On Reflection…

You tell me that I make no difference… at least I’m fucking trying… what the fuck have you done? It’s in my eyes… and it doesn’t look that way to me in my eyes.

–– Minor Threat

I move to connect. Life is engagement with environment. Choice. Do not expect an outcome. No expectation, no judgment. Time is a mere reflection of passing. Abandon past associations. Connect with presence.

Possessions distract from that which gives life. Creativity, the elixir of experience, thrives on simplicity.

The less I feel the need to do the more life becomes spontaneous. Structure heightens productivity, yet smothers the creative force of the instant.

In motion, I am free to be. Moving rhythmically, I commune with free-space, absent any labels (sex, status, age, race, etc.) my expression is pure. In this moment I am free to follow my thoughts, set an intention, initiate action, and live out my expectations.

Upon completion, I am at peace. Stillness arrives in the space created by exertion. Here I sit with coffee, pencil, and paper. Warmth and elevated heart rate replaced with a clear mind and present thought. To communicate thought through writing is to live life twice.

Clarity may not always arrive, but when it does, so too follows flow.

Initiate. Experience. Reflect.

2018 Bighorn 100

Strength:

Preparation is More Profitable than Reparation

Lifting – Calisthenics – Repetition – Resistance – Tension

When done right, controlled, quality movements alter our physique. Moving through a full range of motion properly flexes each muscle and strengthens the body. When done incorrectly, mindlessly, injury, imbalance, and poor biomechanics develop.

Refrain from chasing fatigue. Elevated HR should be momentary in the realm of strength as it is not sustainable, and its effects on performance are profound. Learn to breathe and maximize your repetitions. Build on the finishing rep, stopping at a pre-determined number, or when form, ROM, or mental fatigue dictates.

  1. Quality > Quantity
  2. Repetition = Practice… perfect practice is the way
  3. Avoid training a fatigued movement or body part
  4. Master bodyweight exercise, learn to flex the working muscles
  5. Understand tension. Apply it from the ground up. Contact points force tension
  6. Analyze effort in the present moment. One focused rep > many poor reps
  7. Mind (logic). Body (tool). Will (desire, belief). Heart (passion, purpose, potential).

Source: heart space. To satisfy the heart is a basic human desire. The body is your vessel. It feeds and stimulates the mind. Carefully assess desire by logically analyzing feelings.

The mind sees an image or an ideal and forms purpose around that concept. At times, the heart is hard to hear. But, if you give it a voice, it will promote what feels purposeful.

Passion + Purpose + Potential = YOU

  • Passion: Enjoyment + Positivity
  • Purpose: Improvement + Health + Ability
  • Potential: Effort + Commitment + Genetics

Purpose. Act with intention. Feel better more often. Create positivity. Participate in your health with knowledge that you are addressing a need. Honor the mental benefit of completion. Confidence. Feed a need: to sweat, get fresh air, get outside, get sunshine, loosen up, exert, socialize, practice a movement, address an injury, gain a skill, prepare for an event, activity, sport or vacation. Increase self-esteem and body satisfaction. Cultivate your self-image to experience your best life.

Your will to engage and participate is dependent on the purpose. Define it… tattoo it to your soul. Lifestyle. Feel it, think it, absorb it and eventually you will become it. Things take time. My belief is that we arrive at our destination regardless of time. The connection of mind + body + soul is not one that can be rushed/forced. Get passionate about it. Explore your potential. Commit to learning, practicing, and engaging with effort. You can’t fake passion. It’s not coming from your mind. Logic rationalizes. Passion comes from the heart and soul, creating a desire to do the thing, to have the experience. Desire leads to repetition, which exposes and fosters potential.

Live purposefully in this moment. Create a passion in your life that enhances and allows you to experience the visceral rewards of an active, athletic lifestyle. Blend the intellectual with the physical. Recognize that convenience of our modern lifestyles has removed the natural act of movement and the stimulation of the senses that comes from a physical activity.

