All posts tagged: sports chiropractor

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – February 17th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant.  I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.  

Something I believe.  My wife sent me a link to a story about a young baby that survived for nearly 130 hours among the rubble of a destroyed building after the earthquake in Turkey.  Obviously, I was amazed at such a miraculous story, but I had another thought.  That same will an infant with no ability to care for itself has to stay alive in a dire situation, we all possess. 

I do not believe the strength of your will is genetic.  Rather, it can grow or diminish.  Regularly challenging yourself both mentally and physically will create growth in your will because it leads to greater confidence and resiliency.  Simply put, you will know that you can achieve great things even under difficult circumstances.  On the other hand, avoiding challenges, hiding from problems, bad thoughts, negative people, and giving up when things get tough will all quickly decrease your will.  If a baby can keep itself alive on will alone, imagine how far you can go with yours.

A lesson I want you to have.  Since the race, I have had so many patients and friends ask me about my experience.  Most commonly, they want to know how I was able to finish nearly 80 of the 100 total miles of the race while being in pain/hurt from a series of ankle injuries.  They want to know what motivation I used, and they expect the answer to be complicated.  The reality is that it was quite simple. 

I made the decision to not quit under any circumstances.  By making that commitment to myself, I was able to hyper-focus all my energy on continuing forward and wasted no time feeling sorry for myself, making excuses, being embarrassed about my time, or anything else.  I didn’t concern myself with potential outcomes.   Merely putting one foot in front of the other until I finished or was dragged away was all I cared about.  One of my favorite quotes is “If you want to take the island, burn the boats.”  In my race I burned the boats and if there is a goal you want more than anything, you should too.

Something I tried and loved.  On Saturday, one of my wife’s clients invited us to try a session of infrared sauna at her business in Cherry Creek.  I had never done this type of therapy before but really enjoyed it.  Being only a week out of a major race (and six months of intense training) I could feel that my body was inflamed, and my joints were stiff.  After the treatment, I could feel immediate improvements in mobility and noticed that some of the swelling around my ankles had subsided.  I found the treatment to be highly effective and enjoyable.  It felt like I was lying on a warm beach and that was just what I needed.

Something I believe.  Have you ever noticed how you feel after a day of doing nothing but wasting time, scrolling your phone, watching television, and being lazy?  It’s likely that you feel a form of anxiety that comes from a lack of productivity.  Conversely, on the days where you are accomplishing things in your personal or business life and moving your body at least a little bit, you probably feel a sense of accomplishment. 

Being productive is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself each day.  Achieving physical, mental, nutritional, spiritual, and other goals will provide you many gifts.  Specifically, I find those to be high energy, better sleep, less stress, long term achievement, better relationships, and more.  Ask yourself before each day what you want to/must accomplish and then start making those things happen.  Do that daily and you can change your life!

Some quotes I love.

“Whatever you do, don’t let the evil that’s inside of others kill the love that’s inside of you.”

“Your children will be predisposed to becoming who you are.  Get busy becoming who you want them to be.” – Matt Beaudreau

“I survived too many storms to be bothered by raindrops.”

“If you don’t heal what hurt you, you’ll bleed on people who didn’t cut you.”

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – February 17th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – February 10th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant.  I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.  

Something I was proud of.  Over the past weekend, I ran the 100-mile race I had trained since July for.  Twenty-four miles in, I sustained the first of 7 ankle injuries that would severely slow me down.  I trained to run far and with relative speed, but bad breaks impacted that.  By mile sixty, my body had swollen and over-compensated so badly that running became impossible and all I could do was walk/hike.  This was disappointing after all I’d invested in this race. 

What made me proud was that I never complained or considered quitting, stayed positive, encouraged every runner I encountered on the course, and thanked every volunteer each time I saw them.  Our behavior in the worst conditions tells us who we are.  I was proud I remained the person I always strive to be even when things were tough.    

Something inspiring during the race.  During my final, 20-mile lap I encountered someone amazing.  He was an older gentleman, about 80 years old.  He was clinging to two hiking poles with the most awkward gait you can imagine.  Think of an older guy trying to travel 100-miles on crutches and you’ll have an idea of what he looked like. 

His resolve inspired me the instant I saw him.  He was determined and moving with all he could muster.  As I and other runners passed him, we all called him “sir” because of the respect we had for him.  He spoke no words, just kept working and going forward.  As bad as I looked and felt at that point, that guy had it much tougher.  In a world that loves excuses, I know for certain that man made none.  If I am even a fraction as tough as that guy, I’m doing something right.

