_ 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.
Yesterday at The Outlaw Training Camp we (around 40 of us I might add) headed over to a huge pool in Naples, Florida for a swim workout. While I'm sure some people hated it, and I openly admit to not being the best in the water, it felt like goofing off with a bunch of kids!
It just reminded me that no matter what you are doing, no matter how stressed your life is, how difficult things are, it's always worth having some fun on a somewhat regular basis. And the best part: it's not very hard to have fun! Make a game out of your workout! Get outside, jump around in a pool. After a few minutes your inner child, no matter how much you've suppressed that little dude, will start to creep out. As many of you know, I probably spend too much of my life living like a child (as in, I play around a ton. Well, maybe I act like one a little too much as well...) and yesterday that guy was having a blast! We jumped in the pool, did handstand push ups against a fence, broad jumps in the grass and pistol squats. No joke people, even though my heart rate was through the roof, my shoulders were dying, and I really would have been happy sleeping in the sun with a burger or something, I couldn't help but have a freaking blast!
If you take things too seriously, life every second of your life completely regimented, or under a timeline, how the hell do you expect to have any real fun? Oh, and by the way, I'm not talking about going out drinking, staying out way too late, eating crappy food and all that for fun. I am not opposed to doing that here and there; but, if that is your go-to diagnosis for getting some fun in your life, you're kind of missing something pretty important in my opinion. And if it totally sucks to go to the gym, to workout, to be active, to goof off with friends while getting your heart rate elevated, well shoot man, get off the plan and make a game out of it! Or, even better, go play a game!
Today we have some more learning to do, some more workouts to do, and this is such an awesome group of people to be around! I'll give a full recap tomorrow. Hope everyone is having an awesome weekend!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Updates before I get into this post: An “Into The Wild” detailed post will be coming out tomorrow, along with registration. The main thing I want to get out there is that I’ll be capping the weekend at 30 people, so make sure to register early! Also, I will post here and will be posting it over and over again; there will be NO REFUNDS! There is a lot of planning going into this thing and the second you commit to this, I will have no choice but to assume you will be there. So, set your weekend aside, and be there!!
Respect, humility, thoughts and prayers go out today as we all remember the incredible tragedy and inspirational stories of this day 10 years ago. I is true, we will never forget.
On to todays post! I woke up insanely early today (4:30am) to walk 2+ miles to the Potomac River to join about 4000 other athletes in the 2011 Nations Triathlon (the swim was cancelled thanks to the crazy flooding from the storms over the last couple weeks). I finished the 40k bike and 10k run in 2 hours and 10 minutes. I struggled with being passed by so many at the start of the bike, but after looking into my prep for this thing, I chose to just enjoy being out there, sweating alongside so many others on such a wonderfully sunny day. But my struggles, and my complete lack of interest in taking the even as seriously as I know I should have got me thinking about who I am as an athlete. You see, in the past 3 months I have biked a total of zero times (besides commuting, which I guess is a pretty good amount…), I ran no more than 4 miles at any time, and I swam twice. I then drove out to the Virgin Music Festival where I hung outside rocking out to music for about 8 hours, got home at 12:30 am, got to sleep at 1am and promptly woke up for this race.
Now, there’s a little part of me that thinks, “oh man, I am so cool, I can just do whatever I want and show up to fitness events and do a respectable job”. This is the elitist, bad ass CrossFitter in me… But then, the actual intelligent side of me comes out and asks: what the hell are you doing man, why don’t you take anything seriously?”
I struggled with this all day today, and I have decided to just let the floodgates open here on my blog about my confused relationship with sports.
For my entire life I have been pretty damn good at anything active. I could play pretty much any sport at a highly competitive level, I adapted so well to exploring and just being human. As I grew up I found that the one sport I loved the most, baseball, was all I really wanted to do so I focused all my attention on it. No joke, I carried a handwritten note in my wallet everywhere I went, written by my mother, that read “what did you do to make yourself a better baseball player today?”. I would commit to do something every single day of my life that I though would make me better at the sport I loved so damn much. This incredibly focused attention to baseball led to my general success at two division 1 colleges and then 1 year of pro ball in Europe and two in America. It also led to me viewing baseball as the mist important thing in my life. Over girls, school, and sometimes even family.
When baseball was over for me, it only took me about 4 or 5 months to find something new to dedicate myself to completely, marathon. I trained for my first like it was nobodies business; I never missed a training run, even if it meant running at 1 in the morning. My goal was to run a sub-4, and that’s what I did. Then, I was challenged to run another one and that is exactly when the Josh Courage so many of you know became the Josh Courage I am. I fee as though I sometimes define myself buy trying to figure out what I can and can’t do physically. I ran 10 more marathons that year, along with a 50-mile ultra, along with continued powerlifting, basic CrossFit training and for 4 months out of that year, and extreme diet that I would NEVER recommend to someone running a marathon every month. Since then I have done like 4 triathlon, 5 or 6 CrossFit competitions, got into jiu-jitsu, yoga, climbing and exploring. Shoot, if two weeks ago you challenged me to try stand up paddle boarding, I would probably be out racing by the weekend!
I am really good at all these things, but I do not excel at any. And the crazy thing in my mind is that I am really good at all these things while never really putting the attention and effort I put into baseball or that first marathon. I have created such a psychological need to do freaking everything that I don’t allow myself the ability to ever see how good I could be at any one thing. And every time I tell myself that I am going to focus in on a program, it lasts about a month and then you’ll find me out giving something else a try. And if you’re super close with me, you’ll probably hear me talking about this new challenge in my life and all the crazy ideas I have for incorporating it into my life. I swear, I must challenge myself to some crazy event (pre-existing or invented by me) every 4-5 days.
