Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

The secret.

That’s what everyone wants, right? That’s the headline that commercials use to sell you something that will, supposedly, grant you your greatest wish.

You want to be skinny, take this pill. You want abs, buy this device. You want muscles, do this program for just 15 minutes a day.

I believe that they’re selling something else that’s much worse. I believe that all of these products are designed to make you feel like less. People want to sell you a feeling of inadequacy so that you’ll give them your money to feel better.

Frankly, that shit pisses me off.

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This man spits truth

Everyone is capable of living a healthy life without buying into a bunch of bullshit. I looked in a mirror one day and decided I didn’t like what I saw so I decided to do something about it. You know what special stuff I bought?

Spinach. Chicken. Turkey. Almonds. An abbreviated list for sure, but you get my point.

Everything else was sweat and, spoiler alert, you don’t have to pay anyone to work up a sweat.

That being said, I did realize something at the gym this morning.

Okay, yeah, I pay for the gym. I’m a hypocrite. But I didn’t pay for a gym until over a year into my “get healthy” kick.  I digress…

I wasn’t completely feeling it when I got to the gym. It was one of those days where I walked in and just wasn’t focused. I did a decent warm up and decided to go down to the punching bags to see if I could get into a groove. They help me focus and cut out distractions.

I still got distracted, but in the best possible way.

There are pull-up bars at the bunching bags and I figured I might as well knock a few out. As I got to the top of the first one, I felt good.

Second one, still good.

Third one, I pause at the top and look down at the bar.

Fourth one, I pause again to look at the bar.

It wasn’t that long ago that I couldn’t do pull-ups. I was that kid in P.E. that dreaded the physical fitness tests because the pull-ups were the one damn thing I couldn’t do. Granted, I wasn’t the only one, but it was still embarrassing to me.

I dropped down from the bar and I looked up at it and started laughing. The poor guy doing air squats a few feet away looked slightly alarmed, so I checked myself and got back to pulling. From that moment on, I was on fire. I was all over the place in the gym and my shirt was drenched by the end of it. I ignored everyone else and did my own thing. I was focused.

Cue “Eye of the Tiger” or “Danger Zone”. Whatever you prefer for the mental montage I just painted in your brain.

I had fallen back in love with the process all over again.

That’s the secret. Not just to getting in shape, but to pretty much everything.

I’ve talked here and there about my music playing. I was never a natural and had friends that were. I played soccer and learned how to be a pretty decent goalie, but I was never a natural like my friends who seemingly channeled Pele at times. I was incredibly jealous of people who just “got it.” People who could just pick something up and do it. I was never that guy.

The fact that I was never a natural at anything is my greatest gift. Anything I’ve ever wanted to be good at or improve at I have had to work for. I’ve had to pour everything I’ve got into making even a measly inch of progress. My buddy has watched me land flat on my back learning how to properly kick the punching bag. He pointed out, though, that I popped back up and tried it again.

(Full disclosure: both my pride and ass were sore that day. Such is life.)

For all of those things, the common denominator is falling in love with making progress; however small it may be. That’s the real secret. Sure, I’ve spouted off about hard work and consistency hundreds of times, but those things pale in comparison to simply enjoying what it is you’re doing.

Don’t pay somebody so that you can feel like less. You’ve got this.

-Moody

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Well, at the risk of repeating myself… I’m going to repeat myself.

Sort of.

I’m just going to start it with a simple statement and we’ll move on from there.

Losing weight and losing fat are two different things.

Tons of people want to “lose weight.”  That’s what they say, or something to that effect.

“Yea, I’d like to lose some weight and get back into shape.”

Hell, I said it.  Maybe I’m messing with semantics here, but what I really wanted to do was lose fat and I’d be willing to bet that that’s what most people want; to lose fat.

I had to learn the hard way that losing fat and losing weight are two entirely different beasts.  Certainly, at the size I was before, losing weight really was the goal.  That involved losing fat and some of the muscle I had built up over the years.  There was no way I could possibly change the fact that I had to lower my numbers in general to get healthy.

That being said, for people who aren’t nearly as bad off as I was, I think there is way too much emphasis on the numbers on the scale.  I’ve probably put on ten to fifteen pounds in the last few months (depends on the scale I borrow, since I don’t own one).

Yep, I gained weight.  But you know what?   I’m okay with that.

Along with those ten-fifteen pounds I’ve added wide grip pull-ups to my repertoire of exercises, I’ve put up higher numbers on all of my compound lifts, I’ve gained tons of endurance both muscular and cardiovascular, I’ve gotten faster during sprints, and I’m finally starting to see the outline of that six pack dream I’m chasing.

