Total Freedom

Non-conformity is the highest evolutionary attainment of social animals… a hobby is perhaps creation’s first denial of the “peck-order” that burdens the gregarious universe, and of which the majority of mankind is still apart.

Aldo Leopold

Life is motion. Modern society involves both the chase and desire for leisure. To many, this state of leisure is a motionless absorption of the artificial. A recovery of sorts, but from what are we recovering? Are we experiencing “mental” exhaustion? If so, the prescription should involve nature and/or movement. With the combination being preferred. Creativity is a stimulus for growth. A stimulated mind is an antidote to mental fatigue and the stagnation of the office job (any work requiring a screen).

A hobby may be exactly what is needed. I cannot prescribe one for you, only outline a philosophy of choosing and partaking. Think analog. Visceral, real, maybe an archaic form of action. Analog is physical: a letter vs. an email; a book vs. an e-book; a record vs. a digital file; a photograph vs. a pic; a trail vs. a treadmill, and so on. The path of less convenience constitutes the hobby. It will take time, though it is in the taking of time that emotion, love, and intention are expressed and communicated.

Your hobby may require an inordinate amount of time. This is not a bad thing. Here you may discover how little free-space your life has afforded you. How the machine of progress and commerce has propelled you onto a path you didn’t critically examine. It may make you better at your day job. Having an outlet for creativity allows self-expression that may not otherwise be a part of your days, which in turn makes your free-time more valuable. That which requires productivity (work), and affords both the time and financial means to explore the depths of passion, is valued even more.

The ability to escape relieves the pressure to conform to society’s expectation of human behavior. you have the freedom to explore, but lacking an outlet, you may follow that which is advertised and sold to the masses as socially acceptable leisure and entertainment.

Yet, a hobby need not be a goal-less endeavor. Your chosen outlet may demand persistence. Obtainment of skill requires commitment and repetition. Life is movement. Nature affords all that modern life is missing: fresh air, sunlight, water, flora, fauna, animals, birds, insects, … life. Your self-expression is a manner of personal choice. Make a decision and chart a course. What you set out to create (or undertake) should be a solitary act, devoid of conflict and negotiation. From isolation follows creation. Endurance activities, where we are often alone with our thoughts, can be the place where we become artists. This giving in to movement and becoming an athlete is immensely satisfying.

What about fitness? Fitness, a broad term, often associated with an outcome, yet equally associated with the act, can be a defining element of a person’s lifestyle. Many take up and dive deep into the hobby of fitness because of its inseparability from beauty and image. Obtainment of competence and skill, through an extensive investment of time, displays itself in image, and ability.

How you choose to leisure is up to you. Time is an illusion. A lifetime is not a continual fulfillment of commitments. It’s not a checklist. Your lifetime is a daily decision. Decide for yourself, from within. Listen to your heart. Honor the gift of life by living. Appreciating simplicity makes the slow, physical act of walking a possibility. Remove the constraint of time, of a fixed ending, and you may find yourself walking all day, all weekend, all month, and all year. Motion. Your way of living can be much greater than your vocation. Your hobby, your fitness, can afford you endless experiences.

It has taken me many years of reflection to define my parameters of living. To accept the message from your heart you/we/I must be willing to define a successful life, then live it.

To me, the true artist is one who lives completely, harmoniously, who does not divide his art from living, whose very life is that expression, whether it be a picture, music, or his behavior; who has not divorced his expression on a canvas or in music or in stone from his daily conduct, daily living. That demands the highest intelligence, highest harmony… the true artist is the man who has that harmony.

Krishnamurti

Stripped Down

The ship’s carpenter on Shackleton’s lifeboat James Caird took only three simple hand tools with him on the passage from Antarctica to South Georgia Island, knowing that, if he needed to, he could build another boat with only those tools.

I believe the way toward mastery of any endeavor is to work toward simplicity; replace complex technology with knowledge. The more you know, the less you need.

– Yvon Chouinard

Simplicity entails looking at what you have and figuring out how to make it work in your current situation. It’s far too easy to continue to add to the collection than it is to pare our possessions down. The process of simplification often coincides with developing mastery of the tools we already possess. Decreasing options exposes the beauty of the familiar. This concept can be applied to almost any choice you are confronted with.

