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.
_ I don’t mean you should become some obsessed fitness junkie like me who can do nothing but think about all things health and fitness. Quick tangent on how bad I can be sometimes: I even thought a large steel frame holding contraption at the damn Holocaust Museum would be the perfect addition to my gym… yeah…
Anyway, back to the point. I find it increasingly frustrating to see how many people either don’t exercise on any sort of regular basis, or, make it a very low priority in their life. Ironically enough, most people out there have some pretty serious issues, like stress, high blood pressure, hypertension, sleep issues, anxiety, depression and then a whole slew of other serious medical conditions. And these same people will sit all day and bitch and moan about how crappy they feel, yet instead of taking the greatest dose of anything they could have (um, exercise), they opt for helpful little drugs. Caffeine to wake up, sleeping pills to go to sleep, aspirin to make their twinging knee pain go away while walking around in horribly designed shoes and sitting at a desk all day.
If you want to see one of the coolest videos I have ever seen on the best drug you could ever take for pretty much any ailment, click on this sentence NOW.
Besides that, just take a minute or two and think about your priorities. You must work, you must be social, you must watch your TV shows, you must take your kids here and there, you must eat certain foods, you must drive a fancier car, you must wear specific clothes; the list goes on and on. And to make sure those things are taken care of you just don’t have time for regular exercise.
Simply put people: regular exercise will make the good priorities in your life better, and the bad priorities in your life seem less important.
I had a guy tell me yesterday that he knew he wanted to workout more but just lacked the motivation. He came and worked out with me today and told me, while beaming from endorphins after an awesome session of flipping tires and hitting things with sledge hammers: “that was fun!” You see, fitness to so many people means a slow trudge through an impersonal gym, hitting a set here and there and then heading home. But there is more out there people! Fitness can be something you crave, something you look forward to every day. Health and fitness can be something that wakes you up in the morning bubbling with energy and excitement for what you are able to do that day. Fitness can be a driving life force in anyone and everyone’s life.
But you must want it. It’s out there, always, without fail and without judgment. All you have to do is take a step or two in the right direction and your life will forever be changed.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
If you were to walk into my massive, spacious, cavernous, 200 square foot Garage Gym and ask any of my athletes what the number one focus of this past summer was, you would hear a resounding “body control” echoing from the rafters 8.5 feet above your head!
You see, one of the main things I have always been extremely focused on, in my own training and with training others is learning more about ones own body. The way I talk about it is body awareness, and body control. But in the fitness world, this is generally understood as proprioception. This is basically the idea of a sixth sense, which we all actually have, some more than others, but we all have the ability to be aware of things within us and around us without really knowing how. I am absolutely fascinated by this stuff and I found, through research and trial and error, that learning more about proprioception will very quickly help you become a fitter, healthier person.
Here’s a little bit about all this works. All your senses are pretty self-explanatory. When you touch something, you feel it, when you see something, your process it, same with hearing and tasting. I really don’t know the inner mechanics of all that, but I know it to be true because I can hear the tapping of my keyboard, I can feel the keys under my fingers, I can see the words appearing on the document and I can taste the bacon I just ate in my mouth! But what about this sense of awareness; how do I have the ability to put my arms, hands, fingers and head in the most effective position for this whole typing fun? Well, from what I can understand it goes a little something like this: your brain says, “arm, move to the computer”, your arm then moves to the computer, then your arm says, “hey brain, I just moved to the computer, give me another game to play!”. This sort of thing happens hundreds of thousands of times a day; think about it, just take a moment and try to comprehend how many movements you make each and every day and that there is a full-blown process for each and every one.
We just take this stuff for granted all the time, but when you take a moment to realize that this stuff can actually be improved, you all of a sudden realize just where you stand might stand athletically. I mean, look at like a pro football player: his ability to comprehend how to change direction not once, but twice, or three times even, all while catching a football, avoiding a couple massive dudes wanting to crush him and this all takes place while airborne. Yeah, that’s body control. The best athletes are the ones who can control their own bodies the best, I mean think about this: if you didn’t know how to put one foot in front of the other, how would you be able to do anything athletically? That’s a bit of an extreme example, but you get what I’m trying to say here.
So how do you become more aware of yourself? Well, one of the quickest ways I have learned is to practice basic gymnastics. Do headstands, handstands, forwards and backwards rolls, cartwheels and on and on. The more you move your body through space, the more you’ll be able to understand HOW to move your body through space. If you spend the majority of your time moving other objects through space (as in: lifting weights…), sure you’ll get strong, but you will rarely allow your mind to connect to the body in an intimate way. I am not discounting the effects of connecting to the barbell, or anything else for that matter, I just think that getting your mind and body syncing is probably one of the most important things you can do for overall health. If that is way too tough to get to right now, start simply buy doing very basic body weight movements (squats, push ups, sit ups, pull ups, etc). To help out even more, do these in front of the mirror, and, place your hands on the portion of your body that you’re moving. What you’ll be doing is using your main senses to assist in understanding how you move. The more you move, and the more focused you are in each and every movement you make, the better you’ll be at those movements! Easy as that!