You can’t tell me that losing weight is always the answer.

We know muscle weighs more than fat per pound.  So why is it so hard for people to grasp that gaining muscle and adding a few pounds because of it is not the end of the world?

The damn scale.  The damn TV you’ve got next to your scale telling you what you should weigh.  The damn social network that scoffs anytime you mention “health.”

All of these things tell us that the number on the scale is more important than how we feel.  Well, I’ve gained weight, guess how I feel?

FUCKING AWESOME.

Seriously.

I wasn’t always this confident about that particular feeling.  When I first happened to chance a look at a scale and saw that I was heavier, I had a panic attack.  I even regressed a little and starting cutting calories thinking I had messed up somewhere.  I’m not supposed to be gaining weight.  I’m going to end up like I used to be.  I’m going to undo everything I’ve worked for the last two years.

You know, panicky stuffs.

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Luckily, I didn’t do too much damage to my progress before I figured out the truth.  I was in the middle of doing pull-ups and realized that I wasn’t struggling like I used to.

How is it I’m heavier and doing more than I’ve ever done?”

“Oh…dammit.”

It’s not easy to be someone who was overweight and see the scale go back up.  It’s probably not easy for anyone to see those numbers creep up.  It makes you feel like you’re headed in a direction you swore you’d never go again or would never go at all.  But if you take a second to stop and think about it, you may be heading exactly where you need to.

I think the best way for people to avoid the minor crisis I had would be to really think about their goals.  Define what exactly it is you are trying to accomplish and then find out what that goal actually entails.

Trying to lose fat.”—> Okay, I’m going to lose some of my strength/muscle mass.

“Trying to get stronger.” —> Yep, I’m gonna put on some pounds.

“Increase my cardio.” —> I’m going to want to puke after most of my workouts.

The truth is that I had been kind of winging it up until this point.  I made healthy choices but I wasn’t really sure what I was aiming at other than, “Be healthy.”  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it can have an impact when you start to see the numbers changing in either direction.

Realistically I know that not everyone is going to rid of their scale.  It’s just not done.  We judge our progress by numbers and, I admit, seeing numbers reflect our hard work is incredibly satisfying.  So, in lieu of that, maybe we should put more thought into how we feel off the scale than we do when we’re on it.

-Moody

“Have you tried the (insert name here) diet?”

You know what I’m talking about. Paleo, South Beach, Atkins; if it’s got a marketable name then it’s a Fad diet. I get that question all the time along with, “Have you tried (insert workout they saw on TV here)?”

Lately, I’ve been encountering a spate of these questions in person and otherwise. It’s not that I mind, but most of those people read this… so I figure I’ll hit all of the birds with one stone.

To begin with, I’m not calling these things out as bad because my initial foray into getting healthy was on one of these diet trains, but I am going to point out some of the important things I think people should take away from them if they are looking to go in this direction.

Tackling the diets first; there are a few things they all (for the most part) have in common that are actually quite necessary to being a healthy individual.

– They encourage the eating of whole and nutritious foods. You know, the stuff around the edge of the grocery store.
– They discourage anything processed or containing refined sugars/carbohydrates. Candy, soda, etc.
– They (the decent ones anyway) try to get you to prepare your own food, giving you complete control over what goes into your body.
– They all need to be done consistently to work. Granted, some of that is for marketing purposes, but the takeaway is consistency.

These things, done consistently, will get anyone results. You can’t eat healthy for a week and then binge on whatever you want the next and hope to see results.

Next to consistency, the number one thing I can say people should get behind is preparing your own food. If I could point to one single thing that was a key to my success, it would be preparing my meals in advance and planning what I would eat. I’m currently working on a big ‘ole post about meal prepping and how I do it, so I’ll save most of my rant for that. If you can’t wait for that, just Google meal prep and fitness or some variation thereof, and you will come up with tons of stuff on the subject.

Along with that, proper nutrition is key.  Carbohydrates, fats, protein.  Your body needs all of these things.  I know, the guy who did low carb to shed fat is saying you need carbs.  Trust me, they aren’t the enemy when used correctly.

Again, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with these types of diets. I believe that the issues begin when people believe that these are the only ways to get/stay healthy. The truth is that there is no need to subscribe to some pay as you go program or buy the latest fad diet, but there are things you can learn from these resources. Or, like I had to do, you can figure out that the internet has access to tons of freaking information and can actually give you more useful things than pictures of puppies looking all cute as hell. For free (just hijack your neighbors WiFi.)

Because puppy and Star Wars all in one.

