Recalling a conversation I had not too long ago I was inspired o write a little bit about the need to actually TRY when wanting to get healthier. I was talking with someone about the desire to lose weight and how they might actually achieve the body they really wanted. This person was already in pretty good shape, middle aged, softer than they wanted to be and having your basic American, middle-aged problems (high stress, bad sleep, getting slightly sick a little too much, GI issues here and there, skin problems, etc.). My advice was to get on a more rigid strength training program to help generate muscle, increase functional mobility and become generally stronger while boosting the metabolism; change the diet a good bit (cut added sugar out, increase veggie intake, cut back on processed carbohydrate and processed food in general and consume more protein). The response I got was enough to literally cause a good 30 second silent moment.
“But what I’m doing works, I don’t need to change any of it.”
Now, I really liked this person and didn’t really want to offend them, but I just couldn’t help myself. If what you’re eating is making you fat, sick and out of shape, STOP EATING IT! Oh, and if you stop eating it, you must replace it with something else, something better. And if your activity level is such that you still have excess body fat, have joint issues, feel weak and are getting injured, you need to do something else. If what you are doing is not working, well, then it’s NOT WORKING. Stop lying to yourself, swallow your pride, admit you are wrong, or that you have no clue what you are doing and make a change.
But here’s the thing; if you decide that you are going to change the way you approach health and fitness, you need to understand that the next morning you are NOT going to wake up looking like a fitness model. If you get a trainer, or head to a CrossFit gym and begin a good program, get rid of sugar, alcohol, processed grains and all other processed foods, you need to understand that this must become a part of your life, not just a phase. Remember, the body you are living in right this second is the body that you have created ever since you were born. It’s not going to take a day, a week, or even a month to reverse the shit you’ve put yourself through.
There is no crash diet, no pill, no drug, no TV show, no magazine, no book, no other person that can make you into the person you’ve always wanted to be. It’s got to be YOU that will decide you’re going to educate yourself about what the best way to train is, and the best way to eat is, then do those things!
It’s not rocket science. It’s basic logic. It’s time, and effort. It’s dedication to being a better person, rather than settling for being a crappy one.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Without putting any thought into it, mine is freaking wonderful desserts. I feel like I have an emotional reliance on them sometimes and at one point, about a month ago, I honestly fed off them like crack, no joke. Upon further analysis, I would say actual “shtick” is something along the lines of this: I over-analyze to a point of being overwhelmed. Say something goes wrong in my life. When this happens, I tumble into a whirlpool of thoughts, break-downs, reasoning’s and theories, trying to figure out not just what happened, but how it all happened. That’s just how my brain works. When someone reacts a certain way towards me, I don’t simply respond, I break down their reaction and search for WHY they did each and every thing they did. I will go so far into this where I will break down my own childhood just to figure out why I only crave soda later at night. I view movies, books, music, training, and friends, pretty much everything, like this. And it tires me out so much. I do not have the ability to just chill out and let things simply happen. I need to know how and why. Imagine hearing a song, one that is catchy, that makes you bob your head and tap your feet and hope you hear it again soon. I hear that song and I am immediately breaking down the melody patterns, how the different instruments were orchestrated to pull an emotion out of the listener. How the lyrics interact with the melody and either harmonize or distort the instruments to add to that emotion and expression of the song. Simply put, I geek out on this sort of stuff, but its overwhelming to hear so much in something that most people simply use as minor entertainment. It sometimes takes the fun out of it. This is my shtick; this is what I deal with on a daily basis. The only time I have ever felt my brain NOT act like this is when I’m running around deep in nature; this is why most of you know me as a dude who would take any opportunity to escape to the woods and run around. It is the only place I know of where I can get any sort of extended escape from my own mind. Now I realize this sounds maybe a little crazy. But the fact is, everyone in the world has something that takes them to the point of being viewed as “crazy” by another person. Someone might be a hypochondriac, someone else might be an obsessive organizer, yet another person might desperately need to be around other people at all times. No matter what it is, everyone has something that causes them anxiety and/or distress. The real question I have here is: how do you react to it? Do you try to overcome it, suppress it? Do you fight it and claim you don’t have a problem? Do you defer to focusing on other people’s problems rather than focus on your own? Do you run or workout to relax your mind? Do you drink or do drugs? Does it make you depressed, overwhelmed, act out, or something else? I had a great conversation with a really good friend of mine about this today and we came to a sort of conclusion that accepting this thing, whatever it is, as who you are, is the quickest and healthiest way to deal with it. Think of the movie “A Beautiful Mind”, the dude hallucinated other people for crying out loud. And in the end, he didn’t stop hallucinating, he simply accepted that his mind was different