Life Hacks and Habits.

The internet is a weird place and I don’t really understand it.  I’ve said this before.  There is a need to reduce information into a small graphic or slogan.  There are a lot of these thrown around constantly on various websites and social media platforms.  The simpler the slogan, the better.  The funnier the picture it is placed over, the better.  These slogans usually involve politics or motivation.

Many of these make no sense to me.

Some are missing a sentence:

“If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.”
…….if you’re a gullible idiot.

Some are nonsensical and illogical:

“Excuses are like assholes, everyone’s got one and they all stink.”

Well, yes.  Everyone does, in fact, have an asshole. It serves a distinct biological function.  What does this mean for the excuse-less?  Those of us who go about our business on a day to day basis and expect nothing from anyone? Are we all bloated and full of shit?

A better slogan would be: “Excuses are like appendixes.  Everyone has one and they are a useless remnant from the past.”

There’s been a recent innovation in the field of excuse destruction.  A simple way to fix all of life’s inconvenient and sometimes arduous labors and duties.

The Life Hack.

Life Hacking provides simple solutions to difficult problems and situations.

Fingers getting too covered in Cheetos dust?  No, no, don’t stop eating the puffed “corn” concoction.  By all means, continue stuffing your face with this chemically loaded food like substance.  Simply use chopsticks as opposed to your fingers.  You can now eat as many as you’d like without looking like you’ve been too intimate with the Syracuse mascot.

Life Hacks are a total misnomer.  There are many definitions for the word “hack” but they are using it as it regards to computers and technology.  “To use a computer to gain unauthorized access to data in a system”.  Not “to cut with rough or heavy blows”, albeit that would make the term much more interesting for me.  And doctors.

The Life Hack makes no sense in these terms.  There is no unauthorized access given, they are just excuses and simple fixes.  They are more like changing your desktop background than hacking a system.

I think these prevalent “Life Hacks” are simply a way around life’s problems.  Instead of confronting the Cheeto Dust problem with a mature and rational attitude the Life Hacker thinks “How can I get around this problem without attempting to solve it? And how can I do this in the simplest way possible?”

The real way to hack your life would be to change your habits. Put the damned Cheetos down.  Chester won’t be too upset. Life Hacks as they stand do not address the bigger issue: bad habits.

Most of our excuses in life are in response to bad habits we have developed.  Whether they be dietary, fitness related or idleness.  We often need to rationalize our behavior.  “It’s ok that I eat this cake, because I ran a mile today.”  Thoughts like that.

A habit is simply a behavior done multiple times.  I prefer to think of bad habits as destructive behavior.  Any behavior that is metaphorically moving you backwards instead of forwards is destructive.

There is a book that goes into great detail on this called “The Power of Habit”, it is a good read for the first 5 or 6 chapters but becomes too anecdotal to be a great resource.  The author, Charles Duhigg, outlines what habits are.  They are reward based behaviors.  The first few times we behave a certain way we see a reward.  “These Cheetos taste good, so they make me feel good.”  We continue this behavior to continue to seek the same reward, even though the reward diminishes each time we perform this behavior.  Thus a habit is born.

I am a firm believe that small changes occurring over time eventually become large changes.  While losing weight, one pound lost a week equals 50 some pounds a year.  When looking to change bad habits, it’s important that we start small.  Make a small change today to that bad habit that’s been nagging you for years.  Doing something small is infinitely better than doing nothing.

Make a small change today, write it down.  Keep it up, develop a habit.  Check back in 3 months.  I bet you’ll be firmly on the path to destroying that son of a bitch.

Fat Shaming?

There are things in life that I will never understand.  What is a Frappuccino?  Why do my neighbors sing (a term I use loosely) Cantonese Karaoke until 4:00 A.M every night?  Why would anyone claiming to be an adult care about anything Miley Cyrus does?  I’ve learned to live with these things and have moved on with my life.  It doesn’t bother me that I don’t understand them.

What bothers me is when I realize that I don’t understand something I previously thought I had a firm grip on.

Namely, the internet.

The other day I logged onto to Yahoo! to check my mail (yes, I still use Yahoo! and I refuse to type it without the exclamation point) and this article punched me in the face.

I had a few thoughts and many questions after reading the first two paragraphs, and I will admit that’s as far as I could force myself to read.  I have a limit.