Nutrition. Variety is the bane of simplicity. Know a few foods very well. Inside and out. Keep things consistent. Your body thrives on expectation. Quality in, quality out.

Exercise. You improve with repetition. Do a few things well. Repeat them often. Endurance, strength, and power all require efficiency. Controlled movements yield the best results. If you can conquer the banality of the familiar you will grow exponentially. Remember: simple, never easy. The runner improves when he/she runs. Progress slowly and steadily, increasing your fitness during the process. Enjoyment increases alongside fitness.

Movement. Sport requires gear. Specialization promotes the purchasing of specific gear. The technical is an illusion. With skill and confidence come proficiency, which trumps even the best gear. Focus instead on output. Actually doing the activity. Reducing your gear shed to the minimal provides relief to the fatiguing element of choice.

Examples:

  • Running: shoes / hydration / clothing / nutrition / trail
  • Cycling: MTB / road / gravel / time trial / etc.
  • Fishing: spin / fly / baitcast / artificial / livebait
  • Hunting: archery / rifle / shotgun / etc.
  • Climbing: shoes / gear / boulder / trad / sport
  • Nutrition: vegan / vegetarian / carnivore / protein / fat / carbs / diet

Advertising. Remember, you are the world’s customer. Every which way you turn you are being persuaded to purchase something. With possession comes jealousy, judgment, and shame. Shame is the worst emotion we can display. What you have is enough.

Does your car start? Good. It is enough.

Do you have food to eat, clean water to drink, or the potential to purchase both? Good. You have enough.

Until you have exhausted the learning process and taken your competency to it’s highest level you need not worry about specificity.

The modern world is best inhabited by the Generalist. An individual who takes his skills as high as 80% of mastery-level and no higher. You see, to go any further requires a level of sacrifice that leads to an unhealthy imbalance. In the pursuit of mastery, an imbalance occurs, creating a potentially chaotic environment. Other aspects of life suffer. Your experience dims. Unless all areas of life (work, social, physical, spiritual) can be controlled, and de-prioritized as you see fit, the act of specialization becomes futile.

Once you become proficient, seek to maintain that skillset. Be happy with your progression. Stay content. For 99% of the human population, this is the way.

Exercise is honest. Are you?

“I never try anything I just do it. Wanna try me?”

You can, or you can’t. You will, or you won’t. There is a point in every hard workout where I contemplate stopping early. Eight hills are plenty for today. You don’t feel great. You didn’t sleep well. It’s OK to back off a bit. Twenty minutes in the gym is good enough. Fifteen pushups? Not this set, let’s stop at ten. The discipline to say yes to more is definitely not automatic. It’s not a born trait. It’s not genetic. Your behavior is cultivated through repetition. Therefore, you become predictable, in a good or bad way, successful or unsuccessful, with each and every decision you make. Do you look for solutions, or seek a way out?

Comfort zones stagnate. Time, distance, weight, repetition, rest, etc. all play their respective roles in progressing you towards improvement. Each element is adjustable. Each adjustment either increases or decreases difficulty. Staying at a consistent stimulus, or working within the same parameters, causes stagnation. A new normal is continuously being defined. As you adapt to stress, via exposure and absorption (rest), you grow. This growth is both physical and mental. The mental aspect is key. Once it’s been done you know that it CAN be done. And done by you, not merely another human being. Physical growth comes during the period of rest or recovery (period of easy movement) that follows a new stress stimulus. A little faster, a little further, a little higher, a little more resistance, a few more reps, a couple more sets. Choosing one, or a few and agreeing to “go there” is making a decision to improve. You’ve planned to expose yourself to something new. When the moment arrives and you follow through, you’ve just expanded your world. That one small present-moment decision changes everything.

Schedule (plan) these opportunities for yourself to improve. Place them in your schedule often enough to build decision making confidence and success. As always, things take time. These “growth days” are green light opportunities for your mind and body. Understand that your success cannot be rushed. Callouses form with repeated exposure. Revealing yourself to the effort and demand not only callouses the body but it hardens your mind as well. Through this process, you gain the ability to accept more (load, repetition, duration) and in turn, give more the next time.

