Hello ladies and gents, I have a response post today from my last post. Yesterday I received an email from my sister who thanked me for the post and then went on a thoughtful little rant about how it's got to be easy for me to have the perspective I do because I am so enthralled in the lifestyle of health and fitness and am surrounded by so many people who agree with me. She has mentioned before that my posts sometimes go a little over her head because she just does not live in the world I do and sometimes can;t understand what the hell I'm talking about. All good points, and I do admit that sometimes I get a little caught up in my thoughts and just roll with them. Or, like I say a little too often: I geek out. So, today I'm going to answer the email my sister sent me and clear up some of my thoughts on how I write and what I hope to get across.
I talk a lot about figuring things out and making no excuses in the pursuit of health and fitness. But, the question raised was how can the "average" person do this when there is just no information around them to get rolling? Well, I have a double response to this, a tough one, and a little more helpful one.
The tough one is: use basic logic, ask questions, use books and the internet. Thinking you don't have enough info at hand, or that you are surrounded by people who don't support your needs in life are just more excuses. It's really not hard to figure out how to be a healthier person, you just have to be honest with yourself all the time. Saying you don't know how to eat better or exercise properly is like saying you can't find enough information to do a presentation on the Battle Of Gettysburg (I had a friend in college actually use that excuse..). There are literally hundreds of thousands of articles, websites, books, and people out there just foaming at the mouth to help you out. And if you are surrounded by people who inspire bad habits in you, well, they are nit good people to surround yourself with; and - and this is kind of harsh - you are being weak. If I have a friend who is begging me to go out drinking with him the night before a competition and I choose to go, it is completely my fault, not his, that I feel like crap during my event. I need to be strong in the way I want to live my life and make my choices accordingly. If I don't want to eat like crap, I shouldn't make life decisions that make me want to eat like crap (and surrounding yourself with people who are a negative influence is just plain stupid to be honest).
The helpful response here will offer some solutions, rather than shove it in your face like I enjoy doing here and there. I think the number one thing anyone can do when trying to make changes for the better is to to take some time and just think about it. Think about what you really want, what you'd be willing to give up, think about all the information you already know about what you are about to do. When you take this time, I think it'll be pretty eye-opening what you actually know about health and fitness (as in, you probably know a ton about it). There is so much information out there on all this stuff that it makes sense people would get overwhelmed and think they know nothing at all? Are fats bad? Isn't whole wheat bread good for you? How long on the elliptical is ideal? Isn't weightlifting only for getting big? Is diet soda better than normal soda?
To help answer all the questions you might have, try not to jump to conclusions because generally, the answer you come out with will be one that was forced on you through faulty information. For example: are exercise machines the best way to approach lifting weights? This is one of those questions I get all the time from people new to serious exercise and I have found that every single person knows the answer to it. All you need to do is take a little time to clear out all the slop that has been forced on us about health and fitness for so many years and in the end, we all know exactly what needs to be done. Ask yourself basic questions: does the human body move naturally, or sit in a single position naturally. When we move around outside, do we use our own body to stabilize and move in random and non-structured ways, or do we isolate single muscles and joints on a regular basis? The answer to these questions should be blatantly obvious. And, with those answers fresh ion your mind, go back and ask weather machines are best for you again. No way Jose!
We all know how to be healthy and fit. Be active naturally (get outside, lift things, run around, climb, play sports, etc), eat real food (not packaged, processed, fake stuff), sleep as much as you can, and smile often. It it NOT that hard to understand. Putting it to practice is pretty hard, sure, I'll admit that. But don't confuse your own lack of motivation with not knowing what to do. Again, I really never expect for the world to be filled with a bunch of super-elite athletes (hell, I'd be so far out of a job I probably vanish into thin air!); all I hope for is that people get their heads out of the asses and start making somewhat sensible choices.
I'll leave you all with one final thought. I have literally never, in my entire career as a trainer and coach, had a person tell me that getting a good workout in was difficult. Most of my clients and athletes, and people I talk to about this stuff with come up with the excuse: "I just don't know what to do!". I'll then throw a little something together and in the end they'll all say: "that was so simple, yet it was still worked!". Exactly people, this does not have to be complicated. And the second you start to overwhelm yourself with all the crazy things you think you are "supposed" to do, you lose track of all the things that should just come naturally to you. Eat good, be active. 'nuff said!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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.
