Man, this title is one of those things that could literally be left alone, nothing else stated besides those simple words. Or, it could be one of the most in-depth statements out there. Kind of like Michael Pollan’s statement of “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants”, so simple but confusing enough to most people that an insanely successful book was based off it. So what do I mean then, when I say “Do Something You Suck At”? Well, I guess it’s my more childish way of stating o of the lines from the lululemon manifesto: “do one thing that scares you every day”. The idea is that if you stick to what you know, what you are comfortable with, and what you are good at, you’ll never really get all that much better.
I know someone who was scared out of their mind to do a box jump. The idea of leaving the ground was so overwhelming it caused complete paralysis. Well that was no excuse in my mind and I did everything in my power top help motivate this person through their fears and just, freaking, do it. And you know what happened? Well yes, they got the box jump, easily in fact. But more than that, they got an even higher box, then an even higher one. And from that day forward, little events that once seemed like a major life hindrances became nothing but minor speed bumps. When you overcome something, you become more confident, stronger, happier and healthier.
But I want to talk more specifically about something else. Overcoming fears is great, I write about it a good bit and I am constantly thinking and talking about it. Today I want to talk about doing things you suck at. I know, I know, when you think about it it’s kind of a blurry line between sucking at something and being scared of something. We are generally scared of things we suck at whether we will admit to it or not. But rather than getting all psychological on you, I’ll just keep it basic. I suck at snatches, I suck at handstand push ups, I suck at swimming, I suck at NOT eating cookies, I suck at warming up properly, yeah, this list could go on. When I’m down my response to sucking at these things is to just do them minimally, and when I do do them, I’ll put less intensity into getting better at them. Hell, there will be times when I totally “forget” about how much I suck at them all together because I just don’t work on them at all! But if I’m really good at box jumps and deadlifts, and I want to be a serious CrossFitter, doing box jumps and deadlifts all the time are NOT going to do very much for me. Sure, I’ll get damn good at those two things, but I won’t really get all that much better as a well-rounded person. What I generally tend to do, or, when I’m “on my game”, is to program these things in on a daily basis. So, each and every day I am making a point to do at least one thing I suck at. The goal being that I suck less and less at more and more. This then leads me towards truly becoming good at the things I really want to be good at. If I want to be a highly competitive CrossFitter, I have to NOT SUCK!
How many times have you been faced with something where you know you are going to do poorly? What did you do? Did you turn and walk away from it? Did you itch and moan about it and then just go through the motions? Did you bitch and moan about it, do it anyway, then make excuses as to why it didn’t go so well? Or did you sack up and give it your all?
Given the nature of this post, I am sure you can assume which of those I would say is the right choice.
Here’s food for thought: you are standing on a cliff. 40 feet below there’s a body of water, dark, still, waiting for you to jump in. From this insane vantage point you can’t tell how far the water is. You blink and it seems like it’s ten feet away, another blink and its miles. You have no clue what’s underneath, could be rocks, damn, could be a gator for all you know. You just know that you’ve seen a couple other people jump in and they came out fine. Do you:
A. Holler in sheer joy as you pounce off the rock
B. Shimmy your feet to the edge, pause, then leap
C. Pace back and forth for about 10 minutes before cautiously jumping
D. Turn back, and climb down
What you do here says a ton about your personality and how you approach life in general. But the best thing you can do as you read this is be honest with yourself, pick the answer that best suits you, then ask yourself why. If you care to share, post away and share. If you’d rather keep it to yourself, that’s fine too. All I ask is you take the time to figure out what kind of person you are. When you have a second, take out a paper and pen and write down 10 things that you suck at. Anything. They don’t have to be fitness related at all, just 10 things you know you are not good at doing. Now try to do the first one tomorrow, the second the next day, third the next and so on. Feel free to share your experience!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Why do you lift?
Why do you run?
Why do you suffer?
Why do you smile?
Why do you get angry?
Why do you hang out with friends?
Why do you spend time alone?
Why do you read?
Why do you watch TV?
Why do you listen to music?
Why do you challenge yourself?
Why do you make excuses?
Why do you stand back up?
Why do you search for answers?
Is it to become a better person? To internalize all the information you receive from all the different resources you can find and find a way to use it to make your life, and the lives of everyone around you better?
Or do you use it to judge? Do you use it to justify potentially negative actions on your own part? Do you use it to learn enough about others to talk behind their backs about how stupid their lives must be?
It is human to complain and judge. It is human to be negative and down. It is human to be angry. But if these things dictate your life; if you let them take over your personality and become what defines you, it’s time to make a change.
