Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Esquire, the Shifter Team, 3 Solids

For those of you that follow this blog, you are likely my friend or a fan of Dunk? on Facebook (and if you are not you can follow me on Twitter at cspann85, but friend me, all the cool kids are doing it). It should have come as no surprise that my article appeared in Esquire about the genesis of the Dunk? I talked about it enough. Esquire is an established and contemporary publication and working with their editorial team was humbling, exciting, and exhausting at the same time. I received my BA in English Literature from University of San Diego and my MFA from Falmouth College in Cornwall, United Kingdom, so actually writing something and having it published in a non-student run publication is as good as it gets. What started out as a 2,000 word saga of redemption and retribution was transformed into a chiseled 700 word clear cut message. Essentially what was once a bloated, over thought and stagnant existence would become a trimmer and better version of myself. You’ve heard all of this before. Esquire legitimizes what we are doing with Dunk?. My hope is that Esquire readers need to read installment after installment. If you haven’t had the chance, you can read it here Esquire Piece.

There has been one major change to the production and what I hinted at in the last blog. I am now and will be until the end of the documentary, trained by the entire Shifter Team (Bernie Darcy and Jase Graber). I can’t thank Heather Lehman enough for getting me started, and if the truth be told I didn’t give her a 100%. I am sure if Heather heard me say that she would say something like “I didn’t give myself a 100%”. However, if I lament on the past anymore my editor (Mom) will quit so onward we go.

The Shifter Team is training me for free and the training is much more than the actual Shifter machine. Here are some words from Bernie Darcy about what my training entails. “The basic outline is: Lots of rock climbing and some hiking uphill. Basically we're utilizing the SAID (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand) principle to get your body to adapt to you constantly raising your center of gravity (COG) above the ground. The more strenuous the activity used to raise the COG the faster your body increases your strength to weight ratio (and overall lightness) while you're getting a great dynamic functional workout.

Rock climbing will be the launching pad to getting you into a full functional training program designed to prevent injury while setting your body up with a strong foundation to help you train to jump. This program will put highest priority on balance, symmetry, stabilizing all joints, increasing accuracy, and heightening reflexes. The next priority level will be passive range of motion followed by active range of motion while continuing to build on the other priorities I listed above. After building that strong foundation we can start working on power (this is where plyometrics come into play).

At this point your body should be setup to perform very athletic movements with a minimal injury risk. This is where Jase and I will take our knowledge of jumping technique and coach you through the timing and strategy of a quick/powerful jump.

As far as a timeline, it all depends on how well you progress through the stages. Just like you're finding in the Shifter training, each level of progression is dependent on achieving the previous level. I'm very happy with the rate of your progression at this point, but each one of the progressions has the potential to expose dis-functions in your body. When we run across those it can take some extra time to get rid of it and move on to the next thing. You're really close to finishing the Shifter progressions so now your job is to climb your ass off. As you get better at climbing and the weight starts dropping, we'll be getting further into the functional training program.”
You can see Jase demonstrating the Shifter Jase Shifting

Let me translate. I will be hiking, rock climbing, and dieting. For the past three weeks I have worked out a total of 18 days out of 21. Since I started Shifting, climbing and hiking I am down 8 pounds to 248. I plateaued at 238 last June and I need to get to 185-190ish in order to dunk. Diet is my Achilles Heal, but Jase assures me the more I get my weight off the ground the less I will feel like eating. God, I hope he’s right.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Shifter

Raise your hand if the first thing you think of when you read the title was an adult toy? (Authors note: my editor put in adult toy, I originally had “sex toy”, my editor is my mom aka THE JANE, you can see the dilemma) If you raised your hand you are not alone. All of my friends and family members have asked the same question in a variety of different ways: “the shifter, what is that? Some kind of adult toy?” www.theshifter.com , is not an adult toy as far as I can tell, unless you are into being punished, wait a minute, what kind of audience am I looking for?