Something I believe.  I became aware somewhere around mile 40 that my “race” had ceased to be athletic event.  Anything that could go wrong had, and what started as a race had become a journey and test of will. 

Those misfortunes caused me to go to places I had never been before. The intense pain I experienced worsened with every step and yet it gave me focus.  I was given an opportunity to find out who I was deep down, and liked what I found.  My goal was to honor two people I love, respect, and miss greatly; and then I got the opportunity to do so in a way I’d never imagined.  Rather than getting the race I wanted or expected, I got the transformational experience I needed to heal. 

Something amazing.  From about 1/10 of mile before the finish line to about five minutes after I crossed will forever be one of my cherished memories.  I remember selecting my long elusive belt buckle that I’d hoped to earn in two previous one-hundred-mile attempts (the buckles are given to finishers of 100 milers).  I could have gone anywhere and purchased a fancier belt buckle but holding that one in my hand was special and surreal.

After getting the buckle, I walked back to where I’d left my things.  The hundreds of people, tents, and  gear that were there before and during the race were long gone.  All that remained was my bag next to a picnic table.  I sat down, wept, and spoke aloud to the pictures I carried during the race of my sister and brother-in-law.  Though I don’t recall every word, I remember telling them I hoped they were proud of me, that I’d given all I had to honor them, and that it was an amazing journey we’d gone through together.  Since I signed up for the race in July, I envisioned the end thousands of times.  None of those visions involved me crying alone at a picnic table holding crumbled and sweaty photos, yet it was more perfect than anything I ever imagined. 

Some quotes I love.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Everyone is broken by life, but some people are stronger in the broken places.” – Ernest Hemingway

“In the warrior’s code, there’s no surrender.” – Survivor, Burning Heart

“It’ll be too late to prepare for your moment when it arrives.” – Dr. Josh Handt

“I don’t hide my scars.  They are proof I showed up for life and fought.”

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – February 10th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – February 3rd

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant.  I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.  

Note:  This Saturday I will be running my 100-mile race, the Rocky Raccoon 100.  As a result, this 5 Spot deals with thoughts and experiences I’ve had in the build up to the race.

Something cool.  Last week I went for a short 4-mile run in the morning.  About a mile in, I noticed a coyote about 15 feet away.  I ran toward him and assumed he would just run away, but he did not.  He ran next to me (about twenty feet away) for nearly 2 miles. A couple times I thought I’d lost him but I would come around a corner and he’d be standing there almost waiting for me to catch up.  As odd as it may sound, as we ran near one another I felt as though it were some sort of a sign. 

I posted a picture of the coyote on my Facebook page and had a handful of people send me links to information on the coyote as a spirit animal, which after reading, made me think even more that it was a sign.  The information they sent said “The coyote represents survival, adaptability, tenacity, and cleverness.  If you feel down or like you’re over your head, the coyote spirit can show you how to get back on your feet.  Coyote energy is all about tapping into who you really are.”  I am no expert on these matters, but I can tell you that run felt special and somehow gave me greater confidence going into my race. 

Something I’ve been thinking back on.  There are a group of players that I have coached in football since age 7 that are now young teenagers.   We have always had good teams but could never seem to get over the hump and win the championship.  Last year over the last few weeks of the season I began telling them “It’s our time boys.”  Repeatedly I would remind them of this to try and get them to forget some of our difficult defeats of the past and stay focused on the present.  I wanted them to understand they were worthy and deserving of success.  In the end, it was our time, and we won our first title.

This has meaning to me now as I attempt my third 100-mile race.  I failed in two previous attempts at this distance (I missed time cutoffs at mile 50 and mile 90 respectively).  Those ghosts are always circling when I think about finally finishing a race of this magnitude.  To deal with that, I began talking to myself like I did my team.  Rather than worry about the past, I just remind myself how prepared I am in the present and that “it’s my time.”  There are no guarantees, but this mindset can only lead to better outcomes.

Something that will motivate me this weekend.  In July 2021, I ran a local race that went from 7pm to 7am on a Friday night and consisted of repeating, 11-mile loops over difficult terrain.  My sister was training for her first marathon at that time, happened to be in town visiting, and decided to run with me.  She completed two loops totaling twenty-two miles and was so thrilled because she had never run that far before!  After she finished her two laps, I was having stomach issues, so I stopped and rested with her in our tent.  She assumed my race was done, so when I got up to leave, I remember her commenting on my toughness and her saying how much she admired me which was nice.