Stop using others as your gauge for how life should be lived. Take a good look at yourself, I mean a damn, long, hard, good look within yourself and think about what it is YOU want in life. Are you doing everything to attain that/those thing(s)? Have your surrounded yourself with people who support your needs? Have you pursued the lifestyle, the career that will satisfy you the greatest? Are you every day becoming more and more the person you truly want to be?
What are you good at? If you know what it is (even if it’s many things), are you living that/those? If you don’t know what it is, are you doing anything about that? Is your life hurting or helping yourself? Is your life hurting or helping others? Is your life compromised? Are you settling? Are you happy? Are you pursuing happiness?
Sometimes it’s worth sitting down and asking yourself some of these loaded questions. If you’ve never done this than you are missing out on a HUGE part of what I think life is all about: healthy growth. You think this is cheesy, overwhelming, pointless, and/or too difficult; well, than it’s YOU who should be doing this more than anyone. Swallow your pride, or what ever it is holding you back from learning about YOU, and make the time. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can never truly take care of another. If you don’t love yourself, you can never truly love another.
Why do you do the things you do?
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Ok, so this weekend I traveled up to upstate NY with Lindsey and her brother to run one of those Warrior Dashes. Turned out to be a damn fun time, and got me brainstorming so many different things. First off, what a perfect concept! It's easy enough that anyone can do it, but tough enough so that you can't just sprint right through without getting a little challenged. I mean, just traversing through muddy water is enough of a curve ball to slow you down a little! I opted to hang with Lindsey and her brother and had such a fun time sloshing through the mud and navigating all the crazy obstacles they had in store for us. I was amazed at the fact that we signed up for a 2:30pm on Sunday heat, and it was packed from registration to end! And that's closing in on the end of the second day of heats! What a successful concept these people have come up with.
While some of the elitist competitors out there might not enjoy the laid-back feel of the whole event, I can't really see any real negatives on the whole thing. It saw people of all ages and fitness levels. I mean, it was not all that off to see mostly out of shape goofballs out there just wanting to play around with everyone. And in my mind, there is nothing but AWESOME things to say about an even that inspires anyone and EVERYONE to get outside and run around!
We got ourselves all checked in, in the craziness and hoards of people dressed up in all sorts of entertaining get-up. We then walked on up to the start line, through even more craziness and got to waiting for our heat to get going. About a mile of straight up the mountain (they are generally held at ski resorts) across the ridge and back down, that was the course. And for the obstacles we had three different water traps, a slip n' slide, walls, tires in all forms of tricky ways, old cars and trucks to climb over and plenty of rope, cargo nets and boards to climb all over. Needless to say, they were not really easy per say, in fact, a couple of them were actually pretty damn hard. They were just perfectly tough!
And to top it all off, a massive turkey leg to feast on afterwards! Can't really think of too much else better than that!
Back in the DC area now, ready to train hard and revamp the nutrition plan to see what else I can learn! Oh, and the Fitness Survival Challenge in less than a week away!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
One of the things I love about my job is watching people do things they never thought they could. From forward rolls, to handstands, to box jumps to lifting crazy weights, it never fails that if you focus on the right things, you can do a lot more than you think you're capable of. I talk endlessly to clients, athletes, friends and family about the benefits of CrossFit/unconventional athletic training, and just how it can positively effect your life. Besides the obvious answers: less fat, reduced risk of injury (this one needs a post for itself, later this week), better sleep, so on, so forth, I always like to talk about an athletes ability to function in a greater amount of situations than others. The idea that being uncomfortable physically and mentally is not so scary it must be avoided.
For those of you who have trained with me, or have been to a good CrossFit gym, you should instantly understand what I am talking about here. That feeling that your about to fall apart, that if you do one more rep, or go for one more second you're just going to crumble to the floor. And what ends up happening when you actually DO that one more rep, or go for that extra second? Well, you just keep going. It's in that moment that you grow as a person. Its those moments that I am always hoping people will push themselves towards, and that I am always looking for myself.
Challenging yourself to push that extra bit will not only change your fitness for the better,but it will dramatically improve your life as well. If you become the type of person who is willing and open to push yourself beyond the comfortable, and to try new and potentially frightening things, you'll take those same challenges in other areas as well. Risks will become exciting, you'll see more, explore more, experience more and achieve more. Failure will become a stepping stone for all your successes rather than the thing that stops you from trying.
When you miss a rep in the gym, push yourself to the end, you immediately realize more about yourself then any amount of therapy (not a medical fact, just me trying to prove a point). When you make these realizations, well, the world just become a more exciting place to live in!
Just a thought I had today...