If any part of your uncertainty is a conflict between your heart and your mind – follow your mind. — John Galt

The mind is rational. It assesses the choice… the fork in the road… using past experience to guide your decision. Past forms present, creating future. If your mind is clear and honest it may open a new door, restore dormant confidence, or expose a hidden truth. Listen. The heart connects you to the spiritual, earthly, and celestial. Aliveness and sense of passion flow from the heart.

If you don’t agree with something don’t do it. But don’t do it because that’s what people do. – Ian Mackaye

The purpose of strength training is to place you (mind/thought/self) in direct confrontation with your body. Explore, express, then learn. What makes sense to you, as you are, at this moment? Presence matters more than progression. Your success is dependent on attitude, not situation. The observational point of view removes emotion from the analysis. Step back.

ORIGINALITY AND INTENSITY > FORMAL TRAINING AND STRUCTURE

The strength to break bonds to the past is in the braking of present habits of mind and body. Others may inspire us, but it is through our own struggles that we live the heroic journey. From this point on refuse to shy from (the potential of) fatigue, failure, and disappointment. Action creates whereas stagnation destroys. For our lives have the potential to be the stories that inspire those whom we know well, and those we may never meet. It is through action that we may rewrite the human story. To create something meaningful you must love the expression of your heart more than you love yourself.

The Hobby: Cultivating Space and Time for Personal Growth

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. Yet, one cannot be assigned for you. You must manifest the desire from within. 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 will require a substantial amount of freespace. This is not a bad thing. Here you may discover how little 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.

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.

From years of relection and journaling I’ve come 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. The story you tell around the next campfire will hopefully be born from your own journey.

Onward and Upward.

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

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″]

 

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.

Live the Script to Nutrition Success

Image result for jack lalanne

I train like I’m training for the Olympics or for a Mr. America contest, the way I’ve always trained my whole life.  You see, life is a battlefield.  Life is survival of the fittest.  How many healthy people do you know?  How many happy people do you know?  Think about it.  People work at dying, they don’t work at living.  My workout is my obligation to life.  It’s my tranquilizer.  It’s part of the way I tell the truth – and telling the truth is what’s kept me going all these years. – Jack LaLanne

Despite being quite fit and strong since I can remember, there was always something missing. I never missed a workout, and if I did, I’d make up for it by doing calisthenics in my spare moments at home or in between commitments. Instant feedback, endorphin rush, muscle pump, vascularity, increased energy, etc. kept me coming back day in and day out. Nutrition wasn’t even on my radar. I consumed too much of everything bad and had an immature relationship with nutrition and health. I was lazy and took shortcuts whenever I could. Luckily, this didn’t last…

Fast forward to late 2005. I had started to make fitness and personal training my career. Surrounded by friends who had matured in their nutrition and consumption behaviors, as well as clients that struggled with this aspect (some mightily), I started to take this aspect more seriously. Still, I wasn’t ready to give up the food as pleasure outlook I’d been living my entire life. Jump ahead a few more months and my training curiosity placed me in the bodybuilding world in the summer of 2006. Good nutrition builds lean mass. A heavy rotation of protein: steak/fish/chicken/eggs, and healthy carbs: sweet potatoes and brown rice, had me realizing the work hard, eat smart equation produces results. I signed up for a competition, which built-in accountability and added a deadline feature to this process. A magic formula if there ever was one. My food choices were narrowed down to only those things that would guarantee a successful outcome. Elimination works. Just getting rid of the sweets, refined sugars, and most carbs had me leaning out and putting on muscle. The decision fatigue that plagues many adults was no longer present. I had begun to evolve as an adult.