Five to six hours later as I was near the end of the race, I came around a corner maybe a half mile from the finish line and my sister was there smiling and waiting for me.  She said “Matty, you are amazing.  You’re my hero.”  My sister went back to Texas the next day with her family and as it turned out, it was the last time I would see her alive.  When I race this weekend, I will picture my sister being up around the next bend like she was on that day.  I can cover a lot of miles from that one memory alone. 

Why would you want to run 100-miles?  One day in July, I awoke with so much grief that I felt like someone had stood on my chest all night.  I was struggling to deal with sudden losses of my brother-in-law (and great friend) in 2020 and my baby sister less than two years later in May 2022.  Too many people rely on me for me to just shut down and quit on life, but I was hurting.  Somehow, I stumbled across a race that fell on my brother in laws birthday and was in Texas where my sister lived.  I signed up because instinctively I felt it would help me heal, though I was unsure how. 

Six months later, I can tell you that the journey that brought me to this race was my ultimate destination.  I enjoyed every second of my training, regardless of how tough it was.  Through countless tears and thoughts for these special people, I began to repair some of the parts of me that were broken. 

My mantra from day one was “For Sam.  For Sarah.  Forever.”  That mantra is why I’m running these 100-miles, and why I ran over one thousand to get here.  This race is for Sam Clark, a great man and friend I miss daily.  It’s for Sarah Kenney, my sister who was always there for me even at my worst and achieved amazing things most only dream of.  And it’s forever, because this time between the three of us will be mine to cherish forever. 

Some quotes I love.

“My momma used to say, ‘you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on’, and I think that’s what my running was all about.” – Forrest Gump

“And it feels right this time, on his crash course with the big time.” – Metallica, No Leaf Clover

“Every great champion, has one great fight left in him.” – Larry Merchant

“All you have is your fire, and the place you need to reach.” – Hozier, Arsonist’s Lullaby

“I gotta go out the way I gotta go out.” – Rock Balboa

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – February 3rd
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – January 27th

On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant.  I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.  

Something I strive for.  When I was a teenager, I remember watching a special about a team that won an NCAA title in basketball.  Their semi-final game required one of their players to hit two free throws (while down one point with seconds left) to win it.  What stuck with me was an interview with the head coach.  As the player lined up for those free throws, the coach recalled saying to his assistant “he may miss, but he won’t choke.”  The implication being that he was so experienced that the pressure wouldn’t get to him and prevent him from performing to his normal level.  That line has stuck with me, and I find it significant. 

Results are never guaranteed.  There are bad bounces, unforeseen circumstances, and other issues that can affect them.  What we can control is our approach and process.  Giving a maximum effort and being committed to improving every time you attempt something is crucial.  Done enough, it makes high level performance more easily reproduceable.  Then, when a stressful or challenging situation arises, you will fall back to that high level of training and perform as best you can.

An interesting business conversation I had.  I spoke to a friend and fellow business owner this week.  He asked me what I do to “convince patients to stay with me.”  My response was “nothing.”  This confused him but I explained that I want volunteers in my practice, not hostages.  Anyone who chooses to visit my office should be there only because it is their decision, not because I was able to scare or convince them to be.

Therefore, my “tactics” are simple.  I am honest with my patients, give my best effort and expertise each visit, and never pressure them to make any decision for my benefit.  This allows me to operate an extremely low stress business, deal primarily with great people, and sleep well knowing I’ll bever violate my principles or ethics.  My friend asked if this method was effective for me, and I told him it was.  Most of my patients continue to seek ongoing care (at a frequency of their choosing) and I am blessed to receive many referrals from them.  Give me volunteers over hostages any day!

Something I think of often.  There is a scene in “The Empire Strikes Back” where Yoda is training Luke and prompts him to go into an ominous looking cave.  Luke senses that it is a dark, challenging place and insists on bringing his weapons with him even though he is told he will not need them.  He asks Yoda what is in the cave, and he replies, “only what you take with you.”

