Sunday, May 19, 2013


                                                          There is nothing like having an empty subway car after a long day of  work on your way to the gym. It is virtually impossible. Somehow all the stars have aligned. You are sitting in the car alone, already dressed for the gym and excited to start the only hour of the day that is completely dedicated to you. Your workout hour. Should you take advantage of the extra space on the train and reward yourself with a self indulgent pre-workout stretch? The answer to this question has changed several times in my lifetime. 

I can recall my third grade gym teacher blaring music from his heyday as we stretched to the grooves of the 60's during the fist few minutes of gym class. We could not wait until the stretch was over. The groovy sound was replaced by the wails of the less athletic being preyed upon during dodgeball. That was it. We did nothing before we stretched. This had changed by the time I was a serious high school athlete. We would start with a running warm up, followed by a few minutes of passive static stretching(moving a muscle passed its normal range of motion while something holds it there for a period of time). Then we would go into our workout. I held this theoretical, scientific practice as a routine before every athletic activity through my college career. I cut the pre workout stretching when I was no longer on a team; partly due to time constraints and pure laziness. To my surprise, I noticed that I seemed to perform better when I didn't stretch before intense athletic activity. In true Terrence fashion, my affinity to finding the shortcut allowed me to unwittingly stumble upon facts of biomechanics.

Passive static stretching in preparation for athletic activity can be counterproductive for healthy individuals. Many studies like this in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, have come to this conclusion. When you stretch a muscle passed its active range of motion and hold it for a period of time, the muscle stretched is rendered weaker for a period of time after the stretch. That euphoric feeling you get may be your brain's way of telling you that you need to chill out while it takes care of what is going on in the stretched muscle; Much like the feeling you get after a big meal when your body needs to digest. Asking your body to work under these conditions can lead to decreased performance and makes you more susceptible to injury.

Furthermore, your muscles are tight for a reason and you don't have a clue what it can be. It is usually a protection mechanism. The tight muscle is working overtime because something else isn't doing its job. Stretching that muscle before exercise is akin to kicking a cane away from an elderly person and telling them to run. That's just cruel and stupid. If you have a muscle or group of muscles that are chronically tight, it's best that you allow it to rest from the aggravating activity. You may also want to start a strength training program that promotes balanced muscle health. Speaking to a doctor first is paramount.

What's my workout prep?
Although there is something to be said for jogging on the tread or doing something else that gets the juices flowing, it may not be what you need if you are just going to lift weights. Warm-ups should be exercise specific. If you are going to squat heavy, your warmup should be squats with lighter weight and more time under tension. If you are going to run, your warm up should be a jog, etc...

Is static stretching ever beneficial?
Yes it is but that is a topic for another ride. If that train takes too long to come, you can ask a question here, like me on facebook T is for TRAIN or hit me on twitter @TIs4TRAIN .

TrainSMART, Train4LIFE, TrainOrDIE!

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Train Keeps Chugging...

I   just walked through the sliding doors of the fourth decade of my life. Now that I'm 31, I have three full train cars behind me and two of them were jammed with all types of joint killing athletic activity. However, as I sit in the first seat of this car, I stare at the possibility of another decade with pain free joints.

I know what you're thinking. At age 31 there is no way that you have that much mileage on your joints. On the contrary, with a decade of competing as a sprinter on the highest level, my joints(which only break down with use) can be light years older than the rest of my body with improper training... This is when you stop looking out the window and take off your headphones. I'll try to keep this short so you can have something to think about until the next stop. If you have more questions, hit me on twitter @tis4train, facebook Terrence M. Walcott or post it on this blog.

Your body is a moving machine with many moving parts. Any place where movement occurs is subject to wear and tear. ANY MOVEMENT! That means you can be breaking down joints every time you get out of a chair. Imagine what happens every time you run, spin or jump. Unlike muscles that can grow stronger with challenge, your joints NEVER get stronger.

We all have physical activities that we love doing and want to do for the rest of our lives. It's usually something we think we can do relatively well. Whether it's dancing, running, spinning, yoga, TRX or power lifting and many more, they all have their price. Their price is one day you won't be able to enjoy them.

The concept of less is more is what saved my joint life in my mid-twenties(car number three if you are counting). As stated in my second blog "You Can't Outrun A Train", you must consider what you are really getting out of over doing these activities. It is usually more of a mental satiation than it is physical benefit. There are only two options to increase the chances of healthier joints for longer use over the decades. You can find less destructive ways to clear your mind and stop doing what you love entirely: or you can train smart! Periodize your program. Make sure you are strength training to support the integrity of your joints. Turn long runs into intervals and take the inertia out of those power lifting sets for a while. Don't workout for now, Train4LIFE, TrainOrDIE!!!

Monday, April 1, 2013



Consider this when you are on that proverbial calorie counting clock. Ticking away with every stride on the treadmill, every revolution of a pedal, or, more importantly during the commercial breaks of the show you choose to watch during your cardio session. The amount of calories you burn during one hour of steady state cardio(jogging, walking etc at a steady pace) can easily be consumed with one glass of juice. If calorie burn is the battle you choose to fight, you chose a losing battle. Unless you plan to fight for eight hours a day and eat bird food for the rest of your life, you need a more efficient system. The goal of your training program shouldn't be chasing sensations or a perceived workout. ie: Calorie burn or sweating. If you think that breaking a sweat is an indicator of great training, I challenge you to sit in the hot sun fully clothed without moving a muscle for one hour and see how wet you are. The goal of any program for an individual with limited time to workout(anyone who doesn't get paid to workout) should be to promote adaptations in the body that makes the bodies metabolic system function more efficiently when the body IS NOT WORKING OUT(or the other 23 hours of your day!!!). The best way to do this is with strength training and interval training. If you only have two to three hours a week to train, you can throw out those 45 minute joint killers you call cardio. Joint killers?? That's a topic for another ride...


Sunday, March 24, 2013


Welcome aboard.
Have a seat, relax and expand your mind. This isn't your ordinary fitness blog. I will not inundate you with random workouts and impersonal nutrition tips. It is deeper than that. This blog is about training. Training as a metaphor for life. I will speak about concepts that challenge the beliefs of the commercial fitness industry and I may challenge beliefs you have about life in general. Don't be afraid to stand and speak or just look out the window and take in the scenery. Prepare for the unexpected. There are no tangential topics in training as long as the ideas are formulated through logical progressions. I will keep us on track. Let's talk about training and everything that can mean. Training is life, train smart, TrainOrDIE!

T is for TRAIN