This woman has worked hard in the gym.  She probably eats very healthy and gets proper rest.  This is quite a feat for a woman with 3 children under the age of 4- it means she was pregnant for 27 months of the last 4-5 years.  A long period of time. She has put in her work and gotten the results she wants.  This is something to be commended, this is the point of my profession, to make people look good and therefore feel good.

Yet, she is also self-indulgent.  Yes, we get it.  You look good, you’re in great shape and you’re a mother.  Here’s your gluten free cookie.  There are millions, literally millions of other mothers who are in as good shape, some in even better shape than she is, but they don’t go taking faux family portrait style pictures with a self-important, unoriginal slogan photoshopped over the top.  They enjoy their healthy life styles and don’t expect any pats on the back, they realize that is how humans ought to live.

Those were my initial thoughts.  I was in no way offended, or saw any reason anyone could or should be offended at this picture.  I didn’t like her but I did not believe she had any ill intent other than to balloon her ego.

Then it came.  The phrase I had never heard before.  The phrase which confused me more than Vladimir Putin meeting a journalist who has the antidote.

FAT SHAMING.

What the hell is fat shaming?

I needed to research.

Fat Shaming is exactly what it sounds like.  People (on the internet) make fun of fat people.  It’s a very complex system, and also very new.  Some would say nuanced. Nothing like this has ever happened on an elementary school playground before. They often take pictures and put words on them in an attempt to “shame” the fat person with the goal of……. (your guess is as good as mine here).

qi

Apparently some people were so offended with this woman’s picture that they lumped her into the “Fat Shamers” category.  They assumed the purpose of this picture was to make over weight people feel bad about themselves.  They thought she was implying that every overweight person had an excuse for their body composition, and that she was our lone savior in this fat, fat world who had courageously broken through the barrier of excuse to save us all from our lazy tendencies and show us the way to 10% body fat.  They did not think this woman was just, in fact, showing off.

I can’t stress this enough.  I don’t think that was her purpose.  If you get offended by a picture like that you need to get some thicker skin.  Hyper sensitivity is a new trend.  Everyone is offended at everything.  This is a dangerous way to be.  How are we to separate the truly offensive, disgusting things from just people being stupid or showing off on the internet?

Now I have strong feelings on fat.  I hate fat, I hate it on my body and I hate it on other people’s bodies.  Do I have strong feelings on fat people? No, not really.  You’d be a historic asshole to hate a whole group of people based on one characteristic.  I hate certain fat people.  That has nothing to do with the fact that they are fat.  I hate a lot of skinny people, and jacked people too.  It has nothing to do with their bodies, and a lot to do with the horrible things they have said or done or made.

Recently a website ran (sponsored?) a “Fat Shaming Week” campaign.  It consisted of people (on the internet) doing exactly what I described earlier.  Except this time they did it together, I guess?  (I don’t really know how the internet works anymore).

This sounds like something a little jerk of a child would do for attention.  The rational, mature response would be to ignore these pathetic keyboard thumpers.  Let them have their perceived moment of hilarity before they go slumping back into their sagging sofa and realize they can’t interact with actual people.

Naturally, this happened.

Just kidding.  No one ignored it! There were videos made to call these “Fat Shamers” out and insult them back!  The best course of retaliation against immature peabrains with little to no social value is to act exactly as they do.  How could this possibly go wrong.

As I said earlier, I have a limit (this time on stupidity) so this is where I stopped following the story.  This trait probably led to my firing from the New York Times.

There’s a lesson to be learned in all of this.  Don’t be an asshole.

If you hate fat people- you are an asshole.

If you anonymously insult an entire section of the human population on the internet- you are an asshole.

If you are an overweight person who is searching for a reason to feel victimized you are also an asshole.

Everyone needs to take a breath and account for their own life. The Fat Shamers and the Fat Shamer Shamers. Stop provoking each other, inarticulate rage is not fun for anyone watching. If you want a scab to heal you have to man up and stop scratching it. No matter how annoying and uneducated that scab may be.

There’s a whole ocean of credible information out there for overweight people to use to become healthier.  In fact, I think there’s less of an excuse to be overweight now than at almost any non-plague time in history.  If we really care about the weight of our species we would make spreading this information our top priority, not advertising candy bars in health magazines.

