Shoot man, everyone is weak in some way or anther. And if you don’t think you have some form of weakness, well, that right there just might be your weakness!
But here’s the thing about weakness, most people tend to get a little confused about what it actually is. So what’s yours? Sugar, chips, alcohol, handstand push ups, pull up, TV? Well, if you answered yes to any of those (or something similar to those) I’ll say flat out that nope, you are wrong. Those things are not your weaknesses, they are the things that you either turn to in times of weakness, or expose your weaknesses.
You see, weakness is something within you. It’s usually some sort of mental issue, or an imbalance of the body that leads to an expression of the weakness. I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, or you’ve said yourself something along the lines of “man, sugar is my weakness”. No, sugar is NOT your weakness; you just turn to sugar in times of weakness for reasons specific to you. The act of blaming the sugar is actually you avoiding the real issue. Instead of taking responsibility of your own problems, you push them onto to something else. You might find yourself saying: “if sugar wasn’t there, I’d be fine”. That is just not true. Sugar is not the problem. If you turn to something or do not have the ability to perform something as well as you’d like, it is on YOU, and you alone.
I use the sugar example because that is what I tend to turn to in my times of weakness. When I am feeling low, or depressed in some way, I get this strong urge to consume a large collection of specific desserts because somewhere in my twisted, weak mind I feel like it will make everything better. But it won’t. It never does. And it doesn’t because I never address the actual issue at hand when I “fall off the wagon”. I then feel like crap, both physically and emotionally, and promptly blame those damn cookies for being there and tempting me.
Just a couple days ago I was dealing with this issue and was having this overwhelming urge to get a perfect chocolate chip cookie (or five) to get some sort of instant gratification. I started thinking about the whole process and how I would feel guilty eating it because I would not be eating it out of a true desire to have something awesome I enjoy. I would be eating it out of an emotional reaction. I would then feel physically bad because having sugar and gluten make me feel like crap after I eat them. I would feel like I was taking a step back in my fitness because I would be breaking my faltering commitment to eating clean and working out regularly. I then went through the process of how damn good it feels when I eat healthy and workout regularly. And seriously, it happens almost instantaneously that I feel good when I do the things I know are good for me. I then spent a long time thinking about how incredibly powerful the mind is. It can actually make challenging the decision to feel great, have energy, be happy, and make rapid gains through a relatively simple process that I have done many times over in my life; and having a cookie and feeling like crap. What the hell?
You can justify all you want why you should not do what’s actually right for you. It’s surprisingly easy as we all can attest to. But don’t blame those outside things and call them stupid and just wish they were out of your life. That isn’t going to fix a thing. Sure it will help to rid your house of anything bad for you, but you still are not addressing the actual problem. Look within yourself and pay attention to what’s going on when you have those intense cravings and needs. Look at your performance on workouts and ask yourself what imbalances you have that make certain exercises so hard.
As always, it’s about taking responsibility and being honest with yourself. Then make a choice. The choice you make is 100% yours. The cookie did not actually talk to you (even though sometimes it feels like it might), pull ups are completely attainable and it’s not your genetically impossible for you. Choose to be healthy, it feel freaking great. Choose to correct imbalances, it works surprisingly well. It might not be instant gratification, but I’ll tell you what, for most people the gratification comes really quickly.
Now time to go workout!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I can pinpoint the day things began to fall apart for me. It was a cruise I took on the third week of The Open, in Florida. I had been progressing so damn well, and for some reason, I just let loose a little, had a couple drinks, indulged in dessert, stayed as healthy as I could on the ship, but the food is far from high quality. But I'm not blaming the ship. From there I just never found my way back to the rhythm I had found before. I was blogging regularly, training with passion, eating cleanly and easily and living my life in a general position of happiness. Even as I write this I am opting out of working out because I feel my energy levels depleted and I cannot seem to comprehend the idea of trudging alone out to the garage to workout in the dark. I could go for a run, but then again, I haven't written anything in a while and at least I'm getting one thing in that I should. My goal with this post is not to be depressing; more to write an honest perspective I know many of you think I never have. One where I completely lack motivation to do all the things I pride myself in. I understand what it means to be a healthy, happy person. I coach it every single day. I write about it pretty often here. But I have valleys in my life just like everyone else, and while I do honesty believe I function at a level where my valleys are few and far between, I think that adds to the severity of them when I do find myself in one. I am just not used to feeling so unmotivated.