Personal Story: The year is 2012. One week prior I completed the challenging Leadville Trail Marathon. A 26+ mile run beginning and ending in historic Leadville CO, which sits at over 10,000 ft elevation. Almost two miles high! Living in Albuquerque, at relatively high elevation (5000 ft), the altitude factor was not something I worried about. Having no prior experience with physical effort at altitude, I was soon to find out its effects. The race went surprisingly well. I finished in 6th place out of 500+ runners. Not a bad day on trail by any means. The following week is when the event exacted its revenge on my body. I was exhausted, hungry, and sore… all week long. Knowing I had the 50-mile race a mere two weeks after the marathon, I had to listen to the wants of my system while also looking ahead to the big event on the horizon. Thus, one week after the marathon, and one week before the 50-mile race, I set out to run a 25-mile loop in the Sandia mountains. The idea was to harden up the legs and callous the mind to the effort and elements. You see, Albuquerque in July is hot, windy, and incredibly dry. Often times the forests are closed due to fire danger. Meaning humans are not even allowed to recreate in them. Those three elements (heat, wind, dry climate) are a dangerous combination. Nonetheless, I set off with two water bottles and a few hundred calories of sports drink and energy gel. I chose a route that would take me up the iconic La Luz trail. A rugged, beautiful climb from roughly 6,000 ft elevation to over 10,000 ft in 7-miles. It presents a nice challenge amidst a long loop in the mountains. My plan was to re-supply with water at the top and if my body was not up for that length of a run, to take the tram down, shortening the run from 25-12 miles. Early on in the run, I went to close one of my water bottles by hitting the cap on the bottom of the other bottle. Just as I did this I heard a pop and saw all of my fluids quickly draining out. I had punctured the bottom of the bottle with this action. Now, I was down 16 ounces of fluid and one bottle. Surely I would shorten the run at the tram and cut my losses. I had plenty of fluids to get me to the summit and consumed the calories I had, figuring I may as well keep my energy stores topped off. My spirit was good and legs felt OK. Cresting the summit and reaching the tram I saw a sign posted. Closed due to high winds. Hmmm… that’s not good. At this point, I am almost out of water and calories. With an almost empty bottle of water, 100 calories and a couple of salt tablets on hand I had to make the trek back to the vehicle. The day was beginning to heat up. Add that factor and it was bound to be a character building experience. 90-minutes later I found myself descending a familiar trail, coming to a spot where I had always seen water pooling. It was a spring in the mountainside. Now, I’ve always been cautioned to steer clear of any water coming out of the ground for fear of giardia, which wreaks havoc on your GI system. Undeterred, I stopped at the trail and filled my water bottle. I downed it. Then I cooled my head, arms, and chest with the cool water. It felt amazing. Filling the bottle one more time, I tightened the cap and continued descending. My pace was slow, my steps a little unsure, but my resolve was strong. Mile after mile I kept moving until finally, I broke free from the dense tree cover into the exposed foothills. With close to two miles to go, it was now a full-on assault in the mid-day sun. I finished the run. Exhausted, depleted, yet satisfied. I’d did probably the hardest thing I had ever done in my life up to that point and did it solo. What’s fascinating is that to this day I can pull from this experience and use it to push through difficult endurance events. I did not know what it meant to endure until this moment. A week later I finished the Leadville Silver Rush 50-mile Trail Race. Coming in 10th overall I again exceeded my expectations. As predicted, the race brought many ups and downs. It reinforced the idea that the mind is primary. Once the mind has been exposed to new stressors and overcomes the desire to quit, stop, or feel sorry for itself, your potential is now greater.

How do you know until you know? You don’t. Create opportunities. Adapt to challenges. Broaden your experience. Create new definitions for both your capability and possibility.

Exposure. Environment. Execution. Expectation.