Because puppy and Star Wars all in one.

As for the latest workout DVD’s and programs, I personally don’t have much to say about them thats positive or negative.

Obviously, there are some options full of nothing less than complete and utter bullshit.  6 Minute anything is sure to be 6 minutes you’ll never get back.  Anything that follows that pattern or tries to sell you all sorts of fancy equipment that is proprietary and relies on anything sounding like “special never before seen ab ripping technology” is not worth your time or hard earned money.

I say that, because this shit actually exists.  People.  This is a thing.  Why is this a thing?

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I have dabbled in P90X with some guys who happened to be going through the series and I did do some of the Insanity program with a roommate. While they certainly are challenging workouts, there is nothing particularly unique or new about them. However, if that’s what someone needs to get some kind of physical activity in their lives then I say go for it.

Having said that, I don’t really see it as necessary to shell out a whole bunch of dollars for a DVD’s worth of workouts when you can find all sorts of workouts online. See also: free.

A follow up question I got from someone after giving this answer was, “Well I don’t really know much about working out.” Okay, fair enough, but if you’re willing to shell out some hard earned dollars for some education, then I will always (and have somewhere else in this blog) recommend going to a gym and taking advantage of one of the personal training deals they always give to new members.

That probably doesn’t really give a good indication as to my feelings, so to sum it all up I shall use one of the most versatile words I can.

Meh.

For some, these things are the best ways for them to get healthy or stay healthy and I think that’s awesome. If that’s your tune then sing it, but if you’ve got the time to devote to actual training or some kind of research than I definitely think that’s the best way to go.

As always, find what works for you and do that.  Then do it again.  Again.  Again.  Again.  Again.  You know… consistently.

-Moody

Alright, rather than pretend that I haven’t been posting much, I’m going to broach that subject head on.  It was kind of (mostly) on purpose.

That makes little to no sense; allow me to explain.

Simply put, I didn’t have anything to say.  As much as I enjoy rambling on about my opinions in the hopes that some random person will appreciate it, I really didn’t want to become that guy.   I did write a bunch and have some ideas but they aren’t fleshed out enough on their own just yet.  That being said, my hiatus is over.

As for the “on purpose” part, that is totally true.  I’m in a different part of this fitness journey and, unfortunately, figuring this particular conundrum out wasn’t going to happen via epiphany like so many of my other issues.  I had to spend some time going through the motions to really figure out exactly what I was encountering and, in turn, learning.

I can sum it up with one word: Balance.

Balancing, in general, is hard.  Whether you’re talking about life or are literally trying to balance on a stupid beam to impress your niece and nephews and then busting your ass; it’s no joke.  As for the fiasco that is life; adding in trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle while also going out with your friends, working, having a family, and just generally being human can be one helluva task.

Luckily, I’ve done some of the leg work in this aspect and have (finally) learned a few things that I think are worth sharing.

1) Balancing your workout schedule with your social life.

 This may or may not be an issue depending on when you choose to get your sweat on.  For me, I like to knock it out early in the mornings which can be a conflict of interest when my friends like going out late at night.  It got so bad that I pretty much stopped going out because “I have to work out in the morning.”

Well, that ladies and gentlemen is how you become the “crappy friend who never does anything,” and also, “single.”  Nobody wants to be this person.  So, in lieu of becoming that particular stereotype I started planning in advance when I would go out and actually have a life.  Sometimes this involves moving my gym time around and changing plans, but I’ve found that it keeps me mentally grounded.

2) Balancing eating delicious things while also meeting dietary needs.

The easiest way I can put this is to follow the 80%/20% rule.  80% of the time I eat everything exactly like I’m supposed to and the other 20% I enjoy what life has to offer.  To be perfectly honest I think I’m close to 90%/10%, but the former is my goal.  I happen to enjoy eating really healthy things because I like the way I feel, so shying away from the other stuff isn’t such a huge deal.

What this rule really does is give me some mental armor.  I know plenty of people who beat themselves up over cheat meals or cheat days.  I don’t do that because I plan what days I will be able to flex my diet and make adjustments accordingly.  I don’t feel bad when I go out to have a drink with my friends and have some wings, thereby accomplishing what a cheat meal is supposed to do which is give you a mental break.

3) Balancing what the rest of the family eats VS what you eat.

I’ve lucked out with this one as well.  I live with my parents (I know…) and they also eat really healthy which makes it much easier for all of us to cohabitate.  They aren’t quite as strict as I am, but they don’t need to be because their goals are different.  Where we do overlap, though, we help each other out.  I eat lots of sweet potatoes and chicken.  My parents also will eat these things, so when I meal prep what I need for my week I cook enough for them to have some as well.  My mom, being all awesome as hell, will gladly cook extra of whatever she makes herself and my dad so that I can partake.