I have all the time in the world throughout my days, even when I am coaching 6 or more classes a day to workout. I have all the time in the world to cook my own food, prepare for the coming days' schedules with the proper balances and amounts. I have all the time in the world to warm up properly, program for my weaknesses, work mobility, foam roll and stretch. I have all the time in the world to do all this while still getting outside on a regular basis and enjoying the wilderness because it never fails to bring me peace and harmony. But having all the time in the world means almost nothing when you lack motivation.
A major positive in the time I spend in front of books and the computer is that I get to read a ton, soak up more and more knowledge about the world of health and fitness. I watch videos of training, read blogs, read articles, books, and studies. I read opinions and comments, and study pictures on snatch and clean form until my eyes burn. I can visualize myself, as clear as day pulling a bar loaded with 250# from the ground, and snapping under it in the perfect catch position; heavy weight strong over my head. But when I grab a bar to demonstrate for clients, my back is tight, my knees hurt, my shoulder pinches and I feel like a hopeless, fat old man trying to get through the day quickly so he can crash down on the coach for his third nap of the day.
But then there are those moments. No matter how bad I might think I am, I get under the bar and power through something stronger and faster then ever before. I have surges of energy where I remember exactly what it feels like to be on top of my game. In my "research" I have found an underlying theme and commonality between all the top-level performers in their specific fields: a never-ending commitment and passion to getting better. In the end, the ones who come thorough in the clutch, who perform day in and day out at the highest level, and have the least amount of weaknesses, are those who never get distracted by anything. Because my focus these past couple years has been CrossFit, I'll use that as my example (but you will find these statements to hold true with anything out there, sport, business, etc.). Over the past year I improved. I improved a metric shit ton. Every single one of my numbers not only went up, but also went WAY up, and this is despite gaining a crap load of weight. I was lifting more, and lifting it faster, my motor grew, my running was faster, my body weight movements became smoother and better, and everything just got so much better. But the thing that didn't click compared to those that did was that I had pockets of down time. When I was taking a week to just do nothing, others were getting ahead of me, getting better. Mind you, taking a week off is fine, but active recovery is a must. Working mobility, messing around with skills and so on. I would literally do nothing. It was like my brain would shut off. Then I would have "half-ass" weeks. These were when I would get my workouts in, but I would rush through them. I would not take the time to get extra weakness-focus work in. I would not warm up properly and stretch afterwards. My nutrition would slide just a little farther than I would have liked and while I still got tons of great work in, I would know in the back of my head that I wasn’t working as hard as I could have been.
“I will watch others laugh and fool around in the gym all day, while I am leashed to the platform.” – Jon North
This guy works hard. He has been committed to being an Olympic weightlifter and nothing will stand in his way. If he is feeling down one day, it doesn’t stop him. Every single day he is doing exactly what it takes to become BETTER. Every day is a step forward and there is never a step back. If you want something, if you want to be something, you need to commit to it and never falter in that commitment. The best CrossFitters in the world are like this. They workout because it's what they love, what they know, and what they want. They train hard, every single day, they eat well, they rest when they NEED and SHOULD. They are better because they wanted it more and dedicated their lives, inside and out, to being better than you and me. They are better because they function at a level where getting better is the ONLY option they have, the only thing they know how to do. Have you ever worked out, or performed with someone at such a level? I have many times and it is clear that all they want to do is beat you, to out perform you. The cool ones do this without being ass holes about it; the annoying ones make it clear they want to beat you. But when you pay attention to how they approach the workout, you know that they are working at a level that has one purpose: to win.
My steps back toward to finding my motivation, my drive, and my dedication look a little something like this: reestablish what it is I am working towards. Bring back to the front of my mind what I want out of life, then remove the things that do not support that. Lately I have found myself surrounded by things that assist in my not living my life the way I have always wanted. I need to put on my table (both literally and metaphorically) the things that I know make me who I want to be. Once those things are directly in front of me, and the "bad" things are removed from the table, my choices will be limited and clear. And once I have begun changing the way I live each day, I can then begin to look into the more detailed goals I might have for the next month, few months, and year. Do I want to pursue the CrossFit Games again? Do I want to get into something else? Whatever it is, I must make that choice with a clear, happy, excited, and eager mind. Then I will know that I can do anything I want. Then I will be able to clearly see how to be completely committed to something GOOD.
