leaves clues. All these men grew up largely in the country side, spent a lot of time in the mountains (angles, incline, huge in building strong posture and breathing posture), very little weightlifting (pivoting with bodyweight is important), and a LOT of time barefoot (strong feet are the key). These conditions create a body that can overcome and adapt to the stress of multiple sports let alone everyday life.

All of these activities.. Running up mountains, being barefoot, spending most time outside all point towards the keys of their success. These men all led lives that specifically strengthened their anti gravity muscles. The muscles that hold the spine in proper alignment, while all the “famous” muscles look good but pull us down and out of alignment.

These muscles keep our lungs in proper position as well, which gives us adequate oxygen intake to help coordinate muscles so our reactions are quick and exact. When we get weighed down by the large muscles we lose this connection gradually becoming slower and less responsive mentally and physically. It is doubly important to keep them strong in the winter and coming months.

Frankie says relax…


Every day I get up and begin breathing deeply because it aligns my bones. Different breathing patterns will release different hormones within our body, resulting in different thought patterns and muscular growth.


Miyamoto Musashi (1584)– “In all forms of strategy, it is necessary to maintain the combat stance in everyday life. Make your everyday stance your combat stance. You must research this well.”


We constantly hear of amazing examples of ordinary people in extraordinary situations, 2 stories in particular I will concentrate on now. The first being a man who goes out, gets drunk and does something incredibly stupid. He gets behind the wheel, no seatbelt and crash. Car is totaled, man walks away fine. How is this possible? The answer is in the breathing technique.


Car crash example below


The key to staying relaxed is your breath. Deep inhalation in and relax the air out, called diaphragmatic breathing. If you are in the room when someone is falling asleep, there is a point where you can hear their breathing pattern switch from inhale, exhale, inhale. to iiiiiiiiinhale… exhale (like a sigh out). The same breathing when you are dead drunk, when you are knocked unconscious, when you are fast asleep. Deeeeeeep breath innnn… sigh out. This breathing pattern triggers an immediate relax response within your body. Your breathing triggers your sympathetic and parasympathetic response which activates hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol (all those affect breathing rhythm and depth).

You can see this instant response during kickboxing fights when someone is knocked unconscious and Brazilian jiu jitsu matches when someone is choked unconscious. When you go to sleep, you breathe deep, and you are flexible. VERY flexible, its when you wake up and tense up that all the trouble arises. An example of this in real time is Mirko Cro Cop being knocked uncoincious by Gabriel Gonzaga. Mirko went to sleep with his leg in a completely unnatural angle so before he woke up and caused damage to himself the ref fixed his leg and as a result he woke up fine and able to walk.

You can view the knockout below.



The next story is a 15 yr old girl from Vienna, Va. Her father is working beneath her car when the car falls pinning him. The girl picks the car up.. Say whaaaaaaaaa? Tell me it isn’t so? How is that even real? Well let me tell you.. According to Hans Selye all the way back in the 1930’s, it has to do with the general adaption syndrome and breathing technique.  We have 2 main modes of operation. The aerobic response (WITH oxygen and thought) and the anaerobic (WITHOUT oxygen or thought, your reflexive action). Both can be and SHOULD be modified to maintain composure during stress responses. More on this next time.

When you are breathing and using oxygen (aerobic), your movement and thought pattern is more refined and articulate. Meaning you are able to use your fingers and toes easily, your limbs are dexterous and graceful. Your without oxygen (anaerobic response) is much more blunt and much less refined. This response uses atp (adenosine triphosphate, an energy source created within the body that only lasts a second or two) for fuel. It’s an immediate, forceful response designed to engage or disengage a stressful situation (this goes for verbal reactions as well. In short, when you are attacked unexpectedly, in a sudden emergency situation, or suffer exhaustion, this is your immediate response system. It doesn’t last long, but

When the truck fell onto her father, the response was quick. Too quick for thought, the response comes from her spinal column (where our unconscious movement is stored). When we need to move quicker than our brain can process so we use reflexes. Most times, most days we don’t get as strong of a response as this girl, but the process is all the same. Whether the stress is internal or external, we have a response to it. An answer for it, as it’s not the strong that survive but the most adaptable.