We bring who and what we are to everything we do.  Positive or negative, high or low energy, hard working or lazy; these are all examples.  When we are achieving positive outcomes in our lives and our relationships are healthy, we are usually taking the right things with us.  Conversely, when results are poor, relationships are constantly in strife, and we are regularly blaming others/circumstances for our shortcomings; we are not.  As the saying goes, “wherever you go, there you are.”  Make sure you are creating the best version of yourself because that version travels best into any endeavor.

A recent interaction.  I was asked by an organization I respect to be a volunteer last fall.  I was happy to help and agreed.  The person in charge asked me for my information and I provided it immediately.  I was told I would hear back in two days and though that turned into two months, I let it slide.  Then I was asked to fill out a background check and did so.  That was supposed to lead to a meeting five days later but stretched into two months before I finally heard back.  I wasn’t thrilled, but was still willing to help, and we set a face-to-face meeting for last weekend.  When I arrived to the meeting (on time), I was asked by the person I’d been dealing with if I could wait another 15-20 minutes.  I said “no” to his face and let him know I was no longer interested in volunteering my skills to help them.

It can be a good thing to exercise patience and give people the benefit of the doubt.    However, actions tell the tale.  Though I respect the overall organization, the person I dealt with showed no value for my time, was lazy, and disorganized.  Proceeding in a situation like that would only have made me bitter, so I decided against it.  Selecting where you give your time and what behavior you are willing to accept is crucial.  Personally, I only want to give my time to people and causes that uplift me, rather than dragging me down or causing regret.        

Some quotes I love.

“I know 12-year-old men and I know 40-year-old boys.  The difference is in the choices.  Boys choose distractions that allow them to avoid duties.  They choose the coffin of comfort.  Men choose responsibility and growth.  They choose never to play the victim.  They choose life.” – Matt Beaudreau

“Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness.”

“Care about what people think and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu

“Where you are right now is the result of actions you took 1-2 years ago.  That grew from thoughts you had 3-4 years ago, that were battling or supporting habits you built up over your entire life.” – Ed Latimore

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – January 27th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – January 20th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.

Something that being in practice has taught me. I have seen thousands of patients in my career in debilitating pain. Some are from serious accidents, injuries, or conditions they did nothing to cause themselves. However, the majority are from long term damage that could have been prevented with even basic steps being taking physically and nutritionally.

When most reach this point, they wish they could turn back time and make better decisions. No one wants to live in pain or be unable to enjoy their life. The lesson is to take every step possible now so that you can be at your optimal level of health for as long as possible. That means making (at minimum) decent decisions regarding what you put into your body and how you care for it through exercise, stretching, chiropractic, massage and more. The small decisions that may seem a hassle now, will earn you more quality time later in life.

Something I believe. In any endeavor with the goal of making you better, there is a “positive point of no return.” This is a phrase I use to mean the amount of time necessary to start seeing a result that will provide you confidence and hope. “A positive point of no return” can be powerful because it helps us to prove to ourselves that something is possible.

For example, when working with someone that needs to lose fifty pounds, if they can stay consistent long enough to lose the first 5-10, it becomes much easier thereafter. Thus, ten pounds of weight loss can be their “positive point no return” where they’ll keep going and not quit on their goal. The point is, it is important to remain steadfast and patient when working toward a goal of self-improvement. It will not be easy, but if you can stay committed long enough to reach the point where you see results and believe in yourself, you will feel like anything is achievable.

A common question I get. People that know about my races, training, and regimen often ask me if I worry that I’m taking too much time away from my family. Usually this is asked in a passive-aggressive manner by someone that does little to care for themselves, wanting me to feel selfish. My answer is that I do not worry at all.

First, no one in my family would ever tell you that I sacrifice time with them to work out, run, or train. I simply complete those activities around my responsibilities and commitments. If I must get up at 2am to train, I will, but I will not miss games or events to do so. Second and more importantly, I am proud of the example I set for my children to follow. Speaking this lesson to them may help, but showing them is much more effective. My hope is that my kids understand that taking time for family is just as crucial as taking time to care for yourself, and that they help each other.

Something I believe. Years ago, my wife taught me the concept of life having “seasons.” This means that some periods of life are great, and some are not. For example, a bad year that you’ve gone through would be a tough season. Getting engaged, married, or having a child are likely to be great ones, however.

I believe the concept of “seasons” is accurate but would also add that the “weather” in those seasons may vary. In other words, you may have two great months then a brutal two week stretch. That does not mean the entire period was horrible. I encounter people regularly that go through a brief, tough time and lose sight of all the good things happening to/for them. They fall apart because things are not perfect. Tough times and challenges happen to all of us, we just need to deal with them. Always remember that your life will have “seasons,” and even within those times you will experience good and bad “weather.”

