Archive for August, 2013

I’m disgusted with myself.

Nay, more than that, I’m disappointed in myself.

Now that I’ve brought you back to the worst thing your parents could ever say to you, I’ll clue you in to the source of my misery.

I’ve become a morning person.

I know.   I’m nauseous just writing it.  Some of you understand my shock, but some of you don’t.  So, why is this revelation so awful?


Because childhood.

There was a day when sleeping half the day away was on my To-Do List, when sleeping in made my day a success, when sleeping in was considered productive in my book.

My dirty little secret?  I like it.

These days, I go to bed excited that I have an alarm set for sometime before 6 (depends on the day) to get me up and to the gym.  I wake up on my off-shift days when I could be sleeping in and go do physical activity.

My 13-year-old self would kick my ass right now for even suggesting such blasphemy.

Despite the betrayal to my inner child, I wouldn’t change a thing.  I love the fact that by the time everyone else is starting their day the hardest part of mine is already over.

The benefits I’ve noticed waking up early and getting to the gym really do outweigh the benefits of sleeping in.  I’m more productive the rest of the day, I have more energy the rest of the day, and the endorphins that I’ve got flowing through me make me much happier than the average Northern Virginian (granted, that’s not saying much.)

Besides those obvious improvements, the most surprising benefit to starting out early is actually my improved sleep habits.  I generally go to bed at a decent hour, I fall asleep, and I stay asleep.  Of course, my current night shift schedule tends to wreak havoc on my circadian rhythm no matter what I do but this certainly helps me on my off days.

Now, I fully understand that everyone’s different and everyone does certain things better at certain times.  No big, if you’re the afternoon/evening gym goer then keep on doing your thing.

I used to be the afternoon gym goer and I changed for two reasons.  First, my workout partner liked the mornings.  Second, my gym is way too damn crowded in the afternoon and as much as I like people, I sometimes kind of can’t stand them.

Okay, really, I just don’t like fighting for equipment at the gym.

That your last set?”

“Yes.  But I am going to sit here and text my girlfriend for the next ten minutes.”

I’m not the only person who feels this way, (obscure reference time!) drummer Martin Atkins’ piece of advice for being successful is, “Get the fuck out of bed.”

Eloquent, elegant, and classy.

If that doesn’t do it for you, take it from a former late sleeper; you might actually like being a morning person.  Give it a shot, worst case scenario you just flip the pillow to cool side and go back to sleep.



“Do everything with passion, pride, strength, perseverance, consistency, patience, and rage.  This is the only way to achieve.”

Now, the nerd in me desperately screams that this is not the way of the Jedi.  That may be true, but let’s be real; they were pretty arrogant and got their asses handed to them for a reason.


Star Wars references aside, I have no idea who first made the statement above but I’ve stumbled across it a number of times while perusing the vast expanses of the interwebz.

Shocker, I completely agree with it.

Fitness is one of my passions.  It consumes my thoughts during my free time; I mean c’mon…I write a blog about it.  I take pride in how I’m taking control of my life.  I have been strong when in the past I would have been weak.  I have persevered though low points.  I have managed to stay consistent in my efforts.  I have learned to have patience with my progress because nothing happens over night.

When I first came across this statement I realized that I had done each of these things without knowing it.  I had utilized each behavior to accomplish my goals and create new ones and the only word that gave me pause was rage.

For those who know me, this should come as no surprise.  I’m generally an easy going person and it takes quite a bit to piss me off.  In the past I could get heated over little things but I’ve largely grown out of that, something I actually attribute to me getting healthy.

Rather than ponder what “rage” meant, I took the next logical step: I Googled it.

Fancy, I know.

A lot of the definitions do talk about anger, but those weren’t the ones that caught my eye.

                    A burning desire or passion.

                    To move with great violence or intensity.

                    To prevail forcefully.

These definitions made sense.

The second definition, though, is what really got me.  All because of one word my soccer coach growing up had stressed to my team.  I will never forget having him stand there and talk to us right before a game or at half time and ask, “What’s that word I’m always talking about?”

The entire team responded with, “Intensity”.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that one word would define my life for both better and worse.  I realize now that when I didn’t give my best in school, when I didn’t care about college like everyone else did, when I allowed myself to become unhealthy, and that when I ever quit anything;

It was because I lacked intensity.

I lacked rage.

Be passionate, take pride, be strong, persevere, stay consistent, have patience, and hold it all together with rage and intensity.  Success will follow.