In the end, it’s my belief that while lifting heavy things is really cool and impressive, the most impressive thing in the world is being able to have full control of your body. Google any gymnast, or Parkour athlete or B-Boy and you’ll know instantly what I’m talking about.
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.
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.
About a month ago I was brainstorming ways to justify a trip back to California when an idea hit me. What was the number one thing I enjoyed about being out there? Well, it was getting outside and exploring all the great natural areas, the mountains, the parks, and the beaches. Sometimes I would hike, other times run, or bike, or swim or whatever. There is always just so much to do out there! This got me thinking about how so many people miss out on experiencing the great outdoors because of so many different things: The simplicity of life in a climate-controlled office and house; the ease of finding food at restaurants. I wanted to find a fun and exciting way to re-introduce people to their roots.
It never fails, every time someone heads out into the wilderness, even if it’s just to sit around and do nothing, they become a little happier. There is something innately human about connecting with nature and it is this something that I hope to harness and allow people to experience. It’s not some extreme primal workshop or anything like that; just an organized weekend to show everyone just what is in his or her backyard. That living healthily and happily is as easy as playing around in nature and eating real, good food. And because so many of us have forgotten how to do all this thanks to cars, sidewalks, big houses, stores and on and on and on; I though I’d open up the doors for everyone to re-learn it all. It’s time to become HUMAN again!
Here’s what it’s going to look like:
Saturday, late morning we’ll meet we’ll all meet at a soon-to-be-announced location. Our minimal luggage will be stored in vans, extra food and drink in coolers and we’ll go over the weekend’s events. The early afternoon will consist of learning how to move throughout the wilderness. Now, this may seem a little childish at first thought, but have you ever tried to run through the actual woods? The athleticism needed to react to your surroundings is that of a professional football player trying to avoid getting crushed by multiple opponents. With that in mind, you’ll learn how to walk, run, crawl, climb, push, pull, jump, skip, and so much more. The idea is to feel completely comfortable in the most natural of settings.
After a couple hours of organized play, we’ll all break for some fuel and to relax for a bit. This is where the first of a few wonderful surprises will be offered out! We will be partnering up with one or more local farms to supply you all with the best of the best in terms of food. We’ll have top of the line, grass-fed meat, completely organic and free-range chicken and eggs, fresh, organic produce and fruit, and of course plenty of water. My close friends at Core Warrior will be around as well with the best protein bars on the planet for everyone to indulge in.
After our break, we’ll all get set up for a wooded throwdown of epic proportions! Using all the skills everyone just learned, we’ll set up for a friendly competition using tools only the greatest gym in the world: the great outdoors, can provide. Trails, hills, streams, rocks, logs, the list is only as long as your imagination, so, you’ll have to be prepared for anything!
With our bodies wonderfully burned out, we’ll pack up all the gear and begin to make our way to the evening location. We will either be on the beach for this, or at a campsite, depending on what I am able to secure in the coming weeks. Either way, we will most likely be hiking to this location with our gear. Once there, we’ll set up camp, start the fires and let the nighttime festivities begin. We’ll cut loose on another feast of wonderfully local food while we tell stories, sing songs and just enjoy the night air and good company. As the evening winds to an end, you’ll have your choice to sleep in a tent or, as will be strongly recommended depending on the weather, under the stars.
We’ll all be up bright and early the next morning to head out to the hazy beaches to hit a wake-you-up workout before yet another scrumptious feast for breakfast. After the gear is packed up, and all that bacon grease is licked of our fingers, we’ll then head to the waters edge for a couple hours of surfing the famous waves of Pacifica.
Right on. Now, if this does not sound the like the most perfect weekend in the world, I personally think there’s a little something wrong with you…! That being said, I am sure there are a ton of questions you would-be adventurers might have. If this is the case, ask away! I’ll be posting up all sorts of details on this thing in the coming weeks so most of them hopefully will be answered, but in any event, I am here to assist in any way. This is an event I am super crazy excited to host so I will be putting all my energy into making it the best possible experience for anyone and everyone! Registration is not open yet, but will be very shortly, so, until then, go on to Facebook and “Like” the page so you can constantly see all the new updates. I’ll also be throwing things up on the blog on a pretty regular basis as well.
Before you all bombard me with 100’s of crazy questions though, let me throw this out there: In the next couple days I will be posting the dates, times, meeting places, all locations, more details of the specific events and a whole bunch more. Also, things like what to bring and so on will be sent to anyone who signs up. This initial announcement/post is merely to get everyone pumped up for the idea! I know that the date is the most important thing for pretty much everyone, and I can tell you that it will either be the second or third weekend of October. I’ll post that up on the Facebook page tonight so you all can make sure that weekend is not double-booked!