The past week was a pretty good one all around. I cleaned up my diet as Regionals are getting closer and the immediate effects were wonderfully rewarding. I trained hard, feeling pretty good all around. And, Lindsey and I went out to Catoctin for some hiking and camping. As we move on to another week here, I am feeling excited for the revved-up week Rudy at Outlaw has planned for us, and am looking forward to all the athletes that are coming in to train! Lots of good things all around it seems. So, let me share some of the highlights.
Last weeks training was nothing to write home about; it was a de-load week of sorts, so nothing too intense except for a threshold training day. My body officially loves this style of workout for some reason, and this one was no different. It was 5 rounds of 250 meter row, 10 squat clean to thrusters with 95# and 15 burpees, with 3 minutes rest between rounds. And it was all done with a 20# vest. I felt like crap through it, wanting to quite after the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds. But I just kept on trucking and that night, when I posted my results, I found that I had the 2nd best time posted. Blew my mind. I think that I actually react much better to all out gassers then I originally thought, and it has shifting the way i think about my approach to most workouts. I need to stop getting so caught up in gaming each and every little thing, and just go all out. I react better to that perspective for the most part (exceptions would be for workouts with muscle ups, handstand push ups and things like that.
I took Saturday off, even though it was a great collection of workouts, I had the opportunity to head out to the woods, and to be totally honest, I would say that most of the time being out in nature is going to win out over pretty much anything. With the big three-oh coming up in a couple weeks, Lindsey hooked up a trip to the Catoctin mountains. The idea of what they had out there was about as perfect as I could imagine: hike about 3 miles into the woods and find a ice little pre-built lean-to. Set up camp, hang out, and have some fun in the woods! In the end, the location was a bit of a let down, just nothing at all to do any where near the site. We hiked about 2 hours, then drove another 15 minutes the next day to get to some awesome hiking, bouldering, waterfall-ing and lake-chilling-next-to-ing that made the whole trip more than worth the time! I think the camping location would have been way better had there been a decent sized group with us, but with absolutely nothing around there at all, it led to some restlessness for sure. It inspired me to build something like that for people on a ridge with a view, or on some water somewhere. No that would be damn cool. Anyway, on our way home we stopped for dinner in Frederick, MD; absolutely lovely city if you've never been.
So, this week coming up is supposed to be a crazy intense one for all us in the mid-Atlantic region. Next week is a taper week, and then it's only one week after that until our regional competition, pretty exciting all around. While I'm pumped up for the week of training, i already got off to a shaky start by using today (Tuesday) as my rest day. i ended up spending all day moving equipment from my temporary gym space (officially closing at the end of this month) to The Garage. It took some serious planning, but I was somehow able to cram almost double the equipment in the garage while opening space up. This summer is going to be absolutely EPIC with all the athletes coming into this place. My goal is to have the smallest location that has 65 members or more (and I am certain I'll have upwards to 100 athletes come through the 200 square foot space by the end of the summer!). While the mornings and afternoons are quickly being filled, I have begun taking classes out at outlaw CrossFit as well. With the success of Rudy and Laura's The Outlaw Way, they have been looking for some support at their gym, and I am super stoked to be able to help them out. It also allows be to be able to train with the group there on a more regular basis, and I am feeling the positive effects of training with others on an almost daily basis.
Well, there's an update for you all, no PR's, no crazy, insane news, just a boring ol' update show. I have a few topics that I am itching to write about, so I expect to get to at least two of them by the end of the week. Oh, and Regional workouts are announced tomorrow!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
If you don't know what it means, look it up.
What will you do? Can you survive in any potential situation that may present itself? This is such a fun (and sometimes scary) thought process to have, trying to figure out what could potentially go wrong in life. An easy way to get started with it is to just call back all those Armageddon movies out there and think about what the hell you'd do if anything like that ever happened.