After competing in the bodybuilding competition I realized that the weightlifting lifestyle was not for me. Being active, mobile, light, lean, and adaptable was much more appealing. I started rock climbing and trail running. Both sports require a maximum strength to weight ratio. Like bodybuilding, the sport, or activity, was the driver for the nutritional component to follow. Fueling for prolonged movement meant eating less (volume), but more nutritionally dense foods. The focus was on feeling light and agile. Over time, my appearance shifted quite drastically. I was smaller but leaner, and more striking in physicality. Think Bruce Lee versus an NFL linebacker. The saying, “appearance is a consequence of fitness” became something I could actually relate to.

Epiphany. I can control how I look and feel by moving daily, and eating only healthy foods. We all know this works. Live the script day in and day out. By doing this you will develop your own standard.

My Nutritional Environment:

  • Drink a lot of water with a pinch of sea salt. Start your day with 20-24 ounces of cold water. Drink up to 1 gallo throughout the day depending on the activity level and environmental demands.
  • Water. Coffee. Tea. An adult beverage in the evening.
  • Smoothie:
    • Almond or Coconut Milk
    • Almond Butter
    • Blueberries
    • Spinach
    • Protein Powder
    • Local Honey
  • Snacks (options):
    • Mary’s Gone Crackers (costco in bulk)
    • Avocado
    • Kirkland Protein Bars (costco in bulk)
    • Hardboiled Eggs
    • Dates
    • Macadamia Nuts
  • Dinners:
    • Chicken / Sardines / Venison / Steak
    • Occasional sweet potato, brown rice, or other carbs
    • Spinach salad w/beets, carrots, feta, avocado oil and sea salt
      • or similar combo of veggies, sometimes sauteed.
  • Cheating:
    • 1-2 meals a week. Keep it to a meal, not an entire day. Make sure you are very active on that day and it won’t set you back very much.
  • Always check in with how your nutrition is making you feel. This is key.
    • NOTE: be honest with alcohol. Don’t consume within 90 minutes of bedtime or you’ll pay for it in quality of sleep, hydration, and performance the next day.
  • Be smart when you intake carbs. Make sure they go right to an activity or are being stored for a big cardio/endurance event the next morning.

Many years later I still adhere to this philosophy. Make good choices easier by limiting your options. Repetition is beneficial or harmful. I choose to make it beneficial by making the high-calorie meal the outlier. Plan for success. Foster the environment for this to occur.

Make the transformational process of owning your health a focused competition with hard deadlines. This works! Remember that today is the best day of the rest of your life and live it that way. Positive choices > Negative choices. Win the day.

Writing this reminded me of a great article that arrived in my inbox last summer. Click here to read.

Smart Training = Avoiding Fatigue

Have you ever experienced the feeling of decreased self-control, or willpower due to simply being tired? I know I have. Finishing a long run, depleted, I’m susceptible to cravings and impulses I simply do not normally have. Sweets, carbs, bread, beer, etc. Following the “positive” comes a negative.

What do you think this is telling your body?

The same can be seen in the effects of excessive high-intensity interval training. Crushing workouts followed by fatigue, lead to diminished discipline and heightened reward signals.


  1. Know the purpose of your training:
    1. Why are you exercising? Body composition change? Image enhancement? Mental and physical performance? Hobby?
    2. Your purpose should direct the type of exercise you employ, as well as your nutritional needs.
  2. Avoid the extremes:
    1. Injuries happen when you ignore the signals your body is giving you. Excessive fatigue before, during or after exercise is a “Red Flag” to be respected. Stop and reassess.
    2. Only use a training weight that you can manage effectively. Ignore rep counts that you can’t mentally stay engaged long enough to handle.
    3. Where the mind goes the body follows. If 100% focus is not happening, then stop the exercise. More harm than benefit may be had on this day.
  3. Leave a little in the tank:
    1. Learn to leave something in the tank for the other events of your day, or tomorrows workout. Consistency and repetition are where your results will come from, not the temporary beat down of too much too soon and subsequent delayed recovery.
  4. Exercise in a 1:1 environment or alone:
    1. Distractions help pass the time, but it is not passing the time that we are after.
    2. Mind/Body is not a byproduct. Manifest the desired outcome and picture it happening.
  5. Less is More:
    1. Simply put. Learning to engage a muscle, what it feels like to achieve a proper contraction and seeking that feeling each repetition will give you amazing results.
    2. Eating less frees your body up to focus on aspects other than digestion and recovery.
    3. Less time spent exercising means more time spent living with your fitness.

