Yesterday, I had the immense pleasure and honor to spend 75 minutes stretching with the amazing Pavel Tsatsouline.
I was starting to feel a little tight, my sympathetic system going into overload. Training hard, though never to failure, training smart and marking milestones with bad-ass races or other PR goals achieved succesfully are especially gratifying when you achieve them when you’re not 100%. Who is ever at 100% anyway, right?
The Warrior Diet provided me with tremendous energy and stimulation of the autonomous nervous system and the fight or flight syndrome kicked hormones into full gear to my advantage. But one must come down from that cloud, especially when you lack sleep consistently (cue feeding cries/requests from our beautiful baby boy…).
I had the mobility, the range of motion, but somehow, my muscles felt hard, too hard, always ready. Some people like that look, but yeah, that’s not so good for you ultimately. Enter Pavel and a conversation we had over coffee and he offered for us to meet to address these issues.
So yesterday, we met in the “secret” studio at Gold’s Gym Venice and off we go into stretching land.
OMFG!!! I understood SOO much better some of what I read in his books, and going in-depth into the stretching process, I was able to do things I haven’t done in aeons, like practically fold myself in half, increase my splits and lengthen my spine, calves, hammies by measurable inches!! I felt elated afterwards. Call me sick, but it’s like that feeling you get after some bedroom activities: rested but tired, worked out but energized. There was a definite release and management of my hormones that was much needed. I was sleepy for the rest of the day, and that alone eliminated extra toxins that a clean diet, an infra-red sauna session and a massage (that felt more like a punishment, btw) combined couldn’t release!
What I understood (I knew it, and like anyone, didn’t always apply it):
-Wait out the tension. It may not feel good as you do it, but picture the cross-bridging and the fibers slowly moving and lengthening. Soon enough the pain goes away. Breathe passively, let go and find yourself going deeper into the stretch.
-Settle into the stretch: wiggle your butt, legs, torso, rolling a bit. It buys you a few millimeters and actually loosens you up.
-Visualize pulling your limbs out of their sockets, lengthen your spine “up and over” (your knees for instance), pull your head from its crown.
-Breathe: into the tight area, and exhale out of that area. Seriously! Try it. Sounds weird but works!
-Zip up your muscles, tense them up, hold till it shakes a bit and passively release.
-Do not confuse range of motion with flexibility. They are 2 separate things, even if they work great together!
And the last thing I understood, endorse, practice and wholeheartedly recommend:
-Get a coach!
I am a coach, spend thousands of hours and dollars to learn, apply and pass on what I know and STILL continue to learn and get coached! Why? Because you are not always the best judge of your own abilities and we ALL need accountability! Be humble, save up and hire a coach. If you can’t quite afford, it’s even MORE of a reason because you KNOW you will make sure you apply what you invest. Everything you want is outside of your comfort zone. EVERYTHING!