(I promise my next couple posts won’t be as depressing!)
Never Stop, GET FIT
This past weekend was a great learning experience for me. First and foremost it showed that I am improving as a CrossFitter. To be able to head into such a well-respected CrossFit competition as The Hopper, and do so well says a good bit about my level of fitness. Ok, cool. Now that the positive comments are out of the way, it's time to get on to the critique!
I found out two major things over the weekend that are the primary sources holding me back from being the competitor I truly want to be. But before I go into them, I want to be sure to let you, the reader, know that the goal with this post is two-fold: to articulate an analysis of myself so that I can help myself get better; and, to inspire you all to do the same with yourself in the process of making YOU better. I am willing to bet that the two issues I detail here are two EXTRAORDINARILY common issues with most people as they drive towards their goals. Next point to be made is what my goals actually are. Well, when I moved back to the East coast I decided that I would make an attempt to calm my absolutely out of control mind by focusing on only a few things for a while. I've written about this a bit before, and if you know me, you know that I come up with a new idea to "change the world" pretty much every few hours. I have literally hundreds of pages of notes, drawings, scribbles, phrases and more, collected over the years, it's crazy. I am very aware that to actually get anything done, I need to pick a few of them and just focus. So, when I moved back I picked two: open a gym, and, make it to the CrossFit Games.
So, back to this weekend. Well, it wasn't really the weekend that showed these issues to me, it really was just the straw that broke the camels back if you will. I know that I am a very good CrossFitter. But, I also know that I am not at the level of those at the very top. If you take the top numbers of all those elite CrossFitters, I would be on the bottom of the charts for pretty much everything. But that's not what I am concerned about. I have faith in my training program and my determination that my numbers will creep up there come Games season and I'll be able to hang with any of those guys. It's my weaknesses. Just like anyone, I have a collection of weaknesses. Except mine are VERY weak. I can not do more than 3 strict handstand push ups. I can not walk on my hands for more than 6 meters. I can not do more than 5 muscle ups. While an elite CrossFitter will show strengths and weaknesses, the differential of ability is nowhere near as great as mine. That is why I placed 1st, 1st, 3rd, 19th, and 3rd on this past weekends events. Clearly I need to "kill my goats". So, upping the body weight work and incorporating that intelligently into my programming is an absolute must.
The second thing I found was that I don't have as strong a fire as the top level competitors. Perhaps it's my baseball background (that's a reference to the fact that baseball by nature is a much more passive game than most sports, and I have learned to approach my athletic endeavors a bit more "chilled" out than others), perhaps it's the marathoning (10 in a year will slow you down a bit). Or, it could be that I legitimately LOVE CrossFitting. I enjoy the struggle of getting through a workout so much, that sometimes I feel as though I just lose myself in the middle of it just to ride the wave. All those top beasts I have met have this intensity before, during, and even after a workout that I just do not share. I don't really compete with the person next to me, or to someone elses' time, I just feed off their energy and then spend what attention I put into each workout seeing what I am personally capable of. Now don't get me wrong, I am still a highly competitive person; just not at the level of most other elite CrossFitters. I feel like those guys want to seek and destroy at all times!
Now here's where the fun begins. From this weekend on I have committed myself 100% to the effort of being a "Serious CrossFitter". This means that everything I do is going to be based around achieving my goals. I will not miss workouts. I will not go on a binge week with food, or sacrifice a portion of my program to go hang with friends. I am lighting that fire as bright as it can be lit and going all out. I am making CrossFit "My Sport", and doing what it takes to get to the next level.
I can see a lot of my friends rolling their eyes at me right now. And to that I respond: everyone knows me as someone who likes a challenge and is willing to experiment with pretty much anything in the activity/fitness/sports/nutrition fields. So, I am experimenting with the idea that if I actually commit myself 100% to something, I could actually be really freaking good at it. This does not mean I am going to spend the rest of my life walking around with a cooler of steamed broccoli, grilled chicken and protein powder. This does not mean I will never again indulge in a brownie or 15, or have a drink or two, or three. It just means that from now until the Games I am going to be "that guy" I am going to be a little more one-track-minded about my priorities in life and I am going to see what I am TRULY capable of doing.
This is going to be a really fun and interesting adventure.
The fire has been lit.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Get Discounts Below!