It's been a while since I've written about my own programming and how it's going, so I thought I'd share. It's been going well. I've steered away from the classic CrossFit plan and more towards a straight up strength and weightlifting focus, it's been fun to say the least! While I do enjoy getting my butt kicked in the gym with a brutal metcon here and there, I do very much enjoy the day to day demands of a very serious strength training program. I am watching my numbers creep up slowly but surely, and when I keep my food in check, my mood, energy, and weight all keep getting better and better.
The best part about the program as of late is that i have a group of people to workout with. Team Courage has been a slowly building project at the gym and as of now we have five really serious members, and another 3 who are a tad less involved. The energy around this group looking through the programming and hitting the gym hard has been one of the best aspects of my training I've ever had. Couple that with the feeling of pride I have every day when I walk into y own gym with the big orange wall and my logo on it, I just feel good about where everything is going.
So, the program itself is using three major sources as its motivation: the strength program I wrote two years ago that saw 100% success rate in all athletes who've gone through the whole thing, a very, very base level conceptual feel for the Bulgarian Method of training, and some aspects to how a few of the Catalyst Athletics weightlifting programs have been designed. I can comfortably say that this program is about 98% mine (most/all good programs use tons of research and ideas taken from other programs already in existence) and to be honest, I have an idea of what will come out of it at the end, but I am really curious to see just how big some of our gains will be.
We are pulling heavy weights from the blocks each day (working 80% and up on all sets) and then our strength work is seeing about 8+ programed sets each day. It's pretty brutal having to work up to 100+% of your 5RM or 3RM and then head back down to 85% and work back up again. The combination of load and volume is something that has taken a little to adapt to. But, I feel like I'm adapting pretty well and I am feeling stronger each day. My drill work with the Olympic lifts is now consistently only 10-15# below my best ever lift. While this is depressing that my 1RM sucks, it's promising that I am getting more efficient and consistent at heavy loads. Here's what a typical week looks like:
Monday: snatch, squat, snatch strength accessory
Tuesday: snatch, clean and jerk (light, drill)
Wednesday: clean and jerk, bench, front squat, c+j accessory
Thursday: snatch, deadlift, strength accessory
Saturday: snatch, clean and jerk, squat
It's been intense, but real fun. I am hoping to get to my first ever Weightlifting meet this coming weekend, but it's way down in San Diego and I am not sure I can get there. We'll see. Either way, it'd be SO much fun to actually compete at this stuff. I am setting up goals slowly but surely.
My food has gotten under control and I am down to around 235# consistently. I think that I'd feel my best around 225-230 and I'll probably be there next week and will plan to stay there for the next few training cycles. I have a lot going on, and all going in the right direction, so that's cool in my head.
Have a good deal of business and personal stuff going on that could be a lot better, and I will be filling everyone in on the details about all that pretty soon. TONS of growth for the company coming up but I want to keep some of it under wraps until things are 100% confirmed. I will also fill people in with some of the crummy stuff that has led to all this good stuff as well. Should be an exciting few months for sure. I do like writing about my workouts and programs, so I'll be sure to make a point to continue doing that as the summer progresses.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Happiness. Joy. Positivity. Beauty. All these things and everything good are always right there in front of you, it's your state of mind that allows you to see them all or not. Have you ever looked at something and just didn't give it the time of day, just walked on by, or even scoffed at it thinking how insignificant it is? Then, all of a sudden one day you see the same thing and you are blown away at how amazing it makes you feel? The thing itself did not change; it’s you that did.
I knew all along during my time of negative thoughts and extreme lack of motivation that I would find it all again. After all, I have always prided myself as being one who saw the bright side of life, and spent more time seeing the good in things than the bad. And it's just so funny to think that out of the blue you can see the world in a whole new light. I'm not about to say that I am ready to go skipping through the woods, rejoicing and singing songs or anything. All I am saying is that I have remembered what my purpose is in life and have re-focused my attention to what I like and what makes me feel alive and good. There are still bad things there, but I am systematically moving them away from me so that I can be the person I've known I wanted to be for so long.