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Alright everyone, The Courage Games returns for their third installment and this one is gearing up to be an absolute blast!
Survival Fitness Challenge 2011
Put your training to the test this coming August by joining CrossFitters (and other athletes alike) to get out of real-life emergency situations! While your typical CrossFit throwdown sees barbells, kettlebells, pull up bars, med balls and all that, The Courage Games keeps up it;s unique programming and goes even farther by putting all competitors into challenges that test their TRUE general physical preparedness.
Cars, ropes, sandbags, hammers, trees, walls, buildings, rocks, hills, and so much more are all potential obstacles in this 4-workout competition. You can expect to move heavy things, prove your agility, coordination and overall cardiovascular and muscular endurance throughout the day. Then you can expect to feast on meat, veggies and drink to celebrate when all is over! So save the date and plan to meet us over at the Washington Waldorf School grounds, just across from The Courage Performance Garage to show that your training over the years is actually doing something for you!
Here are all the details:
Saturday, August 20th 2011. 9am start time. Be there at 8am to register PLEASE!
Washington Waldorf School
4800 Sangamore Rd. Bethesda, MD 20816
After Party at The Garage
5000 Westpath Terrace, Bethesda, MD 20816 (right behind school)
$25 for all competitors
Base storylines for each workout will find their way out on the blog here around the end of July/early August, so those will offer some minimal hints, but, life isn't planned, so don't expect to know what's going to hit you until wham, it hits you:-)
All competitors will get a little goodie bag, and awards will be given to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers, male and female.
There will be water and snacks and a few other things for sale there, but I highly recommend you bring your own stuff (food/drink/change of clothes etc). There is a shopping center about a quarter mile away with a CVS, Safeway, Starbucks and an awesome sandwich place. Heats and such will NOT be planned ahead, so if you end up leaving you'll run the risk of missing the start of a workout (again, it's pretty lenient, so we'll probably wait for you, but please try not to be "that guy" if you don;t bring enough stuff and have to go stock up...)
This is the most informal of The Courage Games Series, so there is no official registration. If you want in, just email me HERE and/or head to our FACEBOOK PAGE and post that you are wanting to join in the fun! I am capping the whole thing at 50 competitors, so make sure you show up on time or a little early!
Please bring your friends! There is nothing like hanging out all day in the great outdoors being around people who are pushing their own physical and mental limits. And this particular even is going to be extra exciting (the workouts are going to be VERY unique)!
Everyone will be invited to hang out afterwards at The Garage, to grill, eat, drink and chill by the pool. But, if you plan to join the party, you better bring something to share with everyone!
Start getting amped up people!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I took a moment while at the gym today to breeze through my thoughts of this past year. What a year it has been! I rally took off as a CrossFitter, not only on the competitive front, but also as a coach. I attempted the biggest physical challenge of my life with a bicycle ride across the country. I Hosted my first ever competition. And, geeze, I moved in with my girl, in California. And with what little time I had left in the year, I affiliated, found my own gym and began a new life on a different coast.
I have so much to be thankful for, be proud of, land earn from. Everything that has happened has lead me to this moment right now and I have one option in my mind: move forward, become better, and grow.
Right now I am faced with yet another huge challenge and life decision; and while I am super stressed and anxious about it all, I know that with everything I have figured out up to this point, only good things will come from what I end up doing. I know what I want out of my life: I want to constantly challenge myself, and share my experiences with the world. I want to help, support and inspire health and fitness to anyone and everyone, and I want to live with my overwhelmingly wonderful girlfriend Lindsey. I learned something pretty powerful from my mother and that is to every day do what it takes to support what you love. In my eyes, my life is a constant pursuit of happiness, and I will enjoy the process every day.
Just feeling a bit sappy right now is all. I had this plan to put together a huge, long, insightful post/article for the day, but I have been so out of it mentally over the past four days or so. I'll snap out of it soon, I know that much. And with being able to get out to the hills, and in the gym any time I want, I'll figure all this out so much faster. I also have ths awesome CrossFit Community Month to do stating tomorrow! As of now I have 24 CrossFit Affiliates confirmed to visit and this next month is going to epic! I'm excited to meet so many cool people and challenge myself so much. With my new Flip video camera that Lindsey just got me I am going to be getting some damn sweet footage over the next 30 days. My goal is really try to spread the word of how great being part of a fit community is, so if you read this blog, please spread the word to friends and family. All you have to do is enter people email address in the box at the top of this page! Haha, that's the way to do it!
Well, happy New Year everyone. I hope you all had an awesome 2010, and that it leans to an even better 2011.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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