Some quotes I love.

“Some people are investments, and some people are bills.”

“Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” – St. Augustine

“Be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.” – W. Clement Stone

“Two traps you need to avoid: 1. Caring what they think. 2. Thinking that they care.”

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – January 20th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – January 13th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant.  I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.  

Something I learned.  A friend told me recently that buffaloes instinctively run towards storms rather than from them.  I was curious about this, did research, and found it to be true.  They head towards a storm so that it will more quickly pass by overhead and minimize the amount of time they spend under it.  Other herd animals run from the storm though they cannot outrun it, even if it takes them in the wrong direction.  This created an analogy that appealed to me because I believe if we train ourselves to sacrifice a bit of comfort in the short term, it helps us in truly tough times. 

My long runs, training in extreme weather, toughest workouts, cold plunges, races, and more have conditioned me to be comfortable being uncomfortable.  This is my way of running into the storm.  The benefit of doing so changed my life because when I have gone through extreme tragedies, I did not break or lose who I was.  Dealing with the small discomforts I imposed on myself repeatedly taught me to be like the buffaloes and face storms head on. 

Something that helped me.  My 100-mile race next month will necessitate me running for more than 24 hours straight.  I will begin at 6am and will see two sunrises and a sunset before I finish. The toughest time during these types of races tends to be nighttime after a full day of exertion.  During this period, it is dark, and I am alone with only my headlamp to guide my way.  Recently, I found myself worrying about that aspect of the race. 

Rather than keep stressing about it, I decided to try and attack it in my training.  To do so, I went through my normal day (getting up early, working out, running, seeing patients, etc.), then at 10pm that night, I left my house for a 3-4 hour run.  This simple act helped immediately remove the concern I had over running at night when I’m at my most exhausted point.  It reminded me that I enjoy the quiet and solitude of nighttime running and that it’s no big deal.  Directly facing something that troubles you removes its power and helps you conquer it. 

A good reminder.  I recently heard someone I have always looked up to say things that shocked me.  He is in a prominent leadership position, and I’d always viewed this person as someone with great strength and principles.  Shockingly, his words spoke to weakness, a need for acceptance, and half-measures.  It was disappointing because it was contrary to anything I’d heard him say before. 

It is important to remember that trust is a sacred thing.  It can be built over months, years, or decades but eroded in seconds.  When I heard his words, my instinct was not to judge him or get in his face.  Over the years, I have gained great insight and advice from this person and will not forget that.  However, it did put a dent in my trust.  Trust can be regained but that task is far more challenging than building and maintaining it in the first place. 

Something that impressed me.  Most of you are aware of the horrific injury/incident on Monday Night Football last week in which Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest.  This was unprecedented for an NFL game and obviously shocking and horrifying to see, especially on a sports field.  What I found incredible was that the person who saved this young man’s life was an assistant trainer for the Buffalo Bills.  He was not the highest-ranking medical professional on site, did not possess the most credentials, and did not ask anyone for permission to intervene.  When stuff hit the fan, he just reacted.  He saw a life in danger and did what he knew to help him by administering CPR.  On national television, in front of millions of people, in a high-pressure situation; he reacted instantly and decisively.  His willingness to act was extremely impressive to me. 

Some quotes I love.

“In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A hungry stomach, an empty wallet and a broken heart can teach you the best lessons in life.”

“Most of the battle in life is about getting your mindset right.  Ninety percent of life is mental.  Typically, we are own worst enemy.  The problem isn’t the problem.  Our reaction to the problem is the problem.” – Dr. James Nicolantonio

“Your good habits have a present-day cost, discomfort, inconvenience, and temporary deprivation; while the cost of your bad habits is deferred to your future self in disappointment, disability, and dissatisfaction.” – Brandon Mancine

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – January 13th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – January 6th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant.  I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.  

Something inspirational I heard.  I was listening to an ultra-running podcast and the guest was a woman who recently completed a 240-mile race.  What was inspirational about her was that she was not born as an amazing runner or endurance athlete.  She was a regular woman that lost over 200 pounds!  She got motivated to begin getting healthy not on the advice of her doctors or friends, it was the realization that she couldn’t walk a mile to a restaurant her friends had selected for brunch.  She went from being afraid and unable to walk a single mile, to running 240 miles straight.