It's incredibly powerful, and awesomely self-strengthening to realize that it's completely up to you to feel good or bad. If something is happening in your life, you ALWAYS have a choice to keep it, or get rid of it. I know that there are times when that legitimately feels impossible, but the fact of the matter is, you really do have the power to be in control.
When you see your life spiraling in the wrong direction. When you are getting sick, getting overly stressed, acting out, expressing anger, sorrow, fear, and you are becoming generally more angry for any reason at all. It could be your job, your family, your relationship, your living situation, literally anything. You need to take a moment here and there to assess whether or not some of the things in your life, or the choices you make on a daily basis are the right ones for you. Here's a bit of a light-hearted example. Over the past few months I have been watching a crap-ton of TV shows on my computer. No joke, I would probably spend an average of about 4 hours a day watching shows (honestly, it had to have been more than that!). I was doing this to avoid having to face the fact that I was acting like a little bitch and avoiding all the things I should be doing. I was feeling so down, sorry for myself, and so many other things that I overwhelmed my own brain and just decided I would do my best to check out. I didn’t go run around the woods, I didn't go climb a tree by the water. I didn't hit an extra workout, hell, half the time I didn't even hit ONE workout. I could watch an entire episode of Arrested Development without even cracking a smile. Now that is freaking bad! The things that made me happy were right next to me all along though. Sort of hanging out, waiting for me to give them attention because they knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid them forever. I guess my happiness is smarter than me.
And all it took was a little change of perspective. A little time where I could rip myself away from the negative things bringing me down, where I didn't have a computer and couldn't escape to my TV shows. When all of a sudden you have a handful of incredibly supportive people next to you, asking you to join them in things you know you love doing, rather than you having to find the motivation to do them yourself, your eyes will just flash open. For me it happened with three major things: running up the crazy sand hills at Baker Beach and looking over the Golden Gate Bridge while gasping for breath and dripping sweat. That was nice. Climbing a tree in Golden Gate Park, somewhere away from the cars and people. And walking a freezing, windy, empty beach at Ocean Beach. Just a couple days and all of a sudden I could not keep fooling myself into being a lazy, negative person. My natural personality reemerged and it was so unbelievably invigorating and exciting.
For me, it was simply putting myself in a situation where people that naturally supported me doing the things that make me feel good could surround me. And where I could not avoid doing things I liked to do. I was able to remove all negativity from my life for a couple days and that was all it took. Maybe all I needed was an hour, or perhaps I would have needed a week or a month. Either way, the simplest way to do it is to step away from things that bring you down, surround yourself with things that lift you up, and boom, you're good to go!
I know it's all way easier said than done, but saying it, or finding out what to do to make your life better is so simple. Age-old quotes and sayings are age-old for a reason; they work. Get rid of all the negative in your life, and surround yourself with the positive. If you choose to make excuses about why your life sucks, that’s on you, it’s your damn choice to make things better. If you know what you want out of life, pursue it with more passion and energy than anything else in the world. And if you don’t know what you want, constantly try new things so you can learn what it is you were built to do best. I am a rare case it seems. Rare in the fact that I have known what I wanted since I was pretty young. I wanted to play professional baseball. I mean, I REALLY wanted it. I never knew anything else besides that desire. And when baseball became a reality, that same passion and drive was found in wanting to inspire others to become healthier. I hope to inspire people, not just through writing and coaching, but through living my life the way I always talk about and share with others; you know, practicing what I preach. And I preach to be honest with yourself, wear your personality on your sleeve for everyone to see, good and bad, and do what makes you feel good and right (as long as you're not hurting others).
I still have plenty of things to work through, and I will always have negatives in my life. It is ridiculous to think or expect that everything will always be wonderful and perfect. But if you spend most of your days completely understanding what it is you are living for, it makes it so much clearer and easier to figure out how best to deal with the negative and the bad.