Remember that your fitness and health are positive enhancers to your lifestyle. Engage in the learning process. Mastering a few key aspects of movement will do more for your health than any amount of variety can muster.

Onward and Upward!

Does your training lift you up, or beat you down?

Assessing how you feel before, during, and after a training session is essential.

Some things to consider while training:

  1. Stress comes when you don’t feel in control. After you’ve done the movement in a few training sessions there should be no stress associated. If it stresses you out or requires too much effort to complete, move on to an exercise you can safely complete.
  2. Rep count does not matter. This is exercise not a prescription or competition. A few good, quality repetitions are better than many partial or cheated ones.
  3. Modifications are good. Have trouble with walking lunges? Use trekking poles, or do them in place, next to something you can use for balance (couch, bench, etc.).
  4. Weight. Start light. Take your time. If you can move it easily, work your way up. When it challenges you, stay there for a few sessions to build confidence in the exercise, set or workout. Repetition trumps variety.

How do you feel after a set? Stressed, exhausted, out of control? Those feelings are to be, mostly, avoided. Anxiety, fear, and worry don’t lend themselves to repetitive behavior. On the other hand, elation, positive energy, and enthusiasm build confidence and pleasure, which lead to increased repetition.

  1. Find out what you enjoy and repeat it.
  2. Build skills in 5 or so exercises you can go back to on a daily basis. Developing skill leads to the ability to increase resistance and difficulty. Variety is not necessary.
  3. Remember why you are exercising: to progress, maintain, become more able/capable, increase energy, increase outlook, enhance performance in all areas, and improve both health and quality of life.

Forced oxygenation and deep breathing change your bodies chemistry. This is a bonus to strength training in a circuit format. Transitioning and actively recovering while training is a skill that once possessed, powerfully changes your approach to movement.

Until you have the skillset you shouldn’t seek out the pain and strain of hard training. Shortcuts lead nowhere worth going. Time spent in foundation building is never wasted.

Think of your fitness training as building skillsets to last a lifetime. Moving well throughout your life is more important than momentary glory obtained in youth.

Evolve

Into The Unkown / Arrowhead 135 Extreme Endurance Ultramarathon

Sometimes, head down, into the unknown, is the only way to go.

Changing course can be a stressful event. Exchanging comfort and control for the unknown is often too much for one to handle. From personal experience, I can attest to this. Recognizing, though, that time moves quickly, and making transitions requires taking action, I’ve become more open to evolving. Opinions, priorities, habits, people all must at some point be questioned. The desire to be yourself must be greater than the need to be liked or to fit in.

Have I become stagnant? Am I moving forward? Is my mobility upward?

Honesty, with yourself, is essential. Self-assessments can be harsh. You must remember that it is easy to judge yourself harshly. Comparisons (to others, and society) are easy to make, yet often disregarded is the fact that your (my) goals and direction may be different from the common human. Moving through life, living true to yourself, accepting the discomfort of alienation (self or group imposed) requires maturity and confidence. Thus continuing to evolve, your positions should be questioned and challenged.

It’s up to you. If you are happy with your current trajectory, by all means, continue onward. For those of you that are still curious, don’t fret, you are not alone. Take comfort in that. Understand that your self-confidence is paramount to living an authentic life. Evolve from within. Learn new skills. Disengage from that which may be holding you back. We all know what those things are in our lives. Evolving requires honesty.

Do not be afraid to use the knife on the reins of your existence. Freedom is always one swift slash away.