than others and he learned to deal with it. He stopped forcing a change, and in the end, when you think about it, he changed more than he ever imagined. I over-analyze. If I try to force myself to stop over-analyzing, I will drive myself insane. The best thing I can do is accept the fact that my mind functions like this, and learn the best ways to live my life so that it does not overwhelm me all the time. Embrace your crazy. Look at yourself in the mirror, I mean SERIOUSLY take a good look at yourself, and work on recognizing who you are, all the pros AND all the cons. Do NOT suppress them. Instead, acknowledge them, accept them, appreciate them and learn to react to them. When I find myself doing this healthy approach to what I view as my negative personality traits, I find I get so much done. I find myself having amazingly colorful conversations with my true friends about art, philosophy, fitness and fantasy. I find that my mind as also a beautiful thing in that fact that it is completely unique to me. And all if you are exactly the same. You are not me, you are not the person sitting next to you, or the person on TV, you are you. Accept that and you will become the greatest version of you you could ever imagine. Never Stop, GET FIT. Josh Courage
You know how sometimes a really simple statement hits you so hard that it seems like your world is turned upside down for a moment? It’s statements, or stories, or even visuals that “blow you away” and make you see things completely differently. Well, this happened to me the other day and it made me view a problem I have had for my entire life in a whole new light. The crazy thing is that I have no idea where I read this, but it was only a few days ago (yeah, I’ve been reading a real lot of articles lately) and it hit me hard enough to put the article down, mouth open, and my brain going: “yeah, totally!”
It basically said that when you are down with your day, sitting on your couch at night, watching TV and letting the old habits creep in like, “I need some snacks to go along with my late night TV watching”. If you see yourself as a helpless, out of shape, sad, stupid, and whatever other negative view one could have type of person, you’ll probably head to the kitchen and scoop a bowl of ice cream. Or, in my case, run down to whole foods for a bag of chocolate covered almonds! But, if you see yourself as a fit, healthy, happy, good person, you’ll turn the TV off and go to bed a little early knowing that the extra sleep and avoiding a late night insulin spike will get you even better.
I realize this isn’t some new concept, I have written over and over again tat if you want change in your life, you have to change from the inside. You can’t just force yourself to all of a sudden be a healthy, happy, fit person. You have to become a different person, with different views of yourself and life so that those changes can become a PART of your life rather than a part of your life's’ schedule. Perhaps this hit home foe me the hardest because it touched on the aspect that I personally struggle with the most. When I am roughing through things, I tend to stay up later and later at night, watching TV. I do this because I feel like it’s a distraction from all the crap I don’t want to deal with. If I can watch an episode (or 4…) of Family Guy I convince myself that it’s healthy for me because I can escape a little into the show and just let my mind go free.
But that is not happening. That would happen if I got into bed, maybe wrote a little on a pad of paper and tried closing my eyes. Then I wouldn’t be straining every system in my body. Then I wouldn’t allow my problems to sneak up on me while I was distracted by the TV and all of a sudden I start to feel sorry for myself and justify eating something I know I don’t need or want. I know all of this to be so strong because when I am on top of the world, I am in bed at 10pm, the TV is rarely on and thoughts of self-pity never go through my head.
And what I also know to be true: if I want to overcome all this, if I want to get better sleep, eat better, become happier, become healthier and let those healthy habits positively effect the rest of my life, I need to change the way I view myself and my life. I can’t just sit back and hope it goes away. I can’t just put a Band-Aid over the problems and issues and then claim myself healed. No, rather than becoming really good at suppressing my issues under false strength, I need to become good at overcoming my issues. When I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t want to see something I am dissatisfied in, something I am ashamed of and angry with. When I look in the mirror I want to feel GOOD. I want to feel confident that the person looking back at me is understanding first, strong second. The order of this is key because if you are strong without understanding, you have no control over yourself. This is mentally AND physically. I must understand why I am deadlifting and how to deadlift perfectly if I ever expect to become great at deadlifts. And I must understand why I feel something and how those feeling work if I ever want to have any control of my emotions.
When I look in the mirror today, I am not happy with what I see. So do I avoid the mirror, distract myself with things like negativity, TV, food, pity and so on? Do I pretend it’s all OK and try to force myself to be what I think I should, be? I mean come on, I’ve been there before so it should be that easy, right? Hell no. It’s time for a perspective change, a self-induced paradigm shift, a deep look within.
Go look at yourself in the mirror. Really, really look; soak it all in. What do you see?
Forgive the depressing aspect of this post. I know that I can sometimes be a little too open here, but I find it extremely helpful for my process. Interestingly enough, after writing this, I feel so much better. I feel like I have taken a HUGE step forward! I hope, if you are feeling in any way off or down, that this might be a little inspiration towards the right.
Never Stop, GET FIT.