Nuclear attacks, tsunamis, meteors, hostile takeovers, terrorist attack, alien invasions, major economic crisis, floods, zombie epidemic (or more seriously, some form of major virus outbreak), etc. etc. What would you do? What if you get lost? In the woods, at sea, in the desert, hell, in a damn city (perhaps one where nobody speaks your language)? What kinds of experiences do you have physically, mentally, globally, nature-ly? Seriously, take a second and ask yourself if you'd survive in any given situation. It's really not all that far-fetched to think something pretty shitty could happen to us at any given moment. And, while I have no intention myself to live in fear of all things that could go wrong, I know it's worth a moment here and there to at least think about things and make sure I have the wherewithal to actually figure out what to do!
I hope to live a life that opens my mind to being able to do anything and survive anywhere and in any situation. And I want to do all of this with a smile on my face because the whole time I'll be following my dreams. When the shit hits the fan, I have a feeling that I'll be totally fine. I won't panic, I won't freak out or have no clue what to do. And that is the best way to live a life in my opinion.
Well, I've been reading up and following people who life their lives the way I am slowly figuring I want to live mine, and it's so incredibly motivating to see some of the things people do. Here's a list of a small collection of the stuff I've checked out over the past few weeks. I really recommend you take the time to check them all out. Share your thoughts!
Make It Count
Mary Beth LaRue
Never Stop, GET FIT.
The other day, one of my best friends Brendon Mahoney of CrossFit San Mateo sent me an article posted by a favorite author of mine, Tim Ferriss. Check out the article HERE, but the gist of it was getting one of the founders of a show on MTV of all places called The Buried Life. The idea was that three friends would take some time off and travel around crossing as many things off their 100-things Bucket List (things they hopped to do before they die) as they could. And to add to it, every time they crossed one off their list, they would help someone they did not know achieve something off their list. Awesome! The article itself is about how these guys figured out how easy it actually was to get things done f you really want to. Highly motivating for sure, and it left me inspired to make a list of my own, along with apparently thousands of others who found these guys to be great muses. Mahoney had sent out this article to a few people, and asked us all to post up a few things we wanted, but I wanted to take it one step further, so, that’s what I’m doing here!
I am creating a 50-article Bucket List for myself that I will share with all of you at the end of this post. My goal will be to complete at least half of them in the next three years, and the ultimate goal would be to complete at least 100 of these wonderful, mostly lofty goals by the end of my life. I have no intention of challenging all of you to anything super grandiose, but I would like to get you all involved in some way. So, I ask all my readers to post 10 items you have always wanted to do at some point in your life. I don’t care if you think it’ll never happen, if you’re too busy or you can’t wrap your head around actually achieving it. Just write it down and post it up. You’ll see that on my list, there are a few things that seem pretty easy for me to achieve at some point, while others would either be extremely complicated, or extremely time consuming. But that’s the goal of these things. It is a list of all the things I’ve really wanted to do, no matter how big or small.
So, how do you write a Bucket List? It’s actually pretty easy if you are good at being honest with yourself, and have a decent sense of what you like and don’t like. Also, a key aspect to writing one of these lists is knowing that there are no real limits. If you’ve never hiked a trail before but want to climb Everest, put it on the list! If you really want to do something before you die, it does not matter if it seems impossible! This is the whole point of these things. What are you going to do with your life? Will you just succumb to whatever rules you have learned; settle with a life that is just “ok”? Or, will you step up and pursue the things you’ve always wanted? I know these questions can lead to tons of debate, and I would love to have that debate with all of you at any time. But right here, all I want is for all of you to take a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, whatever, to create a 10-item list!
· Compete in the CrossFit Games
· Finish an Ironman Triathlon
· Finish a 100-mile ultra-marathon
· Act in a decent-budget movie
· Host/star in my on TV show
· Spend 2+ weeks backpacking in Alaska and/or New Zealand
· Live at least 1 month with only nature as support
· Lift weights with Louie Simmons
· Climb Kilimanjaro
· Learn Spanish
· Build a house (cabin, legit tree house, etc.)