I recognize that I am only one side of the coin.  One could argue the exact opposite and have valid points.  It’s never been easier to access sugar and empty carbs.  It’s never been easier in history to become obese.  We have science, and capitalism stacked against us.  These food scientists are evil geniuses.  They create delicious food that our under informed (nutrition-wise) population gobbles up.  In turn, it makes money and the corporations make more of it.

The food around us is, for the most part, terrible.  People on the internet are jerks.  Educate yourself, sweat a little bit and try to be a genuinely nice person.

Dear Philadelphia

Image

I am not one who normally voices a political opinion.  In fact, I find value in being neutral politically, I don’t believe one has to have an opinion on everything.  Sometimes it’s best to just watch the pieces fall where they may and react accordingly.

 

Of course, there are issues I care about.  On the flip side there are issues that I could not care less about.

 

One issue that has been bothering me lately is this-

I am from Philadelphia, as recent history would indicate one of the fattest cities in the United States.

 

Some heavy P.R is needed when the first word people associate with your city is “Cheesesteak” (disregarding Eagle’s fans behavior, something else I could not care less about).  Despite the fact that Ben Franklin lived here, we have one of the globally important art museums and some documents were signed here a while ago the biggest signifier of Philly is FAT.

 

It’s pretty disheartening as a fitness professional and as a human being who genuinely cares for the continuation of our species.

 

Not helping this image is the fact that ALL OF OUR PUBLIC PARKS ARE LOCKED. 

 

Every Tuesday A.M my girlfriend and I do a sprint workout.  We live in an area that is not lacking in public parks so we have our choice of locations.  3 of the 5 closest parks are fenced, I am against this but I understand the City Council’s reason (first and only time you’ll hear me say that).  They have to safeguard the public spaces against vandalism, very much in the same vein as enforcing a curfew.

 

This past Tuesday we went to Palumbo Park, Sacks Playground and Chew Park and all three were LOCKED.  Completely shutting the residents out. 

 

To recap- Philadelphia’s public image is fat, angry(I’m doing my best to continue this legacy) and lazy.  Philadelphia’s few green spaces where people can exercise and be active for free are locked. 

 

This makes complete sense? Right?

Perhaps not.  I don’t know if the Philadelphia Park and Rec department (who I understand has an incredibly small budget) is showing solidarity with their Federally Employed colleagues or if the Government Shutdown effects them directly.

 

Frankly, I don’t care and neither should you.

 

A park should never, ever be locked during daylight.  As a city Philadelphia needs to do all it can to encourage its residents, especially children to be active and outside while the weather permits.  By locking all public fields and parks you are forcing your residents elsewhere, whether it be playing basketball in the street or back on their couch to play Grand Theft Auto. 

 

I’m going to end this rant before I include nutrition and healthy eating. 

 

I just bought a lock cutter.  See you next Tuesday.

Houdini’s Preparation

Image

I don’t understand why there isn’t a major studio production about Harry Houdini.  We all know who he is, we all know what he did.  So why isn’t there a film that dives into his life and work?

Since we don’t have such a film, let me tell you this: Harry Houdini was a badass.

I’ll spare you the biography, and start here.  Harry Houdini was one of the hardest workers who ever lived.  He worked meticulously on his body and his trade.  He kept this work ethic a secret, it was beneficial for him to exude a supernatural aura.  As if he could perform these feats because he was touched by the gods, as one famous author believed.

In short- Houdini was a badass because he PREPARED like a badass.

Houdini’s work ethic is best represented in this story from Robert Green’s 48 Laws of Power

“ The effortlessness of Houdini’s escapes led some to believe he used occult forces, his superior psychic abilities giving him special control over his body.  But a German escape artist named Kleppini claimed to know Houdini’s secret; He simply used elaborate gadgets.  Kleppini also claimed to have defeated Houdini in a handcuff challenge in Holland.

Houdini did not mind all sort of speculation floating around about his methods, but he would not tolerate an outright lie, and in 1902 he challenged Kleppini to a handcuff duel.  Kleppini accepted.  Through a spy, he found out the secret word to unlock a pair of French combination-lock cuffs that Houdini liked to use.  His plan was to choose these cuffs to escape from onstage.  This would definitively debunk Houdini- his “genius” simply lay in his use of mechanical gadgets.