What I found inspirational was that she created massive changes in her life by starting small.  She began by making herself a healthy lunch each day for two weeks instead of eating out.  After two weeks, she added homemade meals for dinner as well.  Those improvements led to joining a gym which eventually led to running (at night because she did not want anyone to see her).  She followed no specific plan, just attempted different things, and gave it her best.  Hearing her describe the mental and physical transformation she made from a sedentary, obese person to a confident woman unafraid to challenge herself, was amazing to me!

Something that has been helping me.  Beginning on December 30th, my wife decided she and I should start doing daily ice baths through the end of January.  We run cold water into our tub, then add shovels full of snow to get it approximately 35-40 degrees.  I am the one that introduced my family to ice baths year ago, but I had not thought to do them in quite some time.   

I stay in the ice bath for 3-5 minutes and it has made a tremendous difference in my recovery.  With the training for my upcoming race, I have been running daily for almost 6 months and have continued to work out 6 days a week during that time as well.  This tends to create soreness and stiff joints at times, both of which the ice baths have been decreasing dramatically.  Additionally, putting your body into freezing water challenges you mentally so it helps build fortitude and strength in that regard too.

A lesson I’ve learned from my toughest races.  As someone that has suffered through long and intense races, I have learned many lessons along the way.  One I find significant is that it hurts more to stop than keep moving forward.  When we face challenges (physical or mental), there is a tendency to want to take a break.  We tell ourselves we will rest, gather our thoughts, and regroup but more often we simply lose our momentum and nerve. 

I have found in races that when I rest too long, my body tightens up and it becomes more painful to continue.  Mentally, my mind senses comfort and begins to see whatever challenge remains as more daunting.  Likewise in life, when I take a break from pursuing a goal, I find I lose momentum and start talking myself out of making the type of aggressive moves I know will help.  Having learned this lesson (often the hard way), my goal is always to rest as little as possible while pursuing relentless forward progress.

Something I teach my children.  I don’t recall where I initially heard it, but a saying I teach my children is, “You get two names in life, the one I give you, and the one you will make for yourself.” 

The first is important because it will always remind you of where you came from and how you began.  However, the second is more important.  I teach my children that the name they make for themselves is ongoing.  It involves habits, character, how they treat others, reactions in times both good and bad, and so much more.  In the end, the name you make for yourself is created over time through your actions so make sure they are ones you can be proud of.

Some quotes I love.
“You have what it takes, but it may take everything you have.”

“It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” – J.K. Rowling

“Sacrifice comfort to chase goals or sacrifice goals to chase comfort.” – Dr. Josh Handt

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” – Sigmund Freud

“The false prophets told the people what they wanted to hear, and the people loved them.  The true prophets told the people what they needed to hear…and they stoned them.”

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – January 6th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – December 30th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant.  I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.  

Something inspiring to me.  My wife and I have a dear friend that is only around 60 years of age but is now in late-stage hospice care at her home.  Unfortunately, she will pass away very soon.  We are close to her and her family and this is very sad for all of us.  Last week, my wife was able to sit with this woman and speak with her. 

My wife asked if she was scared to die, and she said she was not.  She explained that she had done so much in her lifetime (raised 3 adult children, etc.) that it comforted her and gave her peace with what was soon to come.   This attitude and outlook inspired me greatly.  There is a saying attributed to many of the great warrior cultures, “today is a good day to die.”  The implication being that if you live your life with purpose, you will be fulfilled and at peace when it is your time to go, regardless of when.  The fact this woman embodies this attitude as her time is at hand inspires me to live an even better life myself. 

Something I loved.  I took my wife out to breakfast last week and she asked how the training for my 100-mile race was going and if I was ready.  I told her it has been my best training cycle ever and that I am prepared to die to finish the race (more of an expression than prediction!).  I told her how I picture receiving my belt buckle after completing the race.  Custom belt buckles are given to finishers in these types of events and “earning a buckle” is considered a badge of honor in the ultra-running community.

After listening to me explain all this to her, my wife thought for a second and casually said “Well, you better come home with that belt buckle or in a body bag.” I laughed and told her I loved hearing that!  It is a wonderful thing to spend your life with someone that truly understands you as my wife does me.  When we got home from breakfast, I immediately made a sign that hangs in my home gym saying, “Belt buckle or body bag” and it has become one of my mantras as I train! 