So why can’t I focus on just one? Why, if I am supposed to be some sort of expert at health and fitness, do I have such a hard time committing myself to any sot of program? Well, I think it’s two things: curiosity and fear. The curiosity speaks for itself I think. I mean, I LOVE fitness. So, if I’m on the Internet and read about SealFit, I want to do it! Or, if a buddy of mine tells me about a triathlon coming up next weekend, I want to do it! And when I try out surfing for the first time and I feel really good, and have a blast, I want to do it every weekend and see how far I could go! I have a never-ending curiosity about what I am capable of doing. Fear on the other hand is a little more confusing. What the hell could I be scared of if all I ever do is attack any challenge with no fear? Well, as strange as it sounds, I might be afraid of success, afraid of failure, afraid of commitment, and/or afraid of losing my curiosity and drive to continue to challenge myself. Being afraid of success just doesn’t make sense to me, but it’s not the most far-fetched idea that I wouldn’t know what to do if I all of a sudden was at the top of my field at a specific sport. Would that mean I wouldn’t have the time or ability to do and try other things? This actually ties onto my last point there: if I am so successful at a sport that all I can do is focus on that, would I not only lose my ability to try new things, but also the desire? Yeah man, I am scared of that.
Fear of failure is pretty common. On the surface I am in no way at all scared of failing. I actually love it as it itself is the strongest challenge out there. Failure challenges you to keep going, get back up and try again. But I think this goes a little deeper I think. Perhaps the idea of getting myself to be at the highest level of a sport brings out a fear failing at that level. If I finish in the top 20 at the CrossFit Games Regionals, I don’t have to deal with making it to the actual Games, stressing out about wanting to win the whole thing, and then dealing with potentially failing there.
This idea is SO damn hard for me to even write about as just an idea. I passionately hate that this exists in me. I hope it’s just a little because the idea of excelling at something is so appealing to me.
To be honest, I don’t really know what else to write about with this one. Just writing that idea above has left me completely lost in thought about how to figure out if this is actually going on in my head. I wanted to write about the idea of being scared of commitment, because I think there is a pretty decent part of me that is with all this fitness stuff. But I can’t seem to organize my thoughts enough to get those points down on paper. So, that being said, I hope this little stream of consciousness inspires some serious self-thought about what and why you are doing what you are doing. If you want to truly be successful at anything in life, you NEED to understand exactly what it is you’re doing. Take the time and think about these things, be honest, be BRUTALLY honest and see what happens.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I am guessing that this has a little bit to do with the insane crash I had a few weeks back, but I have been driving a LOT less lately. As life would have it there are a few situations here and there (baseball games and a new one-on-one client out in VA) where a car or ride is needed, but besides that, it's been my feet or my bike. Interestingly enough, this has led to a pretty interesting phenomenon involving my metabolism: it has been skyrocketing. The most obvious change for me has been that this and last week I have been either running home from a zipcar drop-off about 3 miles, or biking home from a game about 5-8 miles. These little spurts of totally aerobic conditioning are happening after my dinner and around an hour or two before I go to bed (I've been having some almond butter and celery before bed, so there's a little fuel between). Now, as I've been learning more and more over the past couple months about how I work, I can assure you that my findings are very personal. What I mean by this is that what works for me just might not work for you. I have case upon case of people doing things just like myself and it not working. A couple examples are one old client of mine who mixed in a good deal of aerobic conditioning. I actually had to suggest to this client to cut back on it as I thought is was not only negatively effecting their in-gym gains, but also their overall health outside of the fitness realm. The second they cut back on the easy conditioning, things began to turn around like crazy. The other example was one where I suggested the whole "eat a meal every 3 hours" that has been working wonders for me. This person just felt beyond stuffed and weighed down from that and had to cut back on the consistency of meals.
Shoot, as I write this my head is flooding over with other examples of how people just work differently from each other. The well-followed Mark Sisson just wrote on his blog about meal timing and came to a very similar conclusion. And I realize I am getting a little away from my point of this post (about becoming more active...). So Let's leave this one at this: that what one person does is not what everyone should do. Try things out (make sure you give it at LEAST two months, preferably more, to really see if it works or not) and find what works best for you. You have your whole life to figure it all out, use it!
So, how do you become more active? Well, I have one client who walks 4 miles to work twice a week, rather than drive (he walks or metros home in the evening). I literally just talked to a woman today who rides her bike to and from work twice a week. If you grab a coffee in the morning, or sometime during work, find a way to avoid the closer cafe and head to one 5+ blocks further away. When you read the paper, or watch the news in the morning, hop on a stationary bike. Tim Ferriss heads to the bathroom when he's out to dinner and bangs out 40 air squats!
I understand that this sort of thing s probably one of the easiest to find an excuse NOT to do. So, trick yourself into it. Park your car at a friends house a mile or two from yours one night. You'll have to run or walk to your place, then, when you wake up in the morning, just like that you have a nice little early AM jog. Another way to "force yourself" into becoming a bit more active is by signing up for some form of endurance event and inevitably you'll be a bit more motivated to get prepared. The goal in general is to give it a try for a week or so. If you end up feeling awesome, sweet, you'll probably end up sticking to it becuase it works for you! If, on the other hand, your feel like crap, perhaps it's just not the right thing for you. But you'll never know if you don't try so go do it!
In other news, rest day for me! Along with training a bunch of clients and riding my bike to the baseball game and back I am feeling really ready for tomorrows strength and hill sprints!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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