I am waking up each day now thinking about teaching and coaching. And right next to those exciting thoughts is an eagerness to spend my quality time with the barbell and the outdoors each and every day. And the people in my life that bring me warmth, and respect me for who I am will inspire me today. And the ones that question me, and bring me down with their negativity will not get my attention.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
So, last Friday was my 30th birthday, and it was a damn good one. There wasn't really a plan to do anything leading up to the big day, probably a little frolic through the woods and then out to grab a boat-load of meat to consume! But, one of my long-time clients and good friends asked if her and her husband could put together a party for me. I hesitatingly accepted her offer (I just feel guilty when someone does stuff for me, something myself and all of us should learn to get over if you have that problem!) and she went about organizing what would turn out to be one of the most wonderful gifts I've ever received. There were some 50+ people who rolled through this wonderful house, great food, plenty to drink, and the coolest cake I have ever seen in my life! It was great to hang out with so many of my friends and I must make one quick point to a new group of friends I am excited to have, the Outlaws! Only having met the crew from Outlaw CrossFit a few months ago really, I feel like I have connected with an awesome group of people. And I'm proud to rep the team this coming weekend!
This is my natural transition to my next topic, The CrossFit Games Regionals! Tomorrow marks the first of three days of competition and I'll be headed to the PG County Athletic Complex with Team Outlaw to battle for a spot at this years CrossFit Games! I am feeling so confident in our chances of making the top three teams to win a spot to the Games. Rudy (our coach and owner at CrossFit Outlaw) has done a damn good job of programming so that all of us are more than prepared. And as the first time ever competing as part of a team, I am looking forward to the group dynamic and added energy of each event!
It's been a crazy couple weeks for sure. Training has been really focused, birthday was awesome, Lindsey surprised me with a GoPro camera which is AWESOME and all you guys will get to check out my experiences this weekend from the view of this bad ass camera! And the next couple months look to be just as exciting. I have a trip down to South Carolina to celebrate my host-sister's (from my host family when I played baseball in FLA) graduation/birthday. I have a long trip out to CA to hang with the old crew, workout and do a little training camp at CrossFit San Mateo (and probably go surfing and eat the best BBQ in the world!). I have Courage Bars to attend to and am planning some huge things for them this summer. And I expect to see a record breaking number of athletes come though the nations largest gym, The Garage (all of 200 square feet) through the summer months!
I also promise (as I have done many times before) to write a little more regularly on this thing! I definitely go through phases with being motivated to write. As many of you know, writing doesn't really come naturally to me (as you can tell with all the grammatical errors on this site, something I plan to change, in fact, read note on this below!) so I struggle here and there with the idea of just sitting and writing anything. Either way, I am scheduling out a time on a regular basis to write, and edit video over the summer. Should be one filed with plenty of good info and ideas!
As for grammatical errors, if you find one of my idiotic misspellings, or a major error in my writing (overuse of commas, run-on sentences and the like do NOT count!), let me know and I will do something "entertaining" as self-punishment for writing like a loser! Sound good?
Finally, I'll be posting all sorts of updates from Regionals on Facebook and Twitter (@jcourage), so make sure to follow along!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
_ Feeling a little bad that for the first time in a good while I passed over my moms birthday without writing a little post. So, perhaps it’s a bit late, but I wanted to pay a little respect to the woman to inspired so much in me, and continues to do so.
For those of you newer readers who don’t know about my mom, she was one of the greatest fighters I have ever met (and I do know a few elite level MMA crazies, so…). What I mean by that is that when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she fought through an incredible number of years going the natural route. She stayed active, she committed to overall health both inwardly and outwardly. She worked on healing relationships and making new and lasting ones with the idea that all of this would allow her body to naturally fight this horrible sickness. What blew my mind about my mother the most was that when she was seemingly at her worst, and I mean stage-4 cancer, disintegrated spine, major osteoporosis, rapid weight loss and probably a whole list of things I am forgetting, she still lived. With all these problems, she still cooked almost every single meal. And a meal for her would easily average an hour or two because it was 100% real food. She consumed nothing processed, nothing fake at all. She would walk twice a day, sometime for over an hour. Put this into perspective people, so many of us seemingly “healthy” people make excuses to not workout, be active, and make our own food every single day. Our country is fatter and sicker than ever before. And yet there was this frail, horrendously falling apart woman who chose to pursue what she believed and loved every single day. She made no excuses, she smiled every day, and she hoped to leave us all with the feeling of deep love in the end. And I would argue that her ultimate goal in life was achieved. She proved that living a life that you can respect and smile about is way better than choosing excuses, prescription drugs, tons of surgeries and a long, painful death.