Approach to Fitness + Philosophy of Movement

THE TRAINING SESSION:

“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is give to him to till.” — R.W. Emerson

Mindset, motivation, and intention are incredibly important parts of your training session. During our live workouts, I’m keyed in on your body language, energy, concentration, and overall focus. Some days we make breakthroughs, other days we set you on a course to have success throughout the rest of your day, or week. Remember, you are training for life, not to be an Olympian! Your workouts should build you up, not beat you down on a consistent basis.

Key into the fact that if one person can do this so can you. Potential is a possibility. Desire drives action. The philosophy of movement is one of engagement. Pure and simple. Envision yourself as a child, rolling around, then crawling, then pulling yourself upright, then walking, climbing stairs, and eventually running, tumbling, swinging, climbing, etc. Movement is bliss. It’s freedom and entertainment. At this stage of life, the world is your playground. The less organized it is, the more fun it is. Spontaneity dissolves time. Remember being pulled from an experience to come home for dinner, or do your homework? Devastating! … Our approach to fitness will seek to re-establish this relationship. Re-connecting mind, body, and soul.

“Respect… take care of yourself. Your health is your most important possession. By taking care of yourself, respect your body because it’s the only one you are ever going to have. Exercise every day for the rest of your life. Stick to good health habits; the bad ones will go away.”

— Jess Bell

  • Purpose / Session Vision: Warming Up…
    • Greasing the groove.
    • Lubing the chain.
    • Shaking things out.

Connect with the feedback you are being given. Start the conversation with yourself or your trainer/coach. Remain loyal to your health and fitness goals. It’s always darkest just before the dawn…

Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice.” — Woodrow Wilson

  • Assess / Plan the Physical: Pre Workout…
    • Energy
    • Motivation
    • Will
    • Goal focus
    • Mindset, outlook, intention

Life is cumulative. Believe in yourself, taking care to guard your structural foundation. Recognize impact of XYZ factors… sleep, nutrition, enjoyment, attitude, outlook…

  • Recognize: Intention (at that moment) / Choose Direction
    • Success or Paced Endurance?
      • Aerobic / Endurance + Lots of Rhythmic Breathing
        • Run / Accumulate Volume: time, distance, reps, etc.
        • Steady-state / Flow
        • Endure / Self-Manage
    • Breakdown or system fatigue?
      • Breakdown to Breakthrough?
        • Anaerobic / HIIT + Large O2 debt + Big / Fast Movements
        • Stress Factor / Being Present Every Moment
        • Intensity

Analyze the situation and circle back to this idea of breathing. It’s a great way to figure out the level of effort you are expending. Ask yourself: can I breathe through this movement? How long can I sustain this? … Lacking an ability to breathe results in an increased HR in all positions (isometric) and/or movements (triple extension and overhead). Breath work is a system connection. Favors the process over the product. Trains the mind to be present.

You are in control, always: In-session thoughts

“I think the way I want to think. I live the way I want to live.” — Sidney Poitier

  • Reminders: both of these are controlled by the breate, and work in tandem.
    • “Relax Your Face” – don’t show the stress you are feeling.
      • It’s really not that hard…
    • “Soften Your Belly” – easy breathing to endure prolonged aerobic activity.
      • Rhythmic breathing / Process oriented
  • Vision: This is the destination. Today’s work is a step toward tomorrow’s reward. Through your eyes alone does your ship yet sail:

“he who floats with the current, who does not guide himself according to higher principles, who has no idea, no real standards—such a person is a mere article of the world’s furniture—a thing moved, instead of a living being—an echo, not a voice.”

H.F. Amiel

  • Phases of Vision / Steps: Detailed analysis follows…
    • Today: your choices add up. Accountability begins now. Be present.
      • Process engagement.
      • Discipline or buy-in is high.
      • In this new beginning a lot is required of you.
      • Demand in mental energy.
      • Attitude training. How much can you muster?
      • Do something. Always.
        • What are you enjoying?
        • What are you avoiding?
      • First 30-days, very linear results.
  • 90-Days: Lifestyle or Priority/Value Change
    • Part of the process.
    • A shift in your “mindset” to living occurs.
    • Developing a new value system.
    • Switch from thoughts from “I can’t”  to “How can I”
    • Non-linear results. Highs and lows are experienced.
    • Accumulation and completion of workouts / positive choices.
      • Q: What builds you up?
      • Q: What beats you down?
    • Recognition of strengths and weakness.
    • Knowledge of effect of choice.
    • Q: How are you eating?
    • Q: Preferred training stimulus?
  • 1 Year and Beyond: balanced lifestyle
    • Life viewed through a broad lens. Vision for who you will be, what you can do, how you move, breathe, look, and feel.
    • What brings you happiness?
    • What will you be able to do? Improved capability. Broadened scope of choice. Remember, with fitness, comes confidence.
    • How is your health? What will have improved. How does this make you feel?
    • Completion. Change. Lead to improved cognition. Mental clarity.
    • Put a fine/sharp edge on your existence.

