Here comes the second installment of ‘What has been working lately?’.
Let’s cut to the chase.
1.) RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion)
An extremely common question I get with exercising is, “What weights should I use?” This is a valid question for people, especially those new to training.
My answer to that question is to use an RPE scale. On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being ‘that was extremely heavy, I could not have done one more rep’, what did that set of the exercise feel like? I am generally looking for a 7-8 out of 10 for the given repetitions.
A little more context for that ‘7-8’ number…this also means you have about 2-3 more reps left in the tank. This means you could have done at the least 2 more QUALITY reps on that set.
(I picked up this little tip from my buddies in the Strength Faction . Check those guys out, they are doing awesome things over there)
Here is how you go about using the RPE scale:
Exercise: Barbell Deadlift
Reps to complete: 5
You incrementally load the bar trying to find a weight that gives you an RPE of 7-8/10 for the 5 reps.
Set 1: 135 x 5
After the set, ask yourself, “On a scale of 1-10, what did that feel like?”
Not a 7-8/10? Keep going.
Set 2: 185 x 5
Set 3: 225 x 5
Set 4: 255 x 5
Let’s say this gave you a feeling of 7-8/10 for those 5 reps. You have now answered your own questions of, “What weights should I use?”
Now that you have found this, do a few more training sets at this weight.
Using an RPE scale solves plenty of problems. It helps you find the correct weights to use for the given repetitions, helps you train with intent, and starts to get you strong! When you train with the correct weight, you will know, and this will prevent any unnecessary sets and reps that make you over do it in the gym. On the other side of that coin, it helps you stay away from weights that are too light that will not create the adaptation you are looking for. Technique stays solid during your sets and you stay away from injury.
Take this thought process to the gym with you and start seeing the benefits! This gives you an excellent place to start if you are training on your own.
Now on to the second thing that has been working lately. This is a pretty big topic change from exercising and is based on parenting. I have two young ones and have come across this helpful parenting tip.
2.) Controlling Emotions so you can help your child control theirs.
I came across a book titled ‘The Whole-Brain Child’ by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson a year ago or so.
This books helps you understand how the brain develops in a child and how the brain works with emotions, logic, and understanding.
I am sure we have all been in a situation where a child is having a meltdown over something. The kid has a meltdown and as a parent you start to get angry because the kid is not listening to you. You then start to have a meltdown by yelling at the child and now nobody is happy and everyone is stressed for the next hour or so. I have been here and done this.
I think part of the reason these things get so frustrating is that you do not know why they are acting like this and you do not know how to calm them down. This just resorts to yelling and not accomplishing anything except now everyone is in a terrible mood.
In the book, it explains that we have a right brain and left brain. The right side of the brain is responsible for emotions, while the left side is responsible for logic and reasoning. When a child is in meltdown mode, they cannot hear any of the logic you are shouting at them…no matter how loud. You have to control your emotions and speak to their right side first and then move to reasoning with the child.
In the book, they call this connect and redirect.
Some people may be thinking this is ‘soft parenting’ and that you should always lay down the law. There can be added pressure on you as a parent if other people are watching you and waiting to see how you handle it. The book addresses this sort of thing by saying,
“Whole brain parenting doesn’t mean letting yourself be manipulated or reinforcing bad behavior. On the contrary, by understanding how your child’s brain works, you can create cooperation much more quickly and often with far less drama.”
Using the connect and redirect method has been helpful in handling situations that could have gotten worse.
One situation where this worked, was when I was trying to get my oldest son (4 yrs old) to come with me because we had to leave. He said he did not want to leave and started to cry because he still wanted to go do ‘x’. I tried to reason with him right away and tried to tell him why we had to leave. Of course, in his emotional state, he did not care about that. Instead of getting frustrated and marching towards him to grab him and leave, I remembered the connect and redirect method.
Instead of throwing left brain logic at him, I connected with his emotional right side first. I asked him to come to me so we can talk about it. He came over, I sat down and placed him on my lap and had my hand on his back (this helps to create an environment to let him know we are on the same team). I asked him why he did not want to leave and if it was because he was having lots of fun. He said that this was the case and that he wanted to keep having fun. He started to calm down and I was then able to connect left brain to my left brain with logic/reasoning. I agreed with him that it is fun, but we could always come back and do it again. He agreed with that, stopped crying, and we were on our way.
It’s a very simple scenario, but one that could have had a different ending. I controlled my emotions and connected with him by speaking to him in right brain language before speaking in left brain language. We both got on the same page and the problem was solved. The beauty of it was that it only took a couple minutes to do this.
Now that we are aware of what goes on during these situations, my wife and I are able to use this method to help turn many situations around for us. Parenting is always a work in progress and by no means are we perfect. This just helps us get on a better path when certain things arise.
The book goes over this method in more detail along with other strategies to nurture your child’s developing mind.
You can find this book on Amazon here: The Whole Brain Child
I hope y’all enjoyed that one and got some good takeaways!