On the night of the challenge, just as Kleppini had planned, Houdini offered him a choice of cuffs and he selected the ones with the combination lock.  He was even able to disappear with them behind a screen to make a quick test, and reemerged seconds later, confident of a victory.

Acting as if he sensed fraud, Houdini refused to lock Kleppini in the cuffs.  The two men argued and began to fight, even wrestling with each other onstage.  After a few minutes of this, an apparently angry, frustrated Houdini gave up and locked Kleppini in the cuffs.  For the next few minutes Kleppini strained to get free.  Something was wrong- minutes earlier he had opened the cuffs behind the screen; now the same code no longer worked.  He sweated, racking his brains.  Hours went by, the audience left, and finally an exhausted and humiliated Kleppini gave up and asked to be released.

The cuffs that Kleppini himself had opened behind the screen with the word “C-L-E-F-S”            (French for “keys”) now clicked open only with the word “F-R-A-U-D” (english for “asshole”)*  Kleppini never figured out how Houdini had accomplished this uncanny feat.”

 *Can you guess which part I added?

Like I said- Houdini was a badass.

Houdini kept his cool despite a man widely circulating lies about him.  Instead of attacking the man right back, Houdini asked him to prove his allegations.

Houdini knew this man was a liar and a cheat- a man who coasts through life weaving false stories to further his career.  This was to Houdini’s advantage.  He simply had to prepare.  Houdini knew he could rely on his work ethic to outsmart Kleppini.

He worked hard behind the scenes and never uttered a word about it.  This an almost extinct characteristic.  We have InstaGram, Vine, and FaceBook to constantly update our peers on our hard work (and our rockin’ six pack).  It’s tough, we all fall into the trap.  There is something very admirable about a man who works hard for his goal, and makes every effort to conceal the preparation.

Houdini was not magic.  He was just a man, albeit a very smart man, who outworked his competition.  Whenever we think of a stage magician Houdini’s name is always the first one that springs to mind.  He forever worked his way into the American unconscious.

In the end preparation always beats talent.  Preparation builds confidence.  Preparation also requires patience, it reaps no rewards initially, but if done correctly will pay off in the long run.

What could you accomplish if you prepared the right way?

Know Your Kryptonite

“Your obstacles are no rivers or mountains.  Your obstacles are yourselves.”

 

This was said to a group of Greek soldiers behind enemy Persian lines by Xenophon.  The Greeks were initially employed by Cyrus to wage war against his brother Artaxerxes for control of the Persian Empire.  Long story short, Cyrus was killed and his Greek mercenaries were stuck in the middle of Persia as enemy combatants.  

 

What choices did they have? 

 

They could either wage a total war, fought with complete desperation.  Or give up and accept certain death.  

 

These Ten Thousand waged total war.  Xenophon did not accept death, and implored his men to fight with all they had to return home to Greece.  Eventually the group of mercenaries reached Thrace and later Sparta.  

 

The soldier’s Kryptonite was fear.  It was the one thing that could have destroyed them.  Xenophon knew this and refused to let those under his charge fall victim to their greatest weakness.

 

What is your Kryptonite?  Kryptonite is not weakness.  It is your greatest weakness.  The person, place or thing that brings you to your knees.  It leaves you trembling with fear and saps all belief.  I am a firm believe that confrontation is a necessary step in our quest to overcome obstacles.  

 

My Kryptonite is my past self.  I hate thinking of the person I was from ages 18-23.  I despise my actions and my beliefs.  I have a hard time discussing this time in my life with anyone.  

 

This is what drives me, but that is a story for another day.

 

We must face our fears to conquer them.  First we have to know what that fear is.

 

So I’ll ask again….

 

What is your Kryptonite?

The Morning Test

What is the first thing you think about when you wake up?  Is it some unhealthy bullshit?  Is it something sustainable that will lead you to a long, healthy and possibly even happy life?  If not you probably need to do some mental cleaning and rearranging.

Our first thoughts in the morning tend to drive our first actions. For instance if you wake up thinking about drawing a long line of smoke from a cigarette I would bet that the first thing you will do is smoke a cigarette.  Not the healthiest way to start your day.

Is your first thought something that is making you better?  Is it something holding you back from personal, physical or progress at work?  Is it some bullshit that is actually making your quality of life worse?

Be aware of this tomorrow morning, and for the next week. 

Catalog your initial thoughts.