The Shifter was invented by Jase Graber, a former collegiate athlete and certified trainer through National Academy of Sports Medicine. The Shifter is a machine that essentially trains athletes how to not sprain their ankles. There is no way I can explain the machine the way Jase and Bernie Darcy (Head Trainer for The Shifter) can, so I suggest you visit the website linked above and read about the studies done at Colorado State University and Arizona State University.

This isn’t my first experience with the Shifter however. Back in 2005, when I graduated from grad school, I wanted to become a sports writer for my day job as I worked on novels and screen plays at night (anyone seen that first novel by the way?). The most important lesson I took from grad school was that if you have a story that no one else has, grab it, write it, and run with it. Someone will eventually want to publish it. And, that is what I tried to do with the “Shifter” piece which got wait listed by the staff at The Republic. Well, life sometimes gets in the way and instead of pursuing a career as a writer (and never trying to re-submit the Shifter piece) I took a job with a start up called Doclopedia and five years later I am still working in health care. Please feel free to read what I wrote about the Shifter back in the day The Shifter

So, all of this being said, you know my story (if you read the blog and thank you if you do) I got married, got extremely out of shape and fat (honestly well on the way to be uber fat before that but what evvs), had some babies, started a documentary, had another baby, couldn’t afford to work out at the gym anymore, so I racked my brain for ideas to work out at home and to not quit documentary, and I thought of Bernie and the Shifter. Then I wrote the longest sentence possible.

I am four hour long sessions into the Shifter training, and it is beyond hard. I will put up some video with the next blog, but imagine continually shifting your weight back and forth, while using your entire core to keep your balance. Your brain is telling your body to go one way and you are telling your body to go the opposite way. Sounds confusing, right, it is.

This machine, if it does what Bernie and Jase claim it will do, will train me to never sprain my ankle again. I always seem to sprain my ankles, so the idea of this is amazing. Time will tell. Dunk continues, and next week we will have our biggest announcement yet, and it’s definitely not another pregnancy .

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I know I keep talking about the importance of engaging my audience and keeping them informed with my struggles to get back above the rim. It seems that every time I think I have a spare moment to write or video log, I end up doing something else, like eating a bean and cheese burro from America's Taco Shop, or taking a nap, or watching the "Social Network", which was phenomenal by the way (although the best movie I have seen in a long time is "The Town" but even then it might be because of my man crush on Affleck). I need to be writing more, and I need to be eating less. For the most part, I have been abiding by these rules, sometimes I slip, sometimes a hot woman (hi Mandy) visits from Oklahoma and you end up eating chips and queso. I am in the same spot, more or less, I was a year ago, physically and athletic wise. I am here and I think I am ready to try again.

Let me preface this last statement with a story about my friend Mike and I during our freshman summer of high school. That year we were members of the freshman basketball team who went undefeated (which at the time was the first team to do so at BCP). Mike was our starting power forward and I was a combo 1-2 guard who came off the bench. The season was a blast, and I worked harder than I ever had before, so when summer came around my dad and I built some homemade plyometric boxes to help improve my vertical leap. Mike and I painted a "PT" on each box, which stood for Psycho Training, and each day in the hot Arizona summer we were going to sweat it out towards greatness. Well, that lasted a week and I never made it to the Varsity team. Although, I did get a technical for dunking in warm ups the following year on the JV (which by the by is the premise for this little journey).

That summer I killed myself for about a week, maybe 10 days, and then I resumed a life of Nintendo, pizza, chasing girls, and being a lazy teenager. The reason I bring this up is because of how it correlates to me being a dad. I am in the early stages of being a father. I had a decent freshman year, and as I started my sophomore season with Henry I began to cruise. Cruising isn't going to cut it, and although I have a team mate I can rely on or who will even let me coast, it just wouldn't be fair to let her carry the load.

You see there is not a day that goes by where I don't regret choices I made in the name of laziness during high school and college. I will never know what could have been, but I am able to control what I will be. So check me out, keep me honest, keep me focused, and let's see what I can do today and tomorrow because yesterday is over. The real journey begins with this post, and I will try my hardest to get you every single detail of what Abby, Kohen, Chloe, Henry and I go through.

Charlie dunks on 12-18-2011, my 33rd birthday.