Now I don’t want to paint a completely positive picture of her, while she inspired so much good, there was plenty she did that caused pain in our family. But this is also something she taught me; to be straightforward about how you feel and to face those feeling with honesty and a clear mind. She strived to be the best woman she could be to all of us, and to everyone in her life. And while she slipped up here and there, she clearly found success in the pursuit of what she wanted out of life.
I am especially aware of her missing in my life around this time of year because we used to go see the Cherry Blossoms together in Kenwood, MD. We would stroll around, talking, silent, laughing, thinking, and just soaking in the power of the beauty of those flowers. One of the most vivid memories I have of her was her spinning and spinning around with her arms out when a gust of wind blew and covered us in a snow-fall of pick flower pedals. It doesn’t matter who you are, there was something so touching about the joy and freedom she clearly felt in those moments. It was impossible not to smile.
I miss her. I hope to remember every day that the best way to live life is to do what you feel deep down to be right. It doesn’t matter if people disagree with you, try to hold you back, argue with you, or even fight you. If you believe in it with all your heart, good things will happen in your life. And when the end comes, you can look back on everything you did, everything you stood for, and be proud. My mother was proud of all of us, and I am so proud to have had her as a driving force in my life for so long.
Happy belated Birthday, Mom!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
_ Well, I woke up today ready to write a rant post on some issues I've been seeing with approach to fitness. I had some complaints I needed to get out and share. But, with the temperature on the mid-60's, and no clients from late morning all the way until tonight, I could not avoid the great outdoors. And what happens to me when I get outside, away from all things man-made? I don’t have anything to complain about anymore. So, I've decided to write something a bit more positive, and leave the ranting to another day.
If you take a few moments and browse through Mark Sisson's awesome blog, Mark's Daily Apple, you'll find article after article about the benefits of being outside. From returning to our primal roots of connecting to nature, to the incredible benefits of vitamin D. Basically, being outside is impossible to argue against. I have read countless articles and studies on the positive effects of the wild, but I have no interest in getting into the science of it all. I simply want to share my experience and hope that it might inspire you to either get out more, or get out in some way at all if you never do.
To me, getting outside could be looked at in two ways: an escape, and a return. I am escaping the world that us humans have created. This is a world of responsibilities, technology, negativity, processed goods, concrete and metal and on and on. In my mind, almost everything we experience in the man-made world is some form of stressor. Even if you think it's relaxing to have a bag of chips and watch a couple TV shows, in reality, you're not doing anything to help yourself. You're slowly "poisoning" yourself with things your body and mind were not born to experience. I am not about to sit here and tell you you should toss all that out. Hell man, I love watching a good TV show or movie, and I love having a good snack here and there! But if these things become your definition of relaxation, I am sorry, you are doing a good bit of damage to your overall well being. So, when I head out to the wilderness, I am escaping the “trap” that is all this craziness we have created for ourselves. I don’t have pressure; I don’t have my senses being overloaded with lights and technology. I don’t have people bustling by me with too much to do to enjoy a moment with themselves. I am totally free to naturally do what I want.
Sometimes there tends to be a negative connotation with escaping. Like drinking alcohol or working out too much. This is why I also have found that getting outdoors is a return as well. It’s a return to what is naturally there for us to survive in. Nature is the only thing that we can experience that we did not create. And because of that, there is something incredibly unique about experiencing it. In my experience (and I feel like it’s a pretty good deal of it), the only people I have met who do not enjoy being out in nature are very, very inactive people and very, very depressed people. Aside from those guys, I have never seen anyone spend time in the wild and not enjoy themselves. This is more than enough proof to me that we are meant to be out there on a somewhat regular basis. Shoot, the people I know who spend a ton (I mean, at least 8+ hours a week) out in the wild are some of the happiest, chilliest, most enjoyable people I know.