Well there you have it folks! Stay closely tuned if you are interested in all this and please let me know if you have any questions at all!
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.
Don't get into a discussion about food with a large group of teenagers. You'll never get anywhere with them all. Rather, make it a one-on-one thing.
Look at what you can do to make things better rather than what is going wrong. You'll be amazed at how much better your workouts and nutrition can and will be when you take a slightly more positive approach.
Take an hour a day, a week, whatever it takes, to figure out exactly what kind of lifestyle you want to live. Eat and train accordingly...
...it's not just WHAT you eat; it's how well you fuel YOUR LIFE that leads to complete success.
If it's hard, difficult, challenging, and/or intimidating, KEEP GOING.
If it hurts, STOP.
Accept that you know very little about most things...
...if you plan to make a change, learn how to do so, properly.
...if you are going to judge, take a look at what you are doing.
...if you are going to make a claim, find out if it's right.
Take plenty of rest days. You will not become fat and out of shape; you will get in better shape and prevent injuries. Recover with the same intensity with which you train.
Get to know your kitchen. Seriously, I know more people who can talk their way around local restaurants better than their own kitchen, it's pretty sad.
Earlier today I was unfortunate enough to get involved in a pretty humorous argument my college guys were having as they warmed up before class (this obviously inspired my first point above...). While I immediately realized it was just not going to end with any sort of progress made, it got me thinking about how much most people do not know about health and fitness. As a fitness professional, hanging out with other fitness fanatics like myself, and reading article upon article about it all, I sometimes forget that the world I live in is still a pretty limited world in terms of its serious population. Shoot, even people who claim to be a part of this world have no idea what's going on (how many "trainers" have you seen who are over weight, relying on rehabilitation machines for their workouts, and eating like complete crap?! I have seen TONS!). What I have found over and over again is that peoples lack of knowledge in what is truly good for them is a slippery slope to injury, sickness, limited or stalled fitness gains, and an overall negative and lethargic lifestyle.
If your energy sucks, if you sleep like crap, if you're overweight, if your productivity is down, if you're in a bad mood all the time, feeling frustrated, depressed, angry and so on, perhaps you need to make a change. And as stated above, REAL change will be hard to come buy if you are not educated in what you need to do. Read a book, read an article, talk to a professional, take a class, watch a documentary, try things out.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
There seems to be an excuse for everything these days: too hot, too rainy, too busy, too tired, too overwhelmed and on and on. And what makes this sort of attitude so frustrating to me is that being surrounded by it tends to have a somewhat negative effect on me! The age-old concept of surrounding yourself with people who make you better continues to grow stronger and stronger in my mind, while the trainer, coach and motivator in me desperately desires to be positive influence. But negativity begets negativity. Negative parents have negative children, negative friends have negative friends, and on and on until we sink into a society that is overflowing in negativity, excuses and horrible health.
While reading Robb Wolf's awesome book The Paleo Solution, he mentioned a little something I tried today when I went down to the local coffee shop to get some work done. I sat for a good 10 minutes and watched people as they came and went and did an immediate assessment on how they looked. Tired? Happy? Fit? Ill? Fat? Now this could be construed as being judgmental, but I made a point of keeping it as objective as possible. Hell, I know that sometimes looks can be deceiving, so I simply looked at them and moved on. What hit me so quickly was how depressed and out of shape everyone looked. I literally saw nobody over the age of 15 that held themselves in that oh-so-obvious "I feel damn good right now" way. I also saw not one single person, children included, that appeared to have any real athletic ability. Again, many of them may have, and of course sitting at a coffee shop in the burbs at 11am is probably not the best place to hang with fitness geeks like me, but seriously?
Whatever issues you have: stress, stomach problems, insomnia, IBS, headaches, back problems, anything; it is because of poor choices you have made in your lifestyle. Go ahead and blame it on anything you'd like, but I can pretty much guarantee you that if you take a little time, you'll be able to trace it all back to YOU. And when you're sitting on your couch, eating take out, or snacks, or desert or whatever, soaking in all the insanity TV has to offer you each and every night, perhaps a little spark can light up somewhere inside of you that says "right now I am getting sick". Maybe tomorrow night when you're done with work you can go outside, no matter what the weather is like; you can grill dinner over an open flame no matter how long it might take; you can sweat a little and get an elevated heart rate no matter how tired or overwhelmed you might be? Perhaps tomorrow night you can decide that you are going to be a little healthier than last night, and that the next night a little healthier. Perhaps you can take a few of you're precious moments to learn a little about what is really good for you and what is really bad for you. Perhaps you can feel better than you do right now...
Or will you have an excuse not to?
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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