Outcome: Lifestyle change. “Things” become automatic. You will decrease the number of decisions to be made. Life simplified.

  • Questions that no longer needed to be asked:
    • Do I have the time?
    • Do I have the motivation?
    • Do I have the energy?
    • Can I really do it?

“I sought advice and cooperation from all those around me—but not permission.”

— Muhammad Ali

When you own it. You become it. Appearance is a consequence of fitness. Everything comes from repetition. Your exercise is a skill, developed from repetition. Therefore, fitness is a process of accumulating skilled repetition. Once you have ownership of a movement (specific exercise or modality of locomotion) each repetition solicits the intended response. Obtain skill via consistent repetition.

Skill + Repetition = Fitness

  • Note:
    • All workouts are not the same.
      • The stimulus can be general or specific.
      • The action random or programmed.
    • If you can communicate to me what you want to see happen with your fitness or physique, I will train you with this as the focus. 100% focus on your outcome. You will learn why movements are done. You will learn to connect mind to body to movement. In repetition you will seek the feeling. Your time will always be maximized. Workout completion will result in exhaustion. Setting you up for success the rest of your day.
    • Working out is not simple or basic. There are no basic movements. A movement variation is not the destination. The process is one of skill development to increase efficiency en route to product.
    • Realistic approach to fitness means we must be looking for the minimum effective dose (MED). Your daily dose. Reducing workout volume, time, distance, or repetitions, does not require an increase in intensity. Quality. Connection. Focus.
  • Analogy: The Box of Matches…
    • In fitness, racing, or any endeavor where you can effectively choose your level of effort, there are only so many times when you can dig deep. Equate this to striking a match. It flares and burns for a short moment and then it is gone. Thus, distribution of effort should be wisely thought out and intelligently undertaken.
    • If all of your workouts are of the intense variety you will soon plateau. Striking a match that will not ignite. This leads to lost motivation, decreased desire and even a feeling of hopelessness. You’ve deviated from a process mindset.
    • Those matches in your matchbox should be the special spark you rarely use. There when you need them. Prescriptive in nature.
    • With age you have less matches to light.
    • Be cautious with intensity.

“If you have a goal in life that takes a lot of energy, that requires a lot of work, that incurs a great deal of interest and that is a challenge to you, you will always look forward to waking up to see what the new day brings.” — Susan Polis Schultz

  • As a Beginner:
    • Focus on the learning. Understand the why and how. Doing and completion. Numbers and weights do not matter. Your fitness foundation is built upon knowledge.
    • There are no endings, but only beginnings. Move well, beginning at dawn.
    • Engage with a beginners mind. Zero expectations. Ask questions. Use caution.
    • Always use common sense. Do no harm.
    • Speed and intensity are killers. Know your limits.
    • “Constant practice alone is the secret to success.” BKS Iynegar
    • The beginner must become comfortable being uncomfortable. The “new” normal.
    • “Comfort will set us adrift on the current of illusion.”
    • “Work out your own salvation with diligence.”

“Send the harmony of a great desire vibrating through every fiber of your being. Find a task that will call forth your faith, your courage, your perseverance, and your spirit of sacrifice. Keep your hands and your soul clean, and your conquering current will flow freely.”