Starlings Law states the strength of a contraction is proportional to the original length of the muscles at the moment of contraction. Meaning, the more relaxed you are, the more force you can produce (pick up a car with 0 prep before hand) or shock you can absorb (car wreck while drunk).


The Modern Man:

“Certain is it that while men are gathering knowledge and power with ever increasing and measureless speed, their virtues and their wisdom have not shown any notable improvement as the centuries have rolled. The brain of the modern man does not differ in essentials from that of the human beings who fought and loved here millions of years ago. The nature of man has remained hitherto practically unchanged. Under sufficient stress—starvation, terror, warlike passion, or even cold intellectual frenzy, the modern man we know so well will do the most terrible deeds, and his modern woman will back him up”


-Winston Churchill


Nutrition 101 you got what I need

Throw yall batman signs in the air, got another blog for ya hot like pop tarts. This one is just some quick thangs abt food, nutrition, some thangs to keep in mind on this fitness journey. Levers and kyphosis are coming up next so stay tuned yall!

What are Macronutrients?

  • a type of food (e.g., fat, protein, carbohydrate) required in large amounts in the human diet


Micronutrients- are the vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that are essential for good health.

Sprouted vs unsprouted grains

-Seeds sprout after a few days in a warm, moist setting. It usually takes 3 to 7 days, depending upon the conditions and kind of seeds being used.

-The sprouting process may make it easier for a body to absorb nutrients including iron, zinc, and vitamin C

Ezekiel bread is considered sprouted grain

Things to keep an eye on!!

What is Spirulina?

A filamentous cyanobacteria that form tangled masses in warm alkaline lakes in Africa and Central and South America.

  • 60% protein and an excellent source of vitamins A, K1, K2, B12 and iron, manganese and chromium.
  • A rich source of health-giving phytonutrients such as carotenoids, GLA, SOD and phycocyanin.
  • 2800% more beta-carotene than carrots.
  • 3900% more iron than spinach.

What are cruciferous greens?

Cruciferous or Brassica vegetables are so named because they come from plants in the family known to botanists as Cruciferae or alternately, Brassicaceae. Many commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables come from the Brassica genus, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, turnips, bok choy, and Chinese cabbage. Arugula, horse radish, radish, wasabi, and watercress are also cruciferous vegetables.

High intakes of cruciferous vegetables have been associated with lower risk of lung and colorectal cancer in some epidemiological studies, but there is evidence that genetic differences may influence the effect of cruciferous vegetables on human cancer risk

Animal vs Plant Protein

Foods that contain animal protein tend to be high in several nutrients that are often lacking in plant foods.

These include:


    • Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is mainly found in fish, meat, poultry and dairy products. Many people who avoid animal foods are deficient (3).


    • Vitamin D: Vitamin D is found in oily fish, eggs and dairy. Some plants contain it, but the type found in animal foods is better used by your body (4).


  • Heme-iron: Heme-iron is predominantly found in meat, especially red meat. It is much better absorbed in the body than non-heme iron from plant foods.


Zinc: Zinc is mainly found in animal protein sources, such as beef, pork and lamb. It is also more easily absorbed and used from animal protein sources

How do we define a Complete Protein??

A complete protein (or whole protein) is a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of humans or other animals.

Examples of complete protein



Dairy products (milk, yogurt, whey)




Hemp and chia seed*


Incomplete Protein Sources

Incomplete proteins are those that don’t contain all 9 essential amino acids, or don’t have sufficient quantities of them to meet the body’s needs, and must be supplemented with other proteins. These include:

Nuts & seeds




The Basics of Burning Fat

When something is thermogenic this means it tends to produce heat, and the term is commonly applied to foods that increases heat through metabolic stimulation.  Eating thermogenic food burns fat, literally.

When a food is thermogenic it heats the body and increases metabolism. This causes the body to burn more calories.

