_ Well yeah, it’s been a while, I know. To all you who have been pestering me about my lack of blogging, I apologize, I know, sorry, I am back with a seemingly endless list of things to write about!
First off I want to make sure everyone is aware of the slight new design change to the website. I have decided to take down the posting of a daily workout for my gym for the time being as I feel like it is not utilized in the manner it should be. If you have interest in my programming, just shoot me an email and we can get something figured out! The “Workout” blog is now dedicated to my own adventures in training and will see a daily post on the details of my own training towards this coming years CrossFit Games season. This blog right here is now completely dedicated to my wonderfully exciting rants on all things health, fitness and so on that you all have grown to love so much!
So, on to the ranting! It is the end of December, and with this time comes all the empty dedications to crazy big changes in the New Year. Well, I have posted time and time again about goal setting and so on, so I don’t really see the point in doing something like that now. This time around, I want to talk a little about being realistic. Now, this is not meant to be some sort of downer, if you haven’t got from me, MOST of the time I am a pretty optimistic person. What I mean to touch on is how so many people tend to do a combination of a couple things when wanting to achieve goals that pretty much screw them from the start. First, the obvious one, are your goals even attainable? I mean, if I write out a list of like 20 things I want to have accomplished in 6 months, it seems like I’d be setting myself up to fail pretty big time if I have yet to achieve anything even close to that in my entire life. It’d probably be a good bit smarter of me to just pick 1-3 of those goals to focus on so I do not overwhelm myself, and I can really focus in.
The second point is a little more psychological. It was inspired by a baseball client of mine who was getting very caught up in wanting to add more and more weight to his lift. His form was falling apart, he was having trouble doing the lift how I had prescribed it that day, but he knew that back at school he had done this lift with a good 30-40 more pounds than what he was doing on this day. I saw him going to the plate stacks and asked what he was doing. He said he was adding more weight. I said no. As I do (because I am not a “crap coach” and just tell people what to do with no explanation and then wonder why nobody ever learns anything…cough, cough…), I took him aside and had a little conversation about why. His goal was to lift more weight, because more weight = strong. My argument was that his goal should be to get better at baseball; that was why he came to me in the first place after all. Yes, more weight generally leads to more strength, but if your back is ripping to shreds and you can barely hold on to the bar, I can assure you, there is very little in terms of gains going on there. To get into a little more detail, we talked about the following:
Work on your body’s weaknesses; focus on the supplemental lifts, even if you have perfect form. If your core muscles suck, focus on those. If your knees are weak, focus on those (all this is simplified for this blog as writing details on how to supplement for a weak core is completely and totally dependent on the individual training and how their body works). Then, when you are working properly and completely in unison, your heavy lifts will skyrocket and you’ll get really freaking strong. If you just add weight every day and keep trying to lift it in the sloppy way you always have been , you’ll make very small to no gains, and you’ll probably just end up with a pretty major injury sooner or later.
The point to this story was that your approach to achieving goals must make sense. If I write out that I want to snatch 250# by the end of spring, then go in the gym every day and just keep trying to add more weight without ever actually perfecting my form and working through my imbalances, it would take a miracle for me to reach my goal. Yet this is what people do! People claim they want to lose weight, get stronger, do so many impressive and grand things, but then fail to plan accordingly. If you want to lose 10# in fat, stop eating like you have been, because the way you have been eating got you to where you are today. If you want to get stronger, like MUCH stronger, you MUST change your program to accommodate to path you now want to take.
To you use me as an example. I suck at handstand push ups (most body weight movements where my feet are not on the floor I suck at). So, if I want to make it to the CrossFit games, I would assume I can’t really suck at these things; so I need to get better. Should I wake up every morning and just try to do handstand push ups expecting all of a sudden one morning to do 30 straight? No, that would be INSANE! I can’t do them, how would doing them all the time really help me if I, uh, can’t? Like the story above, it probably won’t hurt me, yet, I mean, I may be able to get 2 or 3 after a few months of bashing my head into the floor. But, if I want real gains, I need to focus on the why, design a path for who, then follow that path so that I can actually achieve this goal.
Things will generally not just happen for you if you simply right them down and then go about doing what you’ve always been doing. You need to think a little but more deeply.
Well, that’s all I got for you today folks. Hope you all enjoy the last day of 2011. Hope you all can look back at this year with a smile on your face and know that the next will be even brighter and better!
Happy New Year!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
These past couple weeks for me have proved one major thing for me: approach things with the right frame of mind and GREAT things happen! I have taken so many things off my plate, and this has allowed me to get so much more done with the most important things. I have officially opened my temporary gym space, my training gains have been taking off, my recovery and mobility is getting greater and i have been feeling all around in much better spirits than in a while!
So how has this happened? Well, it took me bearing down a little bit and telling myself what was important. Here’s the thought process that I went through:
I made a set time to get myself completely alone (normally I would head out to the woods for this, but this time, I just sat on my couch). Then I asked the question: What do you want?
I wanted to do everything in my power to make it to the CrossFit Games in 2012, I wanted to open a gym, and I wanted to get my Courage Bars officially up for sale! That’s it. So how would I be able to stick with these basic, “simple” goals? Well, by taking all the other ones I had (and trust me, I had a LOT), making sure they were all written down, and putting them off in a folder somewhere for another time. Then, to help my crazy, spastic brain out, if another idea came to me (at least one a day, seriously….) I would quickly write it down and stock it in the “idea and future plans” folder. Now, all of my energy would either be directed directly towards the three things I want the most right now, or, into learning how to chill out. So, napping, resting, stretching, deep breathing, walking around and spacing out are all things I am very quickly teaching myself are GOOD things to do.