— Thomas Dreier

  • Parameters of Performance: recognize that at the highest levels genetics come into play, but for the lifestyle athlete this need not be thought of as having a significant effect.
    • Endurance – repeatability
      • A product of enjoyment
    • Strength – control / mastery
      • A product of skill and confidence
    • Power – speed / force
      • A product of genetics and demand (sport / activity)
    • Coordination – awareness / efficiency
      • A product of skill, confidence, and repetition
  • You will learn to understand the mind, discipline, and the concept of force of will.
    • Force of Will: requires one to continually remain in the moment.
      • Extends beyond artificial limits.
      • Employed moment to moment to sustain the training exercise.
      • Becomes a technical proficiency.
      • Makes the act automatic.
        • The act becomes a mind-focus instead of a body-focus.
          • Mind defines conceptual purpose.

“The long span of the bridge of your life is supported by countless cables called habits, attitudes, and desires. What you do in life depends upon what you are and what you want. What you get from life depends upon how much you want it—how much you are will to work and plan and cooperate and use your resources. The long span of the bridge of your life is supported by countless cables that you are spinning now, and that is why today is such an important day. Make the cables strong!” — LG. Elliott

For more information on fitness and lifestyle coaching, please contact me here. I look forward to connecting with you!

Accountability and the Role of the Coach

Accountability…
The Role of the Coach

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
– Abraham Lincoln

Trust. Honesty. Commitment. Follow-through. Presence.

Note: coaching is extremely rewarding. I’ve had the pleasure of being coached by some of the best. Being witness to a stellar example makes implementing those techniques in my practice that much easier. Below are thoughts that arise when I think of coaching, as applied to fitness and lifestyle. Having guided so many through this process, I feel it can be beneficial for the client to visualize the experience before it ever occurs. Call it a preparation for success if you will. 

Onward and Upward, 

Jake Lawrence

What makes coaching work? Simple. Accountability. More specifically an accountability to other(s). If I’m concerned about letting someone down I’ll do a little more, go a little longer, and work a little harder. I can feel their eyes on me. Their smile of approval or words of encouragement exist in spirit as much as in presence. Feeling good? Let’s go deeper… harder. Feeling tired? Let’s ease up, regroup, shorten, or decrease intensity to find momentary balance. 

A good coach will build you up and problem solve with you. The human connection increases the feeling of satisfaction. Positive talk and encouragement become rarities as we age. Relying instead on self-talk to begin, persist, and complete what is required of us. Don’t get me wrong, this will always be required of you, in some way, but as your only point of reference and source of motivation, it can be exhausted quickly. 

A good coach is an example of right-practice. His life aligns with his message. Not only is he a coach, but he is also a student,  valuing the role of a coach in his life. The relationship (coach-client) is symbiotic. One does not exist without the other. They grow together. They learn together. To teach well, the coach must be first a good student… a voracious “learner.” Without students the teacher cannot mature his practice.

Note: professionals with heavy scientific backgrounds will function in a prescriptive manner. Progression is viewed as a step-wise process. Something linear. Predictable. The targets are quantitative. This coaching-teaching relationship is a requirement in one-to-many scenarios (group environments). The problem with this scenario is that the physical activity is harnessed as a mere “tool” to achieve an outcome. Consciousness in each movement (moment) is thus devalued in favor of completion (the whole). However, when taught the power of the physical, it’s necessity to achieve wholeness of being must be consciously understood. It is methodical. Success is not mere completion. Completion is a part of the process which appears eventually in the present. 

To grow stronger and endure more requires continual utilization of the method. Keeping accountable to the movements, respecting their power to permit experience. A good coach prescribes repetition with heightened attentiveness. Engaging the mind to extend duration, thus exposing you to new levels of discomfort. 

A good coach informs you when you are succeeding. He “points-out” or rewards behavior (not perfection) to increase confidence, promoting positive association with future application (via repetitions). Accountability occurs in the present. Once shown the way, you simply need to engage in the process in preparation for the future. The process answers the question. With continuation comes demonstrated improvement. Capability. Competence. When you see and feel the changes, the consequence of your persistence, the once difficult matter of choice is removed. One way is presented. Only one path is lit. Much of what happens, is earned or achieved, is a product of accountability. The coach, your true compatriot, smiles upon you, noticing what you’ve become, and pondering where it is you are yet to go. Just the thought of his investment in your well-being and success should drive you to do your best, making the right choices, bringing enthusiasm and eagerness to each opportunity to learn and grow. 

