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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

Nuts and Bolts of Fitness Coaching

I label myself a fitness, health, and performance coach. The reach of fitness and health is broad, wide, diverse and expansive. It’s almost impossible to quantify the power your physical and mental fitness has on the rest of your life. No matter how successful you may be in other areas of your life, if you don’t have a high standard of fitness and health, you will lack performance.

My approach is simple. Get fit. Be healthy. Stay confident. Fit. Healthy. Confident. It flows right? I believe in coaching for one simple reason: accountability. In most areas of our lives deadlines imposed on us by others. Appointments, due dates, responsibilities, etc. all work to structure our weekly flow. When adding something personal into that mix, such as fitness training, it is paramount that the importance of this addition is treated as highly as those imposed on you by others. This is where your accountability coach comes in.

A few tools I employ to make sure you stay on track and have success:

  1. Private Fitness Training App/Website
  2. A requirement that all fitness and health activities be recorded and tracked.
  3. Sunday night check-in.
  4. Upgrade: “live” training via facetime, skype or other video calling service.
  5. Consequences for non-compliance. If you aren’t participating, you are gone.

Do you run a marathon to get to the finish line? Seems like a lot of hard work to simply stop the clock, right? No, you run a marathon to experience the journey along the way. From the day you commit to the process your life begins to change. No excuses. Do what has to be done to be successful!

Find Your Limiter

Your Limiter

Simple movements will expose you. Therefore, they should be, and are, all you need to evolve in your body-knowledge. Developing an understanding of what skilled movement patterns require takes patience and commitment.

I thoroughly enjoy this process! Lowering repetitions, yet keeping time under tension high has forced me to engage more, mentally.

In my profession, the plank allows me to assess where the client is weak. Their limiter could be core-strength, unactivated glutes, poor leg-tension, weak chest, weak shoulders, weak triceps, or an un-present mind. Movements are linked and connected, thus, how you do one thing is how you do everything.

Modifications are numerous. The plank can be performed from your knees, or with hands on an elevated bench, chair, or bar. Yoga blocks and parallettes are fun additions.

Simple Implementation. 1:00 Plank. 1:00 Squats. 1:00 Walking Lunges. 1:00 Rest. Repeat three times.

Free your mind and make it happen.

All Change Must Start From Within

What is your “why?”

What do you want from life? How will losing weight, finishing the triathlon, going on that hike, or simply having more energy make your life better? Establishing your why is essential to forming new, healthy habits. All change must start from within. The mind is extremely powerful and will win most internal arguments (see what I did there).

Where does your motivation come from? Really own this answer. It will help keep you on the path.

Think small. Look at your priorities and define short-term realistic goals. The change will be incremental, so start with one habit, work on it day by day until you own it. Move on only when ready.

Movement, Muscle and Metabolism

“And while these pounds were being shed, while the physiological miracles were occurring with the heart and muscle and metabolism, psychological marvels were taking place as well. Just so, the world over, bodies, minds, and souls are constantly being born again, during miles on the road.” – Dr. George Sheehan

  1. Invest your resources in your chosen mode of movement. Facilitation of activity.
  2. Cardio/endurance commitment precedes strength training. Build habits before refinement and instruction.
  3. Avoid all diets. If it has a name or title, it won’t last, and you’ll spend a lot of money in the process.
  4. Keep a journal. Document how lifestyle choices (food, work, sleep, entertainment, drink, stress, etc.) make you feel.
  5. Graze throughout the day.
  6. Schedule periods of relaxation during the day.
  7. Sleep 7+ hours a night.

“What the jogger’s face shows is not boredom but contemplation, which Thomas Aquinas described as man’s highest activity save one—contemplation plus putting the fruits of that contemplation into action.” – Dr. George Sheehan

Be confident and adamant about how you live your life. No explanations. No excuses. You own it, when you no longer feel like you are missing out on your old lifestyle. Movement, the endorphins and positivity it cultivates, is the way.