Now mind you, when I refer to outdoors, I don’t mean going for a walk around your neighborhood. If that’s all you can do, do it as much as possible of course, but I'm talking about more. I am really referring to getting out to the woods, the mountains, the ocean, a hidden lake somewhere, The Wild! Spending time in a place where the only sign of mankind is a trodden path and/or a friend or two that join you is what I'm talking about. Outside, to me means, the wilderness. If you want the full effects of reconnecting with nature, get into TRUE nature and soak it all in!
Today I found a large slab of rock stretching out into the Potomac River out in Great Falls, Maryland. I navigated my way out there, laid down in the sun, closed my eyes and just chilled. I could hear birds chirping, crickets and frogs buzzing through the woods, snaps of tree branches from deer and random splashes of water from the fish in the river. No cars, no people, no hum of a generator or anything. As cheesy as it sounds, I had an uncontrollable smile on my face within 10 minutes. All I could think about was climbing rocks, scaling trees and wading through water. When I left my nap area, I found a collection of about 8 deer feeding in the woods by a little rain-pond. I just perched myself on a fallen tree and watched them for a few minutes. They heard me and sat there watching me. I then moved along and when I turned back around, they were back to grazing.
I know I can be a little fanatic about nature. Most of my California friends know me as someone who would rather spend my life frolicking naked through the woods then doing pretty much anything else. I don’t expect my view of nature to be that of everyone else in the world. But I do believe, with all my heart, that every single one of us would be happier, more at peace, more relaxed and healthier if we just got out into Real World on a somewhat regular basis. If you agree, go outside and do it! If you don't agree, just go try, see what happens...
I hope you can find your way out there soon. If you want some company, I am never one to turn down an adventure in the wild!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
All right, right off the bat I need to admit the sad truth, I have no idea how to be cool. For some reason or another, this is something that’s passed through my head a bit over the summer. I think it has a lot to do with being around a ton of teenagers (what with coaching baseball and the majority of my athletes are in their teenage years) and this age group tends to have “coolness” as a primary concern on their minds. For me, the idea of coolness is a really great topic. Take the unprofessional word out and keep the context, and this is something we all think about at some point in our lives a good deal. We want to fit in, we want to stand out, we want to be impressive, we want to represent something, we want respect, call it want you like, but in the end, we just want to be cool!
This is why we do certain things in our life. Think about it, for us CrossFitters, it’s so damn cool to lock a heavy weight out over our heads. It’s cool to string together a bunch of kipping pull ups (it sure as hell isn’t healthy, so why else would we do it?!), it’s cool to collapse on the floor after giving our all on a workout. We embrace these aspects of our life just like the rapper embraces his “bling”, a hipster his/her vintage t-shirt, the Yogi his/her lululemon outfit. We have an idea of what gives us a bunch of confidence, and those things are cool to us. But how is it that some people can be all decked out in perfect gear, drive a sweet car, live in an awesome house, have a great partner and still somehow just not be cool? Well, it’s a matter of feeling comfortable.
I think that most people would say that confidence equals cool, but I disagree. I actually know a good deal of people who are pretty confident, who just aren’t all that cool. What I think is that it has more to do with just being comfortable in your own skin. That’s how people can seem so damn cool yet when you break down their life, it just doesn’t seem to add up. You see, so many of us get caught up in the idea of materiel things being the “cool-maker”, but in the end, it’s really just our ability to be comfortable with who we are and what we have. So this begs the question of course, how do we do that?
Well, again, I am sure as hell not an expert at cool, but I do know that being comfortable comes with understanding who you are and what you represent. If you are passionately pursuing the things you love in life, and if you are not wasting your time attempting to be a part of things that don’t fulfill you, you’re probably a pretty comfortable person. And if you’re comfortable, well, you’re probably pretty cool. Are you doing what you do because you love it, or because you think it’s what you should be doing? This is the simple question I recommend asking whenever you do anything in your life. If you are wearing something, or going places, or doing things for any reason besides loving it like crazy, you just might be involved for the wrong reasons and “forcing it”. And it’s pretty obvious all around that people who force things in life are totally not cool!