Fat is thermogenic. Nuts, avocado, fish ect…. Eating a thermogenic diet means to eat a diet based rich in thermogenic food (to eat healthy fat with each meal)

Breathing is extremely thermogenic. Breathing burns fat…


Brown Fat

There are 2 known types of fat within the human body.  Most of the adipose tissue (fat tissue) in the body is called white fat because it has a pale yellow white color. Brown fat is the healthy fat, which gets its name because the amount of vessels that run through it; giving it a brownish coloring. When brown adipose cells are stimulated by the nervous system, white fat breakdown increases substantially. In infants and young children, up to 5% of total bodyweight is comprised of brown fat. It is located in the front of our neck, under the shoulder blades, under the arms (protects heart), lower back, and lower abdominals. Brown fat protects us from extreme cold, heat, increases metabolic function, regulates body temperature and is activated in our fight or flight process. In short, activating brown fat makes you leaner, healthier and tougher.

We activate our brown fat through deep breathing techniques, diet, meditation, and cold exposure. Advantages include boost immune system function, increase energy levels, better focus, faster workout recovery, improved sleep quality, control over mood and alter mental state.

Cold exposure causes deep breathing and eventual relaxation at 66 degrees or lower, gaining us access to our  autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is a division of the peripheral nervous system that influences the function of internal organs. The autonomic nervous system is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions such as the heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, and sexual arousal. This system is the primary mechanism in control of the fight or flight response and the freeze-and-dissociate response.

Using various methods including some listed we tap into our response to stress as well as our athletic performance as they are very much one in the same. We can undo past traumas both mental and physiological, as well as gain flexibility, endurance, strength, and definition in the process. What a wonderful world we live in.

Background on whats to come!!

Aiight, its been a minute!! My goal in this post is to continue to get everyone to a high white belt/blue belt level of understanding of their body operates, and how to connect in/use it. Today I want to address the elephant in the room, or try to anyways. What the thing that gets in the way and stops us from moving and performing as we want? The problem is YOU. YOU get in your own way… Its a weird thought but most of the time its not a conscious effort, its one of your bodies unconscious systems at work(1), and your body is doing this in order to protect you (2). Think about this example for a min.. You are at a party and are in a full on convo, you put your hand on the stove top accidentally and pull your hand away, or you are ice skating and slip but thrown your hands out to correct your balance. These motions are called your Reflexes. These motions happen too quickly for your brain to process. They come from your spinal column. This is your fight or flight response, which is activated to varying degrees all day. It can be activated during activities like driving, watching movies, walking, talking, lifting, and exercising. You can update your bodies immediate reaction to stress and make it less rigid and more fluid (depending on variables, damage ect…)

Reflexes (your immediate response to stress) are categorized as either innate or aquired. Innate meaning these reflexes were created during development, or acquired meaning reflexes you have learned after development (sharpshooting, bowling ect…). Your innate reflex is processed in the spine (fast reflex), your acquired reflex is processed in the brain. We determine which pathway we use during exercise by our breathing technique (3).. Our body initially uses the same pathway for sensations of pain, vibration, touch, and temperature (4), and any abnormalities along the pathway can result in inaccurate or inappropriate sensations (phantom limb pain, or individuals feel pain in an uninjured part of the body when the pain originates from another location eg feeling a heart attack in your left arm). So how do we sort this information out in a conscious way and make it work for us? We update your fight or flight response and the bodies initial response to the stress by activation of different brain pathways during exercise using our breathing.

5 Major Brain Waves:

Delta – slowest (longest pause between bursts of electricity, 1 – 3.9 hz). A deep dreamless sleep

Theta – rem sleep, meditation, insight, processing of novel stimuli

Alpha –  brains basic resting state. calm, relaxed and lucid but not really thinking

Beta – 14 to 30 hz signifies learning and concentration at low end/ fear and stress at high end

Gamma – fast moving, binding phase. Different parts of the brain are combining thoughts into a single idea

These are good to keep in mind when considering a few things…

-The different brain waves produce different thought patterns, different ideas, different physical movements

-They produce different hormones and chemicals

-Your bodies stress response is the same regardless of the threat being physical or mental (thinking about a fight vs actually being in one)

-Your brain becomes grooved over time if we get too comfortable, and you can get stuck in a pattern of thought and motion (creating overuse and all thing like bad backs, necks, tendinitis ect..)



1 – Central Nervous System: the brain and spinal column (the control system)

Peripheral nervous system: nerves from the spinal cord to the lungs, heart, stomach , sex organs

2 – Negative Feedback Loop- a subconscious reflex response generally removes or opposes the original stimulus (pulling your hand away from a hot stove). Designed to bring a body back to homeostasis.