The brutal truth of it all is as follows: I did all that stuff all the time! I mean seriously people, how much time to you truly spend each day doing nothing productive? All I have been focusing on is allowing those times to genuinely be relaxing for me. If I am going to zone out in from of the computer for an hour or two, or in front of the TV, it will be because that is exactly the plan. I won’t stress about it, I won’t panic about “all this other stuff I have to get done”, I’ll allow myself to do the things I need to do to feel happy and healthy. This is incredibly relaxing and peaceful, seriously; it’s awesome. And, interestingly enough, it is literally what all those self-help advice givers are all about. Be honest with yourself about the things you do, and all of a sudden you release most of your stress.
The main change for me was learning how to convince myself that doing nothing wasn’t a waist of time. See, I would sit with y computer, doing “work”, watching TV shows on Hulu for like 4 hours. The fact of the matter is, I really wasn’t getting all that much work done. So, rather than create all this made up stress, and if I really did spend a good deal of each day just chilling out, reading or watching TV programs, I might as well enjoy the rest time to the fullest. All I can say is that my stress has been going away. It feels great. And my gains in the gym are finding their way WAY back up!
So, if you’re planning on shilling out, CHILL OUT. Take your relaxation just as seriously as your work and your work will be that much better. Give it a shot.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
But just with writing! While I have not been posting on any sort of schedule, plenty has been going on. I am re-committing to getting back on the writing, so be sure to read away through the holidays! So what's been going on? Well, I am now working out of a temporary gym space out behind White Flint Mall in North Bethesda. This is not the final stop for Courage Performance unfortunately (but fortunately, the last stop will be not so far away for so many people!). I am in the process of negotiating a lease at a spot that is about as ideal as anything I have ever seen. Fingers are crossed!
What else? Well, in terms of training i have been feeling very, very good. Friday I hit 1RM deadlifts in an empty Garage and was able to PR by 30# with a 535# pull!! So stoked about that one. Today I hit a 200# snatch. While this should be warm up weight for someone who has other lifts like I do, I have struggled so much with Olympic lifts that my numbers hover where my technique keeps me. This actually was a PR for squat snatches for me by 15#! Again, pretty stoked. This Saturday coming up I have competition out at CrossFit Hoboken, and the first is a snatch ladder. I fully expect to hit another big PR there. And on that note, please make sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter over the weekend as I'll be giving constant updates as things moves along.
Food update? Well, it hasn't been perfect I can tell you that much. But as stated before, I'm not too worried. I am feasting on plenty of food to keep up with the work-load of my training. My plan is to clean it up around January once i am feeling real good with my strength work and begin to cut the body fat down a little to make the running and gymnastics a but easier!
Ok, enough of the update crap, I know how badly you all want to keep completely up to date with all the inner workings of my life! No, no, let me get a little into some other stuff that I've been missing writing about for a while. Something that's been on my mind the past few weeks is leadership. I have been talking with and dealing with more coaches and trainers recently as I've been looking into expanding the company. What I have found is hours upon hours of conversation on what it means to be a good leader (while I speak of coaches and trainers in particular, i am sure it can be translated to any other form of leadership). I know there are plenty of points to be made here, but one that has been on the forefront of my mind has been the idea of having your students (I'll refer to them as "athletes" from here on out) respect you. I do NOT understand in any way why a leader would choose to scare the living crap out of his/her athletes. A great way to test how your athletes feel about you, or how you as an athlete feel about your leader ("coach" from here on out): how does the athlete react when the coach walks into the room? If there is a bit of excitement, a "hey coach!", a smile, a bearing down and getting ready sort of feel, then, I am willing to bet that coach is a damn good leader. But, if the coach walks in the room and it becomes silent, uncomfortable, stiff, and even awkward, well, that coach sucks! This does not necessarily mean the coach does not know how to coach his/her sport. It merely means he/she is a bad leader. I say this because I know plenty of people who are incredibly good at teaching the materials they need to teach but are horrible at motivating their athletes and making them feel comfortable challenging themselves each and every day.
I really want to touch more on how to react to this as an athlete rather than come at it from a coached perspective. I have been on the athletes side plenty, and perhaps that is why I have taken the time to find the best ways to become a halfway decent coach myself. So, if you're an athlete and don;t respect your coach, are scared of your coach, intimidated by your coach, feel uncomfortable around your coach, so on and so forth. Well, the most obvious response is to leave, go somewhere else! If that is not an option, go talk to him/her. Perhaps this should be the first step to be honest. One would assume that a crap coach probably won't take to criticism of concern very well, but it's always worth a try. After all, you are practicing your sport for YOU, not for them. And you never know, maybe the coach will open up an you things could change. But if he/she gets pissed at you for trying to be open and expressing your concerns, well, find a way to GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE. STAT!
But I'm sure there are still a bunch of you that can;t get out of the situation despite all of this crap (for example: a young athlete who can't just leave school becuase their sports coach isn't all that great), what do you do? What did I do? I nodded and smiled when the coach told me to do something I KNEW was wrong, then I searched like mad for coaches I thought were great and that I could truly believe in and practiced what they taught me. You see, sometimes you can;t escape from a crap situation. But what you can do is change they way you respond to the crap.
Always question, always voice your opinion and concern, always challenge. If people don't like that, do what you an to not be surrounded by those people, they will do nothing but bring you down.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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