I need to point out something here, this does not mean that I’m opposed to enjoying materiel things! And in line with my wonderfully brutal honestly from time to time on this blog, I have decided to make a couple lists here: first, what I think is cool!
Locking out a heavy weight overhead alone in a dark gym
Running barefoot in the woods
Unkempt facial hair
Single speed bikes
1960’s and 70’s muscle cars
Holding a baseball bat
Plating a finished meal
Anything and everything Batman
Hanging out in outdoor stores (like REI and such)
Ha, well, as I write the list I realize that I could go on forever with that because it’s fun thinking about things that I like and think are cool. In fact, I throw out to all of you that you should make a list of what YOU think is cool. I’m reminded of the great monologue by Crash Davis in Bull Durham where he lists off all the things he believes in (if you haven’t seen the scene or the movie, get with the program and go watch it!). There’s something very freeing about announcing the things you like/love/believe in. And if it occurs on a whim, the truth comes out! Sometimes you might even begin your list, and all of a sudden realize that you are listing things off that don’t mean anything to you. And the second you do this, you can become aware that you are forcing things. Cool comes from deep within, what your true, inner personality honestly loves. Find out what’s deep down there and you’ll become the most comfortable, cool person in the world!
Thanks for letting me ramble! No go find yourself an be YOU!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
So far this week has been way easier than I expected. I don't mean that I had easy workouts. On the contrary, as I write this I am just wonderfully sore from head to toe! What I mean is that I was surprised at how seamlessly I feel back into a pattern of being very strict with workout times and nutrition. I thought I would have a much harder time getting back into the diet plan that allowed me so much positive change a month or so back. But, I guess I was able to form a pretty good habit when I did that whole program. And, inspired by a couple conversations today, and thinking about the whole process, I totally understand why.
Establish What Works For You:
When I was challenged about 3.5 months ago to follow a super strict nutrition plan, it clicked instantly with me. After a few weeks of following what was given to me, I made a couple modifications, and ultimately found a nutrition plan that just straight up worked. For me. And because it worked so well, my body responded accordingly. I lost fat, gained muscle, decreased my stress, had more energy and slept better. And because of all these positive changes, I psychologically became "hooked" on this lifestyle. My desire to stay up super late, to watch TV, to eat cookies, to skip workouts, all those things that I tended to do before, they all just went away. I learned first-hand that the body really, truly wants to be fit and healthy; and if you take the time and effort to allow it to be, it will crave those GOOD things instead of the bad. Now what works for me may not work for you. But the idea of cleaning everything out completely allows for your body and mind to have a cleaner slate so that you can honestly look at what works. For me, eating every 3 hours works wonders. Consuming the proper amounts of foods during those meals helps even more. I don't know what works for you, and a believe me, sometimes this can be really freaking hard. It took me about four years to find out how to literally melt body fat off me. And I am a fitness expert who has the time and wherewithal to try many different things. S be patient. There IS a process that works for you if you are willing to search for it. This brings me to my next point:
Don't Be A Wimp:
Yeah, I said it, you're going to have to be tough. One of my conversations today was with a lady who was feeling really lethargic, gaining weight, having skin issues, and struggling with sleep. I asked her about her eating habits and simply suggested she keep a food journal. A month later (today) I asked her how it was going and she said she only kept the journal for about a week and then just forgot about it. Interestingly enough though, upon my bringing it up she realized that the week she kept the journal was the most energetic and stress-free week in a long, long while. This made me think; not about the obvious, that having more control of your food makes you eat better, but of the effort she, and so many others put into change. Here's what I mean. It's crazy daunting to think that the way you live and eat is flat out hurting you, and that it is actually possible to change. this is the part that is NOT easy in any way. You have to change a habit. And usually, this is a habit that's been engrained in your brain and body for years and years.
So think logically through this one with me. If you've taken years to create a way of living/eating, do you really, honestly expect to change that habit in a week? Thinking of it this way, it should actually be a breath of fresh air to know that you can mostly change habits over the course of a short month! Either way, it's tough as hell to change like this (a "how to" on this is clearly a great topic); but, suffice to say that if you can find a way to dedicate a month to your program, things will inevitably become a LOT easier. Again, the body wants to be healthy, give it time to recognize the healthy things you are doing and it will react positively.