A recent interaction.  I was speaking with someone in a service industry this week about their business.  They complained about clients, having to work certain hours, challenges they encounter, and more.  Rather than seek solutions to these issues, they began telling me how they avoid them.  Things like making excuses, skipping work, and more.  They asked if I had any advice, and I did.

I advised them to be more of a professional and stop thinking so much about their feelings.  A professional always gives the best effort possible and seeks solutions to challenges.  Someone acting on feelings will make emotional decisions unlikely to produce positive or lasting results.  I told them the hard truth is that in business, no one cares about your feelings, but they will care about your professionalism.  For example, no one wants to go to a concert they paid 300 bucks for and hear the artist tell you how bad their day has been and why they won’t be doing as good of a job as usual, they want to hear the hits!

Something I teach my kids.  “On my honor” is a phrase I use often around my older children.  When I say that something is “on my honor” it means I see it as a matter of pride, principle, and importance.  Anything that falls into this category must be completed every time to the highest standard and is not open to negotiation.

A couple years ago, I began noticing the woman next door to me out early shoveling her driveway.  My wife mentioned to me that this was because her husband was too sick to do it any longer.  It turns out he had a bad form of cancer, from which he eventually died earlier this year.  Once I found out he was sick, I made shoveling her driveway a matter of my honor.  Though a simple gesture, I make sure to wake up earlier than normal (usually about 4am) and shovel her driveway so that she won’t have to worry about it.  This is certainly nothing special on my part, however, it is an example of how I view an act of honor.  It can be something small or large, but the act must become a priority, performed to the highest level, and done solely for reasons of pride rather than credit. 

Some quotes I love.

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” – Nelson Mandela

“I’ll tell you one thing, just don’t quit!  The beauty is in the journey!  Run your race!”  – Jeremy Reaves

“You don’t just pass down your genetics to your children.  You pass down your habits.” – Dan Go

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – December 30th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – December 23rd

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant.  I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.  

Two rules I follow.  A patient was complimenting me on my attitude this week and asked me how I always stay so positive.  I appreciated the kind words and told him that my two biggest rules are to never feel sorry for myself and never complain.  Through my twenties, I did plenty of both and always hated the way I felt.  With experience, I have learned the benefits of not doing either.

Feeling sorry for ourselves and/or complaining is counterproductive.  It creates a focus on explanations and excuses rather than solutions to our problems.  We also waste precious time over-analyzing our issues which tends to create negativity in our own minds.  I have found that not giving myself the option to pursue self-pity or pointless complaining has allowed me to be more decisive, positive, and happier.  Give this a try, I promise it will help!

Something I realized.  I am four and a half months into my six months of preparation for my upcoming 100-mile race on February 4th.  I run daily (sometimes multiple times) and continue to workout and stretch 5-6 days per week.  I’ve had a couple Sundays recently where I have had extra downtime to relax.  With all that training, you would assume that I would like nothing more than to kick back but I don’t.  In fact, I find myself uneasy and wanting to do more so I end up running again, doing another workout, or both. 

Does that mean that I am obsessed?  Yes.  However, there are goals in life that will require obsession.  I want to show up for that race in my best physical and mental shape to date so I am willing to do whatever necessary to get there.  I do not ignore my family, businesses, or commitments but I am happy to burn every other moment possible preparing for that goal.  I have had this level of obsession at times in sports, in chiropractic school, in business, etc. and it is yet to fail me.  The word “obsessed” has a negative connotation but when it comes to achieving something extraordinary, sometimes that’s what is required to get there!

Something I encounter often.  “I am willing to do anything.”  I have heard this hundreds of times from patients/clients/friends looking to achieve some better level of fitness, nutrition, health, or business success.  Nine times out of ten, this is followed by them balking at the first recommendation that is offered to them (by me or someone else with experience).  They make excuses as to why it won’t work, is too hard, how they’re different than everyone else, and so on. 

If you want to achieve a result you’ve never had, it stands to reason that you will need to pursue options you have never tried. Whenever I hear from someone that says they want success but will not follow advice, it tells me where their true level of commitment stands.  It is commendable to want to attain a lofty goal but remaining in the same comfort zone with the same habits is not likely to get us there.  Being open to learning more and trying a new approach can make all the difference. 

Something I read and liked.  I stumbled onto a description of some basic Japanese concepts this week and enjoyed reading about them.  Several stood out, but my favorite was the concept of “Gaman.”  This is a term used to describe having dignity while being under duress.