The Rings are always looking down on me… holding me accountable to the effort.

Define, Decide, Do

Kroger's Canteen

San Juans. Virginius Pass.

Your life gives you a finite amount of time, energy, and focus. Define what gives you the most value and spend your time on that. Do it. The rest is simply details.

—+—

Balance. Keeping it all in check. Working enough to be proficient, but not an excessive amount to be a specialist. I’ve always operated best in a state of balance. Creating my own goals and activities. Using self-monitoring techniques to make decisions.

—+—

Input and Output. Cause and Effect. Analyzing the aftermath.

—+—

Life is never easy. The modern world is demanding. Therefore, we must be flexible. To be flexible we must be competent. Having a diverse set of talents gives you options. Having options provides the power of choice. Well, when you can choose, the effect is never far away.

—+—

Engagement forms the bond. The bond becomes the connection. The connection makes it a lifestyle. When it’s your lifestyle, well, then you own it.

—+—

Think on these things:

  • Life is a continuum. There is no big moment lying ahead. Establish your daily routine now. What you live will be a circular set of experiences.
  • Avoid magical thinking. There are no secrets. All changes are just habits. Learning to say “NO” to things that derail is paramount in importance.
  • Foster your Movement Mindset… 
    • Physical Activity Trumps Body Composition
      • Build it into your daily life
        • Choose simple over complex
          • Get really good at simple
            • do more, with less, more often

—+—

Sequence your year…

My “quarterly” physicality:

  • November to March –
    • strength, flexibility, walking, and patience.
  • March to May –
    • prioritizing endurance, reducing strength and flexibility, increasing recover practices.
  • May to August –
    • extended endurance, goal-specific training, execute a successful race. ***Maybe
  • August to November –
    • hunt, hike, stretch, water, body weight, movement flow.

Coaching – Are You Ready?

“You show me a boy or girl, man or woman with a desire to win, and I’ll show you a person who will work hard the thousands of hours it takes to win. Show me those who want to go to the top, and I’ll show you people who’ll take coaching. They will welcome it. They will beg for it. They will use every God-given talent they have to its utmost. They will drink in inspiration. If they lack desire, they won’t work. They won’t take coaching.”           – Bob Richards Olympic Gold Medalist / Speaker / Coach

Looking back at each developmental stage of my life, I can pinpoint a specific person that was pivotal to my progress. Coaches, mentors, and even friends come into your life at key moments when your curiosity, drive, and focus are at their peak. This is the law of attraction. Connection builds trust. From a position of trust, we open ourselves to suggestion and likely, honest criticism.

When I meet someone I’m always curious about where they are headed. What’s the future look like? How are the decisions they make aligning with said direction? What are the hard choices they are making or putting off?

This curiosity comes from my own self-analysis. I’ve wasted plenty of time. Been complacent. Lazy. Put off hard decisions. Wallowed in self-pity. Made excuses. Quit races. Given up. Been jealous.

The complacent, weak-self I described above ALWAYS occurred when I was without guidance, mentorship or coaching. What’s missing? Accountability and vision. Someone who knows when to build you up, as well as when to break you down and then put you back together.

As a professional coach myself, I value my personal coaches immensely. Investing in yourself shows maturity and a level of commitment to life that can only be described as UNCOMMON.

Lean it out. Cleanse yourself of the common attitudes and opinions of those around you. Self-limiting beliefs can be contagious. Protect your circle. Let your true energy and personality shine through and opportunities will present themselves that you couldn’t have imagined.

Are you ready?

[optin-cat id=”738″]

 

Improving Bodyweight Exercise

  • Make movements harder.
  • Learn to engage and flex muscles in unity.
  • Utilize intense exhalation to contract the diaphragm during peak contraction.
  • Peak contraction facilitates progress.
  • Grease the groove. Move well throughout the day.
  • Slow down. Stop pre-failure.
  • Engage daily.