A concept that is really well described by Robb Wolf in his awesome book The Paleo Solution is that you can eat as much as you want. Totally, go to town! It’s just that when you are eating clean and living well, “as much as you want” tends to be healthy doses. This occurs because your mind and body are more closely connected. You finally stop eating emotionally and you eat to live.
Finally, Your Flow:
I think I’ve found my flow. I think this because even when I fall off for a month, it’s so much better than I’ve ever been my whole life. Sure, when things are down and I am more emotionally unstable I may have a cookie or ton; but I have formed the habit of eating regularly.
So the point to all this, the only way to really find that flow enough that it is engrained in you as a genuine part of you life. Give it all a fare shot. Take your time, trial and error, add things, take things away, chart EVERYTHING, be patient and be tough. You’ll have to go through hell before the simplicity of being healthy can actually occur. So don’t lie to yourself in thinking that you can figure it all out in a couple days. Trust me, it will not happen. If you want to be healthy, fit and happy, you need to commit to following a program for at least a month (preferably 2 or 3). And always remember: it took you years to become as unhealthy as you are now, you need to understand that true change may take a little time.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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.
Today I got an email with an attachment about a little Q and A with my brother as he trains for the New York City Marathon! Add this to the the excitement I have for the last weekend of the month when I'll be up in NYC for the Spartan Race and spending a dude's weekend with my bro and my dad! So, I figured I'd share a little about this guy who I've looked up to my entire life.
Growing up I always felt like I lived in my brother's shadow. The guy was insane at pretty much every sport (I may be remembering this wrong but I think he dunked a damn basketball in 9th grade!). He dressed in a way I thought I'd never be able to pull off (the dude wore a leather jacket in High School, god that was cool!), and he had such a comfortable personality with everyone. To add to the versatility that inspired me so much, he headed off to a great school where he excelled at diving, and, for fun, played on the baseball team. Why not right? Then graduated and just like that began a damn impressive post-school life. Started his own web-design company, worked online marketing for some HUGE names in publishing and magazines, even started a now-pretty successful film festival!
Over the years we have have had our basic brotherly ups and downs, but every time we get together it seems like we just sort of feed off of each others pretty distinct energy. We have gone in very different directions with our lives; he is what I would call a stereotypical New Yorker: works online marketing, rides a "fixie" to work across the Brooklyn Bridge every morning, works out at totally ghetto YMCA, walks his albino pit pull around his relatively sketchy neighborhood while chain smoking some form of "hipster" cigarette. I of course am a fitness junkie who would go WAY out of his way to avoid being in a major city, I practically gag at the smell of cigarette smoke and have never sat at a desk for work besides a couple internships between baseball games in college. And despite our differences I still look up to this guy with never-ending respect for what he has achieved in his life.
He has basically taken control of his life from the second he had the freedom to do so. He has fallen over so many times, and yet he seems to have no problem finding his way back up to an even higher level (a Courage Family trait I am finding out...). And now he's done it again! I would easily say that about 6 months ago I could probably be seen picking fun at him in a back-handed way for being so damn unhealthy and out of shape. But now the guy is cooking all sorts of incredible foods (he has given me some AWESOME ideas for how to keep my fueling fun and exciting whole staying simple) whole training for a marathon. And to top it off, he is committed to raising at least $3,000 for a YMCA kids program (helping kids into health and fitness programs that they can't afford).
So, while I continue to look up to the guy, and aspire to to be as cool as I see him, I ask you all to give him your well wishes with his training, and perhaps donate a buck or two (or more...?). And while your at it, take a moment to think about someone in your family and the positive things they have inspired in you. No matter how you've grown, I can pretty much guarantee that you'll be able to remember something positive (hopefully lots of things!) in each and every one of your family members. Feel free to share if you'd like!
Good luck brother! Looking forward to seeing you in a couple weeks!
Check out the article here
Donate to the cause here
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.
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