For people with kids at home, not grown up kids like me but actual—never mind, you get the point.  For those people, it can be a little tougher finding a balance.  If you’ve got growing kids in the house and you’re trying to get the whole family eating right, do some research.  Nutritionally, your needs are vastly different from your children.  Learning balance here can go a long way towards healthy humans.

4) Balancing your goals with your needs and vice versa.

Here’s the kicker, for me at least.  To figure out all of this balance you’ve got to sit down and really hammer out what it is you’re trying to accomplish.  If you don’t know where you want to go, getting there is going pose a decent problem.  For me I had to hammer out my goals so I could figure out how/when/where I could be flexible.

I’ve touched on this before.  It doesn’t matter if your goal is to be a fitness competitor or if you’re simply trying to be healthy; you have to decide what sacrifices you’re willing to make to achieve those goals.  My goal is to be a healthy and fit firefighter who is more than capable of meeting the physical demands of the job.  That requires that I train certain ways, eat certain things, and make some social sacrifices.  I’m okay with that because I have found balance.

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After finding these balances in my life I had to come to one more conclusion.

Balance is a constant battle between you and gravity.

What I’m getting at is the need for you to be flexible and make changes to stay up on your feet.  They may not be huge changes, just small minor adjustments, but they will keep you standing.  So, when you notice something isn’t working quite as well as it did a few weeks ago, change it.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with your workouts, your diet,  and your sacrifices to help you reach your goal.

-Moody

You know that moment when you’re lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, and failing miserably?

That moment when you think of all of the things you’re gonna do tomorrow. All of the things that you could have been doing all along but this time, yeah this time, you’re gonna do them.

Right?

Then sleep comes, the alarm goes off all too soon, and you get up to go about your day.

A few things can happen next.

You could go about business as usual. Eat breakfast, grab a coffee, go to work.

Rinse. Repeat.

You could ponder, for a moment, about those thoughts you had the night before. You could make an excuse about being too busy, about doing it tomorrow. You know, tomorrow, when you’ve got more time. Yeah, that sounds good.

Rinse. Repeat.

Or today, this very second, you could choose to act on those thoughts. Take action. Make a change. Whatever it is you need to do to accomplish those thoughts that are always creeping around in the back of your mind but you never do anything about.

Do that. Do those things. Do anything. But, dammit, do something.

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I broach this subject now because we’re a month away from New Years. Some of those fresh faces I saw in the gym that were so motivated are gone. I had an issue with “Resolutioners” but it’s not what you think.  I hate seeing them quit.

I’ve been there. Granted, I started in the month of June; it was a resolution all the same. I remember how hard it was to keep going. I remember how hard it was to not throw in the towel and accept the cards I had dealt myself.

I remember how worth it was to stay the course.

So when I looked around the gym in the beginning of the year, despite some of the frustrations that can come with a large influx of new people, I saw hope. People were excited about the prospect of achieving their goals. I silently rooted for all of them and I can’t help but think that maybe I should have been more vocal.

I can’t tell you how many are left. It’s not a lot, at least not when I’m at the gym early in the morning. Put bluntly, that sucks.

This post is me begging anyone who’s thrown in the towel to pick it back up. Ask somebody for help if you need to. Put the gym pass back on your key ring. Set your alarm a little early tomorrow and go for a walk (dress warm, it’s cold ‘round these parts.)  If you know someone who has quit, help them change that.

Do something. Do anything that isn’t considered giving up.

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Over the last few years of me taking this journey I’ve become pretty passionate about health and fitness. I don’t force feed the issue to people who don’t want to hear it but I figure that if you’ve clicked on my posts you at least have a passing interest. This next blurb is for those folks who recognize a widespread problem (this has zero political ties, I’m not that guy). We’re an unhealthy people as a whole. It’s killing us. It would’ve killed me.

Below, I’ve posted another TED Talk. This one is from chef Jamie Oliver in 2010 and he makes a pretty compelling case for changing how we approach food. Some of his statistics are rather sobering, to be honest.

I was unhealthy because I didn’t know any better. Not through any malicious intent of the adults in my life; they didn’t have a clue either.  It’s worth a watch at the very least.  Maybe it’ll help those of you with kids teach them to be healthy so that they don’t have to fight an uphill battle later on in life.

