First things first:
I got my first jab of the AZ vaccine early this afternoon. Huzzah. If I had been offered Pfizer or Moderna, I would have taken them. But—as a wise person’s ex-husband once said, “Money is better than no money.” As a corollary, lowered risk is better than non-lowered risk. I’ve done the math and this checks out.
My real fear is long-term neurological or physiological side-effects. So, this isn’t just about the odds of me dying from coronavirus, which are quite low. This is about not dealing with collateral damage to my organs or nervous system. Or yours. Let’s keep our livers, brains, and pancreata fresh and gleaming.
Every rose has its thorn
Negativity bias has ostensibly kept our species going for all this time. We remember the poisonous berries that almost killed us more than the tasty ones. The misery of getting zapped by a stingray more than the joy of frolicking in the open ocean. This makes sense. Until it doesn’t. I know that I’ve written about this a lot; it’s top of mind again because of the AZ vaccine controversy.
We don’t do our best thinking when we’re freaked out
So, how do we come back to thinking cool, clear thoughts?
Exercise to the rescue
As you know, we’ve been promoting short-format exercise for quite a while. So, rather than try to grind it out like Gilgamesh, we’re looking at 5-20 minute short exercise stories. Haikus if necessary. So… How can you possibly make five minutes effective? By eliminating the biggest exercise time-sucks.
I’ve tried approaching the value of small things in about 100 different ways over the years. Maybe I’ll just say this tonight: If someone tries to hand you a nickel, you would never say, “No, no. This will never do. You see, I’m saving up for a dollar!” We don’t say no to big things when we do small things. That’s not how it works. The only thing we say no to is… nothing.
Downtime during your workouts
Theoretically, you need complete rest to attain full muscular activation. Practically, life is too short. So, here’s a modification that can completely change your workout experience:
A Tiny Habit for minimizing downtime
When I notice that I need to rest, I will choose an exercise variation that allows me to recover while I’m in motion. So, you could theoretically rest from heavy squats by doing very light squats. If that feels too cruel, you could switch it up to any kind of pressing variation that allows you to smoothly continue.
Instead of delivering targeted stresses to your muscles, brain, or cardiovascular system, you apply a disproportionate amount into passive structures—like that finicky bit of cartilage in your left knee. This can come about because we’ve thrown more load than we can handle at ourselves. Or perhaps because we just haven’t set ourselves up in the right positions.
A Tiny Habit to manage distribution in your legs during lower-body exercises
After I take note of the weight distribution in my feet, I will move slowly and smoothly enough to ensure that it doesn’t change. This humble modification is absolutely devastating to most people. Their quads, anyway. Heavy weights are not required.
One of the biggest issues that hardaholics experience is a lack of movement variability. When you need to survive an exercise, you will work according to your most dominant patterns. There is nothing wrong with this in a pinch. However, if it’s your only movement experience, you won’t develop your options—or your other muscles. When options go down, risk goes up.
A tiny habit to avoid repetitive load
After I notice that I’m rushing (or otherwise gritting my teeth) through an exercise, I will slow down and explore at least one subtle change to my technique.
Most of the time, you need to make things easier for a bit before you can ramp them back up again to their true potential.
Take care of yourself. And just say the word if you’d like us to help take care of you too.