This week, I decided to be adventurous and go trail running.  Most of my running has been done on a treadmill, so actually covering ground felt awesome.  Running itself felt awesome.  Feeling awesome about feeling awesome about running felt awesome, say it slowly and it will make sense.

The root I stepped on did not feel awesome.




It felt like pain, disappointment, anger, silent mockery of my joy at running, and regret.

But mostly pain.

So, I hobbled myself the half mile back to where we were parked and I was about to give up.  I was going to resign myself to my fate of a rolled ankle and wallow in my own misery.  But that didn’t happen.

Have I mentioned how awesome work-out partners are?  It’s true, it’s science; they’re the shit.

He could tell I was angry, the litany of swear words may have clued him in.  He could tell I was disappointed, probably because I told him.  He could tell I felt bad I cut his workout in half, also because I’m an awesome communicator.

He said, “Dude, let’s go lift.”  And it was good.

I’ll admit that it may not have been the brightest idea.  I probably should have gone straight home and elevated, iced, and medicated my ankle.  But I didn’t and it felt manly as hell to have gone to the gym instead.

That being said, I took the next few days off from working out,  gave it the proper rest that it deserved, and posted the obligatory pictures of it on Instagram.  It’s still healing, but I can at least be active on it.


Now, I tell that story to illustrate a few things.

Number one; rest your injuries, don’t be stupid and do what I did because that could be dangerous.

Number two; get a work-out partner.

Number three; getting in shape is full of up’s and down’s.

That third one is my focus today.  Trials, tribulations, obstacles; whatever you want to call them – they are going to happen.  It’s not even a question.

You don’t have to watch the video below, unless you’re about to work out…then you should totally watch it.

My favorite part : “…it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward.” 

Cheesy?  Yup, but you can’t tell me that Rocky Balboa doesn’t occasionally have a way with words.  That statement, to me, sums up all of the challenges that come with getting healthy.

I read a lot of blogs and articles on being healthy and most of them focus on the physical challenges, much like my example above.  While those certainly are difficult things to overcome, it’s the mental struggle that is always the hardest.

Making the right choices with our food day in and day out, choosing to wake up and go work out rather than sleep in, saying no to getting drunk with our friends, choosing to rest an injury rather than make it worse; all of these things wear down our mental toughness and any of them can cause us to fail.

We will fail.  It’s inevitable.  But, as that quote says, it’s about taking the hit and moving forward.

So, move forward.


Which is exactly why you should get a workout partner.


Of course, the gym doesn’t have to miserable.  Personally, I love going to the gym and look forward to it. I’d be lying, though, if I said there weren’t days when I needed some motivation to actually peel myself from my incredibly comfortable bed and drag my sorry butt to the gym.

Even if the gym isn’t your thing it’s always good to have someone to keep you on track.  I don’t care if you just like to go for a walk in the evenings, having someone text you, “Ready for our walk?” will get you off the couch on those nights you’d rather watch Friends and Seinfeld re-runs.

That is a thing, right? No?  Yeah, I don’t watch those either…

For those of us that do go to the gym, you cannot tell me you haven’t been tempted to cut off a rep or two on that last killer set.  First of all, don’t cheat your sets and reps.  Second, we’ve all been there.  It’s a whole lot harder to sell yourself short when your buddy is the one doing the counting.  It’s also much easier to deal with pain and fatigue when you aren’t doing it on your own.

My workout partner and I pretty much hit the gym together all the time, but there are days when our schedules just don’t match up.  On those days, whoever finishes the workout first seems to throw down the gauntlet to the other via text.

“Knocked out 20 reps at 500 on legs!”

“I hate you.  Challenge accepted.”

It’s not something we plan, but it does make us each push harder when the other isn’t there.

My buddy and his wife have to be the greatest example of workout partners I’ve ever met.  They are in the gym like clockwork every day at 0600 and hit it hard for at least an hour.  Is she anywhere near his level of physical strength?  Nope, but that doesn’t stop her from kicking ass on her sets and pushing him to constantly improve.  Likewise, he pushes her to give her best every set and doesn’t care at all that she’s not pushing the same weight he is.

Frankly, if she was pushing the same weight, it would be the most frightening thing I’ve ever seen.

This brings me to my final point, and really I’m just pointing to a past post.  It’s not about finding a workout partner who lifts what you lift, runs as far or as fast as you run, or even has the exact same goals as you.  It’s about finding someone who pushes you past where you were yesterday and helps hold you accountable to your goals.