Performance / Success / Discipline

“A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges. – Don Juan, Carlos Castaneda

Application of the concept of right practice, the pursuit of excellence, or the process of formative lifestyle change/improvement applies to all areas of your life. Making this distinction and honestly engaging each aspect of your existence with these principles is a skill to be consciously employed.

“I appreciate greatness and I appreciate hard work. It’s something about devoting a piece of every day to something that’s far off that’s really inspiring to me. I know there are areas where I can improve, which gives me a lot of confidence that it’s not the peak for me.” Dylan Bowman – Professional Ultrarunner

“Performance is about being your best and learning to do something better. Excellence does not come easily, nor is it automatic for even the most talented, highly-motivated individuals. Rather it stems from the desire to be really good at something and the discipline to make a lasting commitment.” – Connie Carpenter 1984 Gold Medal Cycling

“A performance gap is thereby delineated with maximum specificity between the performance system subject to premature failure and the image of purpose. By employing the force of will, moment to moment, to sustain the training exercise past such points of premature microsystemic failure, the performance of that particular episode of exercise is enhanced.” Michael Livingston – Mental Discipline

Most athletic practice will embrace some fundamental performance objective, and this objective properly will be embodied in a general image of purpose. Discrete performance objectives / maximum specificity. Each microsystem must be trained with maximum intensity.

The purpose of walking the path is not to attain some final destination but simply to progress ever further along that path.

The ego distorts purity of practice. Product-oriented pursuits serve the ego, seeking some objectified result to be achieved through that practice. There is no purity of practice. No commitment to the process.

The purpose must possess a process orientation. This process orientation to the image of purpose, in turn, has two dimensions: intention and direction. The force of will acts on the mind in two ways. First, the mind must be directed, toward some conceptual goal. Second, the mind must be propelled or animated to move in that direction.

The greater the specificity and intensity of practice – that is, the more purposeful – the more effective the practice will be.

Stay the Course…

We grow when challenged. Now, more than ever, it is easy to avoid uncomfortable situations. Social, physical, mental, environmental… they can all become non-existent in our lives. Days turn into weeks turn into months turn into years, they hurry by you. Recognizing a challenge and engaging whole-heartedly without fear of failure, or expectation of success is a trainable skill. Approaching your challenge with a personal, meaningful mantra and reason is paramount. I can’t create your why or reason for you. Spend time in your own head each morning. Rise a little early. Break the routine just a little. Journal. Think. Grow. Be accountable.

Epithets for the self: Upright. Modest. Straightforward. Sane. Cooperative.

Marcus Aurelius

Pick your two words. You know you’re going into a tough assignment—say to yourself over and over again, “strength and courage.” You’re about to have a tough conversation with a significant other: “patience and kindness.” You’re about to lead a team of people, and you’re uncertain of your own ability: “calm and composed.” via Daily Stoic

-Let a man not be corrupted by external things

-Let him be unconquerable and admire only himself

-Let him be courageous in spirit and ready for any fate

-Let him be the molder of his own life

-Let not his confidence be without knowledge, nor his knowledge without firmness

-Let his decisions once made abide

-Let not his decrees be altered by any alteration

-Let him be poised and well-ordered

-Let him show majesty mingled with courtesy in all his actions

Seneca

Be honest. Follow through. Recognize that we often quit at 40% … think about that… you’ve got 60% left to give, it’s there, just waiting to be exposed. Whether training or competing you need to wire your mind to dig deep into the well of effort. This is why you do the uncomfortable, repeatedly. Training is just that. It’s practice. Don’t judge practice. You are your toughest critic. Running 100+ miles in 24 hours is a practice of commitment and self-care. Over and over again you are asking yourself to keep moving for no other reason than a personal commitment. No fame, no glory, no money, nothing but completion of the short journey that is endurance sports.

Value your time and you can create an existence for yourself that will bring you pride and joy. Do it for yourself. Do it for your family. Do it for your soul. Don’t do it for the selfies and likes you may receive. It’s not a reliable source of validation. Accept how much personal power you have. Once realized it may overwhelm you. Move forward and look ahead. The future is now and the path is in front of you.

I applaud your decision to use the sharp knife and make a clean cut on a new future.

Onward and Upward.