The theory is that even the toughest times should be met with emotional maturity, self-control, patience, and perseverance.  Have you ever been around someone that freaks out or gives up when even the slightest thing starts going amiss?  It is brutal to be around and makes a bad situation far worse.  We cannot control what happens to us (or around us), but we can manage how we react.  Remaining calm, collecting ourselves, and behaving in a manner that we can be proud of later should always be the standard we seek.  It will not be easy, but it is worth it to pursue “Gaman” as best we can.    

Some quotes I love.

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  When the student is truly ready, the teacher will disappear.” – Tao Te Ching

“Most of us aren’t defeated in one decisive battle.  We are defeated one tiny, seemingly insignificant surrender at a time that chips away at who we really should be.” – Jocko Willink

“You hit home runs not by chance, but by preparation.” – Roger Maris

“Getting in shape is 10% exercise, 50% nutrition, and 40% managing your emotions.” – Dan Go

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – December 23rd
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – December 16th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant.  I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.  

Something that helps me.  As I prepare for my 100-mile race, I use the weekends to knock out my longest runs.  This past weekend, as I got very close to finishing both runs, I challenged myself to keep running for an few extra miles.  In no way did I feel like doing so, but I have found this type of thing to be incredibly valuable.   

Performing when you are tired, hungry, unmotivated, etc. is a skill to be developed.  If you can hone it, you will find that you are able to succeed even when you aren’t 100%.  This is crucial because we are so rarely able to be at our absolute best.  When I look back at my training after I have completed a major race, I barely remember most of the miles I’ve covered or workouts I have completed.  What I do remember, are the times when I pushed myself a bit further.  The “extra” is what brings you to a higher level and that is what it takes to accomplish extraordinary goals!

Something I know to be true.  As I scrolled social media recently, my feed was filled with these fancy and exotic types of workouts, promising amazing results.  It’s great to try different things and there are certainly many types of workouts that have value.  However, what I try to explain to patients and clients of mine is that to succeed, you do not need fancy.  All you really need is basic but consistent.

I have tried everything you can imagine when it comes to fitness and exercise.  Some of those things make cool photos, like flipping tires, carrying a heavy bag up a mountain, running in snowstorms, and more.  The reality is what has helped me the most is boring.  I perform the basics time and again, which leads to incremental improvements that no one would ever mention on social media.  If you are interested in getting in better shape, understand that it does not need to be complicated.  Master a few essentials and most importantly, remain consistent with them.  The cool stuff gets the “likes” but the boring, consistent staples get the results. 

Something that helps.  How do you feel when you walk into a room that is an absolute mess?  If you were meeting with a mortgage lender, accountant, or attorney, and their office had papers strewn everywhere, how would you feel?  The point is, when things around you are cluttered, your mind soon follows.  It causes subtle hints of anxiety, confusion, and decreased motivation.  It is not conducive to streamlined processes or high-level performance. 

I recommend keeping the areas that you use most (your workspace for example) neat and organized.  You don’t have to perform a white glove test every hour, just keep it so you’re not fighting through clutter or getting distracted constantly.  This will allow you to work efficiently and direct more bandwidth to planning, task completion, and focusing on pertinent matters.  As simple as this is, it is important.

Something I learned in practice.  When you deal with the public as I do daily, you will be exposed to everything.  Most patients are amazing, but some are a pain to deal with.  Performing adjustments on people can be easy and other times very tricky.  Certain people have realistic expectations, while some expect you to be a magician and wave away years of their poor habits in a single visit.  The point is that things can be easy or extremely hard.

What I have learned from this, is dealing with the difficult people and challenging cases is the best way to test my skills and grow.  Anyone can excel when things are easy, you need only be competent, and things will go well.  However, when you deal with the hardest people, conditions, and circumstances; you need you’re A-game to succeed.  Each time I face a difficult person or case in practice, it forces me to raise my level of skill to handle it.  As my level of proficiency rises to handle the tough stuff, it also makes me better for the easier ones.  Challenge creates growth and makes all the difference.   

Some quotes I love.

“Never fight unless you have to.  But when it’s time to fight, you fight like you’re the third monkey going up to Noah’s Ark…and brother it’s starting to rain!”

“Strength is never a weakness, and weakness is never a strength.” 

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – C.S. Lewis

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – December 16th
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