Our life is a game. Play it often and play it well. Don’t take what you do, or the decisions you make too seriously. Do your best. That’s enough.

Why You/I Need a Coach

Why you/I need a coach.

While shopping for solutions to your health and fitness needs you will run across a multitude of programs, videos, special equipment, and many other products. This is easy to create and sell. Generally the marketing of the products is centered on how simple it is to do on your own. This is where the problems can start…

Starting a self-applied training program is a big step in having some ownership of your health. You are making a commitment. Time in your day that once was given to some other activity is now being assigned to this new fitness endeavor. Comfort and security is traded for discomfort and insecurity. You are being asked to begin the learning process again. It’s easy to start, but will you be able to finish? Can you quell the voices in your head as the soreness sets in the next morning? Will you make the right nutritional choices so that your body can begin to work on changing its composition? These are big questions, but they are real.

So what can a coach do for me? We all have notions of what the role of a coach is, some are positive, some are negative, but for most of us we’ve never had a personal coach. Coaching is usually seen in a group/team environment, focused on the group’s outcome. In our adult lives most of our achievements are assessed on the personal level. How do you stand out? Why are you achieving? What’s holding you back? Fitness coaching and Health coaching are two sides of the same coin. On one side your have fitness coaching, which is mainly concerned about the nuts and bolts of your physical training on a daily basis. On the other side you have health coaching, which is concerned with who you are 24 hours a day. The focus here is on your life: your stresses, job, demands, time, health, habits, etc. As you can see a lot goes into helping someone become successful. In modern, urban life it’s not innate or natural to have balance. The scale is always tipped one direction or the other. Solutions are there to be found, but we can’t assume that we have the capability, time, or energy to invest in personally finding those solutions. It’s a complex web of factors that produce your current state of health and fitness.

A coach works with you to provide solutions. On a basic level, it is accountability and commitment. On a deeper level it is accessibility. Having a guide to answer your questions, not generally, but specifically, will arm you with real personal solutions. For me, knowing that I have a good coach, with my best interests at the forefront of their thoughts and actions is invaluable. General knowledge is helpful, but it is often communicated as “the way” when in fact there is no one-way.

In parting, keep this in mind:

  • Establish Goals
  • Develop Action Plans to Achieve Goals
  • Become a Part of a Team
  • Receive Individual Guidance
  • Be Armed with Knowledge to Make the Needed Corrections
  • Experience the Power of Personal Health Solutions
  • Own Your Health and Fitness

 

Accountability and Initiating Positive Change

Operating a private personal training studio is a really unique experience.  Clients are seeking my services out, knowing a good amount about what I am providing already.  This makes the transition from potential client, to active client, a rapid process.  Goals are expressed immediately as are opportunities and limitations.  The process has begun.

Example: I am the initiator of positive change.  Last week I was approached by a women in her early 50’s who was very frustrated by the recent changing in her body, brought on by inactivity and the hormonal changes that occur in a females body at that time.  She knew how much weight she had gained, where she had gained it, and what additions and subtractions needed to be made in order to succeed.  She also knew that a personal trainer or fitness coach was the next piece in the puzzle to initiate positive change.  Creating an outline, following a plan, sticking to the schedule will bring success.

The hardest part about making incremental positive changes is accountability.  When we become adults we have less people to be accountable to.  Parents, teachers, and other authority figures are not a part of our daily decision making process.  We are free to eat what we want, sleep whenever, spend our time any which way we choose.  Our fitness is often one of the first things we lose during this transition to adulthood.  It’s the thing that we “worry about later”.  Sometimes it is a slap in the face or reality check that is needed to elicit the need for positive change.

Everyone needs accountability.  Whether that be registering for a marathon, hiring a trainer or coach (health, business, life, financial, etc.), or even as simple as a book club.  In order to move forward their needs to be a direction, and ultimately a culmination of the process.  As an athlete that direction is the daily training and that culmination is the race day.

Success is the ultimate positive.

Commitment is the only way.

Get Fit.  Be Healthy.  Stay Confident.