3 – Ujjayi Breath is a great place to start. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwEdfOuhoY4

4 – Spinothalamic Pathway: provides conscious sensations of pain, touch, pressure, and temperature

Next up… FAT!



The Proclamation

At Destination Fitness, we create a healthier human being and a better athlete by manipulating the bodies defense mechanism (fight or flight).

Central Nervous System = the Driver

Body = the Car

Training = getting a better driver for that car

The 3 aspects of Nervous System function that can be improved

How much information can be processed

How fast can information be processed

Connection speed that information is sent to and from the brain

Why do we want a faster or better Central Nervous System connection?

A quicker response time, faster reflexes.

Speed up/improve motor neuron response time (brain activity, similar to a muscle aka use it or lose it)

Regulation of body temperature/hormone production


How do we do this??

Get the body used to processing tension and anxiety in real time by using the stretch-shortening cycle, breathing techniques, and cold exposure. Loading adequate tension during the eccentric (preload phase) causes the body to store anxiety/tension to its maximum potential as it readies for the next plyometric phases. By using plyometric exercise coupled with breathing techniques we teach ourselves to overcome stress and push past athletic plateaus.

Plyometrics, proprioceptive, as well as CNS training work to create stability and coordination within the body, to absorb shock/impact correctly resulting in stronger joints, core, hands & feet.

Increasing brown fat is important for hormone regulation, body temperature regulation, white adipose regulation (decreasing body fat)


Longevity of movement– the ability to prolong activity with releasing tension from the body. Overuse is a specialists disease, variety of movement creates longevity.


Periodization is designed to maximize sports performance for competition, maximize specific fitness levels, plan recovery to avoid central fatigue.


General adaption syndrome- human body responded to forms of biological stress in a similar manner

Any time your body or mind gets into a stress situation heres the process:


1 Alarm stage:

Biological stress occurs, sympathetic nervous system is activated

Cortisol, norepinephrine, epinephrine (adrenaline) are released to provide instant energy


2 Resistance stage:

Source of stress is resolved, stress hormones levels return to normal and energy stores are depleted


3 Exhaustion stage:

Adaption to biological stress is completed

Adaption energy depleted

Known as maladaption


Phases of Plyometrics

Pre Load (eccentric) – Occurs when a muscle is lengthening. Eccentric muscle stores elastic tension for the next phase of movement

Amortization – The transition phase that takes place between the end of the eccentric phase and start of the concentric phase. Must be extremely short otherwise all elastic energy from the eccentric phase will be lost (no longer than 300 milliseconds)

Concentric – the take off phase where muscles forcefully contract to perform a desired motion.

Also known as “push-pull”





Feet and the Fundamentals of Movement

This blog is the second of a series called the fundamentals, which I will be adding to as the year progresses. These are designed to give the reader a better understanding of who they are, where they are in their fitness journey, and what is yet to come. Feet are tough, all 19 muscles, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 26 bones. That’s a lot to keep coordinated. With the average person taking up to 10,000 steps a day (the equivalent of circling the world four times in a lifetime), and the force of each step when you’re running is roughly four times your bodyweight (avg between 500 to 700 lbs of force), back injuries and pain are becoming very prevalent in society. One of the more important jobs of your feet is to provide proprioceptive feedback to the brain about where your body is in space and time. If your feet aren’t absorbing shock properly, the tension of each step will travel up the leg and into the hip and back or even worse the neck. Hip problems, knee problems, fallen arches, Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis and many other issues generally stem from feet not fully doing the job they are designed for.

To understand how to lift and move properly we have to first take a look at what happens on a cellular level. When muscle cells contract they pull on the attached tendon the way a line of people might pull a rope. Before movement takes place there must be a change of muscular tension on both sides of the joints to be moved. The effectiveness of this muscular teamwork is one of the factors which determine limits of speed, power, balance, agility, and accuracy in all movements.

During slow movements such as standing or sitting, lifting heavy objects, or executing a handstand, the muscles on both sides of the joints act strongly to fix the body in the desired position. When rapid motion takes place as in running, kicking, or throwing, the muscles closing the joints shorten and those on the opposite side lengthen to permit the movement. There is still tension on both sides, but on the lengthening side considerably less. A few things to keep in mind…