· Write a “best selling” book
· Get at least one gig as a fitness model
· Finish riding my bike across America
· Ride a motorcycle to the Southern tip of South America
· Base jump off one of the highest cliffs in the world
· Base jump/repel off one of the tallest building in the world
· Go skydiving
· Start a non-profit helping kids and their families get fit
· Get through Navy SEAL BUDS training
· Go 1+ week in complete silence, meditating with monks out in Tibet
· Run with the bulls in Spain
· Hang at a café in Cain, Spain
· Pilot a plane
· Ski and surf in the same day
· Hunt, catch, kill, prepare and eat a large animal
· Cook and prepare a meal for 100+ people
· Stop a major criminal from committing a major crime
· Squat 500, deadlift 600, snatch 275, clean and jerk 315
· Hold a legit 5-second Iron Cross
· Play drums on stage with a major band
· Have a drink with Johnny Depp
· Create a protein bar that sells over 1,000,000 in a year
· Get married to the girl of my dreams
· Hit a home run in a major league baseball stadium
· Swim the English Channel
· Roll with a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, in Brazil
· Get my ass kicked
· Spend the night sleeping on the streets of NYC
· Wrestle an alligator
· Sing the National Anthem at a Major League game
· Learn how to break dance
· Shoot a bull’s-eye with a bow and arrow from100 meters
· Tour the country visiting gyms, promoting fitness and inspiring people
· Brand the name COURAGE
· Make my own baseball bat
· Drive a car over 150 MPH
· Raise $1,000,000 for charity
· Hang out with Seth Macfarlane
· Re-build and drive a 1967 Mustang
So, there are mine. What are yours?
Never Stop, GET FIT.
_ Over the past few months I have become aware of something that really bother me. People have no idea what it means to be an “active person”! I have mostly seen it in younger people (ages 9-18), where, IF they get activity in during the day, it’s either a practice or game with their sports team, or a little 15 minute stint outside that usually consists of hanging around and texting, or kicking a ball around in a generally stationary position. I have talked with a good deal of these kids recently to fond out what their activity level is like at school, and have been even more shocked at how little people these days run around! Most breaks are spent hanging out, talking, eating, texting, playing games on their phones or catching up on work that they are slammed with. But it’s not just the kids, and in fact, arguably a huge reason the kids are so inactive is because their parents are even more inactive. There’s work, errands, social lives, taking care of kids, and on and on; so many excuses to not be active. I was shown a really funny TV ad that shows people excuses for not being active; and, as funny as it is, it is so completely true!
So, over the years people begin to form the idea that to stay healthy, they need to get out and be active for 15-30 minutes a day. They need to make sure this activity is scheduled into their busy lives and for the most part, it becomes one of those things that is the first to drop off the schedule the second the day gets out of hand. Well, I’m sorry, but a 15-minute walk around the block is NOT activity. Taking your kids to their soccer practice and pacing the sidelines is NOT activity. Getting outside after school and throwing a football back and forth between text messages is NOT activity. And the fact that our society is so lost in inactivity that these things can be considered activity is really, really sad.
I have to agree, if you are obese, completely inactive, really, really old, or horribly injured or sick because of a serious lack of health, a 15-30 minute stroll is extremely important. And this is the case especially if you have kids and can take them with you. But I feel like there needs to be a HUGE shift over the coming years to a point where we can all agree that a 15-30 minute walk is something we do after dinner to enjoy each others company and enjoy the evening air. And activity should be defined as getting to the gym, working out with friends, playing sports, running and playing outside; not because we have to, but because we don’t know any other way. Imagine if your go-to thing to do when you had a few hours to kill was to go explore the woods, climb a tree, hit a workout, go for a run, etc.? But, unfortunately, most people flop down on the couch, turn the TV on with a drink or snack and slowly destroy their bodies and minds.
So parents don’t tell your kids to go run around; don’t buy them video games and don’t keep crappy food in the house. Take your kids outside and play games with them. Motivate them to sign up for teams and leagues, and camps and so on. Oh, and do all this stuff yourself as well! Make being active a natural part of your life so that forcing yourself to get outside for a short walk isn’t what the world calls “activity” anymore. It’s up to all of us to change the definitions of things rather than accepting what we’ve become.
