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

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.

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.

How I Improve “It” Every Day: Base Fitness

The biggest question that is asked of me, and that I ask of others is what or how do you do it? This question is always hard to answer, because as a trainer/teacher/coach I have a strong understanding that everyone is different. Thus, I’m fearful of others diving down my path to achievement or success. Needless, I have found some very strong parallels in those that have continual success. For the purpose of this post, I will keep it fitness related, though it applies to success across all areas of life.

Time. How much time does it take? When I’m training to maintain my fitness, while also enjoying life (food, drink, etc.), one hour each day is my bare minimum. This can be one hour of running, or a split hour of biking and stair-climbing, or a tri-hour of biking, rowing, and stair-climbing. Focused movement, one hour. As an endurance athlete, my “quality time” is that which is spent training specifically for endurance. This is the time each day/week/month that I track to make sure I’m staying consistent. I do also spend 60-90 minutes each week strength training, but I only track that if it is specific to my endurance training (squats/deadlifts/lunges/kb swings).

How do you find the time? When I consume media, I’m doing my cardio. Podcasts, books, or the occasional documentary are all enjoyed while working out on the indoor trainer (bike), or stair-master. I really enjoy this. If I were to recommend one takeaway from this article it would be to find an endurance activity that is convenient for you (could be just walking) and do it while listening to a podcast, audiobook, or in the case of indoor activities, reading on your kindle/iPad.

Enjoyment. You’ve got to enjoy fitness for it to show. No way around this one. If you enjoy working out, and attend to that part of your life every day, it will show. For most people, this is the goal, for it to show… to be recognized by your peers, family, and friends as someone that has a certain level of fitness. You can’t fake this. It’s so easy for me to invest the necessary time, because I enjoy it, and I really really want it to pay off, either athletically, or simply in enhanced appearance.

Activities. The more you have, the more you can pull from, the more likely it is you will be successful each day. The hardest part of programming or writing weekly workouts is the rigidity. By nature, I’m extremely flexible in my daily fitness. I’ll have 2-4 things I can choose from to address my fitness needs each day. Usually, running is at the top of the list, but on occasion, that will get swapped for a workout on the trainer, a row on the concept 2, or a long climb on the stair-master. I like it all, so I’ve got options. Options = Success. Remember that by skipping a workout session, you skip the essential hour of exercise each day. When those skipped days add up, it’s pretty obvious why you aren’t being successful.

Correlation. Working out (exercise) is a fairly sufficient beast on its own. You can make some great gains in your strength and cardio by only focusing on the workout. With nutrition, you can also make some great gains in the area of weight loss by only focusing on nutrition. When you combine the two, and use them to keep you accountable and attentively to both elements, results happen VERY quickly. Starting both at the same time is a pretty strong shock to the system, but stick with it for 3-4 weeks and you will start to re-wire your operating system. You see, it’s all about TIME. How much you invest each day, each week, each month, and ultimately over your lifetime. When you make it quantifiable it is easily trackable. By tracking it, you can see patterns develop (both success and failure) and work to accentuate the positive behaviors.

Daily. With the goal of one hour of movement (aerobic based) each day, this will set you on the path to success. In addition, by starting to add some basic strength exercises: squats, pull-ups, and/or push-ups into the equation you also address the structural needs of your physique. Squats build and define your thighs and butt. Pull-ups build your biceps, back, shoulders, and core. Push-ups build your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. This is the “secret” …. daily practice. When something gets easier, you can do a little more. Now, you are on the confident and success driven path. You’ll find yourself willing to set aside more time for these activities.

The Mind. This is the big one. Initially you must conquer the complacency of the mind. The mind seeks comfort and consistent patterns. Interruptions are resisted, but must come anyway. The body communicates it’s current ability. When your fitness level is very low, the body must be driven forward by a disciplined mind. Once these two work together, making daily choices on exercise and nutrition, which positive path to take, the success process takes form.

Engage in the process. Immerse yourself in learning about topics, people, and practices of successful, enhanced living.

Tracking: attackpoint.org

Podcasts: Tim Ferriss, Joe Rogan, Sam Harris, Tara Brach

Books: whatever motivates!

Be Tenacious!

Be Tenacious!
Live relentlessly. Progress continuously.

One of my female athletes, Kristen, recently completed a half-marathon. Kristen is one tough person. She is eager, enthusiastic, goal-oriented and accountable. Essentially, she’s a dream client. She gives honest, real feedback and asks questions, anything from nutrition, to supplementation, to body rhythms and rest. Kristen has also come a long way.

Like many other female clients, Kristen sought order and structure in her health. I find that women operate in extremes a bit more than men, and their bodies often are the representation of that extreme. The spectrum can run from super, rail-thin, nutrient deficient to obese, compulsive, coping behavior. The unifying factor with each of these women, and all the women in between is purpose. My initial job is to help define and represent purpose in relation to fitness training and exercise. If I can relate daily positive behavior and choices, to a goal-success that we’ve established, the “realness” of the association makes the lifestyle easier to accept.

Women are fierce in their self-representation. Using their intellect, career, passions, and life-balance to do so. Simply put: women seek to achieve objectives, which makes them such a joy to work with.

Getting back to my athlete Kristen, her goal was to establish control and increase her capacity to do. Meaning she wanted to be balanced nutritionally, to have energy to workout after a long day at work, to be able to do pushups and pull-ups, to be able to run 10k’s, half-marathon’s, and race sprint triathlons. Once we made the association (of fitness and life empowerment) the commit to change was solidified. The path to lifestyle change is best represented by the stock market. We want to trend upward, avoiding deep valleys, while investing the time needed to see fruition. When Kristen experienced failure or inadequate results in training she would always ask/wonder “how and why”. It wasn’t “I can’t do those” or “I can’t do that”. How and why are the two questions that continue to keep her on the path of relentless, forward, progress.

When Kristen lined up to run that half-marathon she had been living the lifestyle for one full year. The journey had brought her to the race start, not a year older, but a year better, a completely different person now stood waiting anxiously for the starting gun to fire. The race unraveled a lot like any new challenge undertaken. Ability, energy and enthusiasm carried her to the 9-mile mark averaging 7:45/mile, which is a great pace. Then, suddenly things changed. She got sick, and started cramping badly. It got so bad she passed out twice, falling hard onto the pavement and getting scraped up. When she came to, her calves were so tight they had to be massaged at the aid stations. Do you think she quit? No. She was tenacious. The previous year of problem solving and solution seeking had set her up to succeed. Kristen’s mindset was to give her best, always. Making it to the finish line, she was very sore, battered and a bit confused as to what had just happened, but ELATED that she finished!

In the days that followed we came to the conclusion that her diet was simply not supplying her with enough fuel for her active lifestyle. Her body also was lacking in minerals and electrolytes, which led to the cramping. These are easy things to fix moving forward.

Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right. Having a “can-do” attitude and spirit is something that you have or you don’t. We must all do our best to cultivate a positive spirit that lives for the experience. It’s never a failure if we refuse to quit!

Always remember, you are better than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can. Now go do it!