You made it to video #3, so today we’re going to talk about the missing pieces to optimizing your training.
For today’s video, I want to talk about inputs. In the previous 2 videos, we’ve talked about first of all, how Z-Health focuses on improving movement, better movement being the key to better function, regardless if you’re trying to get out of pain, improve how your body looks, performing better at sports, or preventing injury.
The second video, I talked about the simplified version of how the human nervous system works, because the nervous system is in charge of movement, so if we need to improve movement, we need to improve the nervous system. When I talked about the nervous system, I said, “Listen, it only does 3 things: it takes in input, it interprets what those inputs mean and decides what to do about it, and then creates an output.”
Now, in today’s video, I want to talk about inputs, because Z-Health practitioners, Z-Health coaches, are trained almost fanatically to become experts at input. Whenever we look at the eventual outputs, okay someone’s walked around and they have foot pain. Let’s say that that’s you.
The #1 reason that you’re seeing the therapist that you’re seeing is because you have foot pain, they call it plantar fasciitis or something else. I want to explore with you this whole idea that inputs can change everything and we have to look globally and not locally.
Whenever we start thinking about this, the easiest way to visualize how your body and brain work in your environment is to recognize that we’re moving through a world that has potential dangers in it. As I’m walking along, I have inputs coming into my eyes. My eyes are scanning the environment looking for cracks in the sidewalk that I might trip over, big dogs, animals that are loose, you know, cars swerving, bicyclists coming that might knock me in front of a bus, whatever. My eyes are constantly scanning looking for threats.
On top of that, I have a system called my inner ear, vestibular system, on each side. It’s very complicated, but basically the whole goal of that system is to tell me which way that I’m going and which way is up. That has to be very, very accurate in order to function well in any given environment, particularly if I’m having to make odd or different movements like I would in sports.
From there, I’m constantly aware of my breathing, my heart rate. All of that stuff is happening at a different level within the nervous system, and then I have also all the information or input coming in from all the joints of my body, the little nerve endings that surround the joints, the muscles, the tendons and ligaments. Now, it’s a vast array of information, but let’s take a look at how this might play out in relationship to foot pain, all right?
Someone, let’s say it’s you, and you came in complaining of kind of a classic plantar fasciitis, okay, plantar fasciitis, what people call a heal spur, or painful feet. Now, if you came to see a regular therapist, a doctor, there’s a lot of different things that they may do. They may inject you with steroids, they may mobilize your ankle, they may adjust your foot, they may tape your foot, they may give you orthotics, change the shoes that you wear, et cetera.
In many cases, that will help, but the question is, what do you do when it doesn’t help? From a Z-Health perspective, we have to expand our vision and go, let’s look at global input. Let me give you an example, and this is a test that you can do yourself.
If you want to, go ahead and stand up. This is best done without shoes on, but if you can stand without your shoes on, just stand normally, and notice the pressure or weight in your foot, all right? Notice where you’re carrying the weight. Then I want you to do something very simple. I want you to imagine that there’s something in front of you that you cannot see very well.
I want you to squint your eyes a little bit, and I want you to push your head forward just a little to try and see more clearly. Now, imagine that you were doing that, and I want you to pay attention to the weight distribution in your foot. What most people will figure out is when the eyes squint and the head comes forward, all of their body weight is directed forward a little bit. They start to get some more pressure in the toes, and the bottom of the foot becomes tighter.
Now, why I bring that up, that may sound a little bit weird, but can you imagine that someone out of the blue, they’re 40 years old, 45 years old, they started walking for exercise, or they started running, started going to the gym, and all of a sudden their feet started to hurt. At the same time, they start to recognize that, man it’s getting a little harder to see things up close.
When we think about things from an input perspective, can you visualize the possibility that a change in the visual input is causing a change in the posture? Change in the posture is causing a change in where weight is carried in the body, so if I move the head forward because of my eyes, now all of a sudden my toes are grabbing the ground a little bit harder. Now the 3000, 5000, 10000, 15000 steps I’m taking every day, the movement quality has been altered, and all of a sudden I’m getting a lot of localized tension building up around that plantar fascia, and the result is foot pain.
Now, that’s just one example of what could be hundreds of different input problems that could result in plantar fasciitis. The way that we view this, like I said, in Z-Health is we have a list. For our trainers, for our professionals, we go, guys here’s 8 different areas of the body where things can go wrong. From those 8 areas they can then extrapolate out and go, okay these are the different receptors that I may need to test.
The greatest part about using the Z-Health methodology is again, we don’t care about what tool you use. If you love kettelbells, if you love running, you love triathlons, doesn’t matter. What we’re really interested in are the input issues that may have developed over time that are limiting your ability to move well, because those input issues, when fixed, will take the brakes off your body, and help you more efficiently achieve the things that you’re looking to achieve.
I hope you enjoyed video #3. In video #4, we’re going to talk about assessing and reassessing, and how that is the key to knowing if what you’re doing really matters.