 

-Moody

 

 

 

 

I’m a little rusty on my algebra, but what I’m trying to get across with my title is that working hard is hard work and vice versa.  If you want something you’ve got to work for it because relying on luck isn’t much of a bet.  Kind of a no brainer, right?

Short answer: nope.

I wish I could say that I always bought into the hard work mentality.  I was raised knowing what hard work was, but it took me a while to pull my head out of my ass (as so eloquently put by my Dad…again) and start applying it to my own life.  The truth is that, for the most part, I coasted through life.  Now, that’s not to say I was a societal burden; I worked jobs in high school, was a decent student, volunteered at a fire department, and hung out with friends.

All in all, I was average.  What I wasn’t, though, was ambitious.  Thankfully, who I am today is a far cry from that person.  I think that Jonathan Safran Foer sums up my thoughts best on how I feel about that period of time, “My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future.”

My problem was that I just expected life to happen a certain way.  Graduate high school, go to college, graduate, get job, etc.  There was no thought on my part that things would happen any other way and, when they inevitably did, I floundered.  I thoroughly believed that the sun would rise again the next day and I would keep moving inexorably towards the next phase of my life.  What happens on the day the sun rises and suddenly you’re 80?  What do you say to yourself then, when you realize that your yesterdays outnumber your tomorrows?

Hindsight being 20/20, I can point to the one thing I dislike most about who I was before.  Frankly, I actually find it to be one of the least attractive qualities anyone can possess.

A lack of ambition.

Now, I’m not defining what any one person’s ambition should be.  If you want to go to Starbucks every day and become a connoisseur of all of their offerings with a specialization in their lemon pound cakes (because you guys, YOU GUYS, they are so damn good) be my guest.  But you better attack that goal daily.

Every single day I do something, anything, to get me closer to my goals.  Even if all I manage to accomplish is one thing, it’s a successful day.

Take fitness as an example; eat right, exercise, learn something new about fitness/nutrition, try something new, etc.  Today, I’m not getting to the gym because its rest day but I am eating right and I’m also going to do a little more research into stretching because I suck pretty hard at that.

All of that = today gets a gold star.

Do something every day that brings you closer to your goal and eventually you’ll get it.

When in doubt, though, here’s my old standby :

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-Moody

It’s a funky little word that always seems to get a negative connotation.

Smoking is a bad habit.  This sleep aid is non-habit forming.  Or the one I tend to hear, “You’ve got a real habit of pissing me off.”

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Seems to me like “habits” get a pretty bad rap, good thing it doesn’t have to be that way.

We all know I peruse the interwebz regularly, but it wasn’t until I got into this whole blogging game that I started actually looking specifically for blogs to read.  Fitness/health blogs that I actually care to read on a regular basis are pretty few and far between but I have found a few.

Thesecretlifecoachofdc.wordpress.com  ← gets to gettin people, it’s one of those few I follow regularly.  Also, for my discerning local readers, that does indeed appear to be another D.C. metro local.  I don’t know them, but it’s definitely nice to see another blogger in the area that likes to write about health related stuff in a positive way.

The article concluded with something that was told to them by a former coach, “First you make a habit, then a habit makes you.”  The best part is that they weren’t talking about something negative, in that particular post, they were talking about making running a habit.

Spoiler Alert: that’s a good habit.

Now, this didn’t click in my head until a few things happened.  First a coworker made a comment when I walked by a pound cake that my boss had brought in, “Man, you are way too disciplined with the food thing.”  I disagree… sort of.

I will concede that I used to be disciplined.  When I first started out I would have had to struggle to not grab a quick slice of the latest treat and it would have required some discipline to avoid it.  Now, though, it’s just normal (see also: habit) for me not to eat junk food.  Sure I indulge every once in a while, but I would be happier if somebody brought in some pineapple.

I love me some damn pineapple.

The second thing that made it click was the short walk from my house to my car at 3:45am on my way to the gym before work.  As I looked around my street I noticed the stillness of everything, the lack of lights in windows, and the distinct lack of noise.  I realized that this is normal for me but clearly not for anyone else in my neighborhood.  It’s my morning routine (see also: habit).

Neither of these things used to be a regular aspect of my life.  I used to eat whatever was offered and the gym was an occasional excursion.  Now it’s different; I don’t think about being healthy anymore than I would think about brushing my teeth twice a day.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not easy to start doing healthy things on a regular basis.  There will be mistakes and setbacks but if you keep making the effort, eventually, it becomes no effort at all.

Keep going, it gets easier.

-Moody

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?

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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.

-Moody

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.

 

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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.

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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.

-Moody

Which is exactly why you should get a workout partner.

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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.

-Moody