An active person is one who loves and craves activity; one who actually lives actively. If you have to schedule activity into your or your family’s lives, you all are not active people. You are merely attempting to mask the lazy, unhealthy, unhappy people you are. Yep, I went there, and I defend that statement to the death. We as human beings are meant to be highly active. We are built for it. Don’t let our bodies and minds evolve into weak mush like so many of us people are. Go a month without watching TV. Cut your time in the car (unless it’s going to be active) in half. Doing even one of those things will all of a sudden make your realize just how much time you really do have on your hands. And the more time you spend being active, the better your life will become. Just give it a try and see what happens.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
_ This question is usually asked with a load of negativity or judgment, and generally after you’ve done something apparently stupid, like, trying to deadlift at Planet Fitness... But I ask this question in complete seriousness, to help inspire a deeper view of yourself so that maybe you can come out the other end a better person. But I realize that this could be an extremely loaded question. I’m sure when push comes to shove, you could probably find all sorts of problems with yourself. So, I want to narrow it down to finding one really major issue. And, I can guarantee that every single person in the world has one.
Your problem does not have to be completely negative. It does not have to be that you’re a pathological liar or something (although, if that’s your problem, you must acknowledge that), hell, your problem could be the complete opposite in your head or on paper. I knew a guy who over time found out he was too nice. Yeah, he was so overtly nice (for whatever reason), that it ended up effecting his life negatively. People found him annoying, they found him suspicious, or just plan too happy to be around. Now, he may be wrong, he may be right, I have no idea. That’s not what this post is supposed to be about. This post is meant to be a call-out to think about what your problem might be, and to work on making it NOT a problem anymore.
First, it’s probably worth me defining what I am calling a problem. I think that for this exercise, a problem is something that hinders your, and/or other people everyday activity. Think of it how they diagnose OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder); everyone has OCD tendencies, but when they begin to negatively affect your life is when you should probably do something about it. So, say you think your problem is something like drinking too much wine. Well, does your wine drinking cause you distress? Are you pissed off and unable to be dealt with if you don’t have it? Do you HAVE to have it? Are you difficult to deal with when you DO have it? Do you think about it all day and base your day around the time when you can finally have it? Well, if you answered yes to any of those (and I am sure there are plenty of other examples of negative effects) then yeah, this could be your problem. If no to all of them, than you know what? Maybe it’s actually not a problem.
Another thing I want to avoid doing here is picking out too many problems. I am certain everyone reading this could begin writing out a list of problems they think they have. But again, that’s not what this post is about. I want to diagnose one problem, so that you can approach dealing with it with a clear head. The second you begin listing off problem after problem you will overwhelm yourself and not be able to help yourself at all.
So, who wants to go first? Well, seeing how I’m writing this, I guess I will. But, I challenge all of you to post to comment about what you think your is. To be honest, I know that there are hundreds of people that read this (and if you told your friends and shared it, there would be thousands… just saying…), and I am really curious to know if my writing is actually doing something for all you. Yes, it’s great to know that people are reading, and I have gotten plenty of positive feedback (oh, and the main negative feedback is spelling and grammar! I am working on that, I promise). But will any of you actually step up and try something I am proposing here? I guess we’ll see…
My problem is that I over-analyze. When something happens to me, or to someone near to me, I break it down into more detail than is necessary. A lot of the times I find that doing this leads me to never act on the issue because all I am doing is thinking about it so much. I will think about how the something occurred and how it could have been avoided or changed. I think about why it occurred and how reactions were and why. I think about the person (whether it be me, or another person) and why they/I would have done such a something, and what would have caused them/I to do it. And my over analyzing tendencies goes so far as to making decisions. I will break down the choices so much that I just can’t do anything. I am a classic “analysis-paralysis” case.
Well, my goal isn’t to give ways to fix you, because hey, I’ no therapist or anything. But what I can do is let you know how I have been working on my problem. First, I was honest with myself about my problem. If I denied ever having one in the first place it would be impossible for me to improve as a person. Second, when I catch myself beginning to over-analyze, I try to stop it as early as I can, and do something that I know clears my mind. Generally it is getting outside and being moderately to very active. The second I do this, I am able to come to a conclusion about what I am feeling very quickly. So, perhaps I do have an answer for you, perhaps I am actually a great therapist in the end! When you find yourself faced with your problem, do something that will put you in a state of calm, happiness. When you are clear of negativity, you will be able to deal with your issues so much better. The cleaner you are, the easier it is to get rid of dirtiness.
This obviously begs the question: what makes you calm and happy? But there I go breaking down the situation way too much. Perhaps a post about that soon? I’m off to the outside world now to clear my head.
Never Stop, GET FIT
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