This is the starting point for developing a healthy lifestyle.  We must be aware of our unhealthy urges and thoughts in order to combat them.  

Do what I do….think of eggs and spinach.

What Batman Begins Can Teach Us about Recovery.

“Why do we fall, Mr. Wayne?”

Part 1.  The Training and the Change.

batmanbegins2

I am a huge fan of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.  I love all of the films, but I have an especially soft spot for the first- Batman Begins.  I saw the film for the first time when I was clean for about a month and it has been stuck in my mind ever since.  I don’t think many of us have the means or bank account to say that we relate to Bruce Wayne, but I believe we all can take something away from the character’s journey.

Batman Begins tells a simple story.  It is a story about a broken, fearful boy who runs away to conquer his demons.  He returns as a man with the desire and skills to save all that he loves.

It would be impossible to discuss Batman Begins without discussing fear.  Fear is what drives Bruce Wayne as a child.  He is terrified of bats, this fear drives his decision making process at key junctures in his life.  If he were not so afraid of bats would he and his parents have left the theater early? Would his parents have been shot in front of him? Probably not.

It’s natural to let our fear take hold of our emotions and cloud our decision making process.  As users and addicts we often, conscious or not, allow our fears to negatively influence our choices: fear of being alone, fear of failure, fear of pain.  This fear can, in part, drive our need to get high or drunk.  I know for me it did.

Bruce Wayne’s fear of bats turns into guilt.  He feels guilty for his parent’s murder and over time this guilt turns into anger.  He wants nothing more than to kill the man who did this to him.  Once the opportunity for vengeance is taken from him, Bruce makes his first major choice of the film: he runs away.  This is the beginning of Bruce Wayne’s journey to becoming Batman.

For the first half year of my recovery I locked myself away from all my friends,  no one knew what I was doing or where I was.  I’m sure some assumed I was dead.  This was a cold decision: to shut so many people out, but it was something I needed to do.  I did not go out.  I barely responded to text messages and ignored every phone call.  I knew I was not ready to be thrown back into my social circle, that I needed time away to redefine myself.  I needed the time and opportunity to create the person that I wanted to be.  I ran away, but I ran away with a purpose.  I ran away with the intention of returning as a better, stronger person.

I was not resting, coasting or relaxing during this time period.  I was working 7 days a week in order to become strong enough to face the world.  I was struggling with addiction issues, but that did not affect anyone else.  The world was not going to stop or change just to suit my needs.  I recognized that I needed to rise above my own desires.  I needed to become the strongest version of myself in order to survive.  

Bruce has a similar realization.  The world was not going to stop spinning because he lost his parents.  

The first few months of true recovery will be the most awkward time in your life.  You don’t know how to respond when people ask simple questions like “What have you been up to?”.   However, the awkwardness is outweighed by opportunity. You have the opportunity to transform yourself,  you can become the person you know you can be.  You are your own blank canvas.  I am damned near unrecognizable from the person I was 5 years ago.  I look completely different and I act completely different.

Bruce is discovered in a Central Asian prison by Ra’s Al Ghul and begins training with the League of Shadows.  His first lesson is to always be prepared.  After a day’s hike up a mountain Bruce is told he cannot rest before he begins his training, that death does not wait for you to be ready.

In our recovery we must always be prepared.  Life is unpredictable.  You never know who you are going to run into on the street, or what temptations are going to be thrown at you.  You don’t even know what damaging thoughts might pop into your own mind. You must always be ready.  You must be strong in your desire to get or remain sober and have a plan on how you are going to do this.

While Bruce is training with the League of Shadows he is forced to confront all of his demons; his guilt, his anger.   He is taught to refine his skills to become a nearly perfect hero.  He develops a characteristic that will come to define him: discipline.  Discipline is the biggest part of recovery.

When I was in my self imposed exile I felt the effects of physical and mental discipline.  I developed a stringent routine, developed both to better my body and clear my mind.  I knew that if I wanted to remain drug and alcohol free I needed to push myself every day.  It was difficult at first but after a few weeks the pain transformed into pride.  I was on a 6 day program and I learned to love it.  My day did not feel complete without a workout.

I felt better physically and happier mentally.

Sobriety is the state of being drug and alcohol free.  To enter this state you need to become disciplined enough to know that using or drinking is not an option for you (for whatever reason).  You don’t need the iron-clad will of Batman, you simply need to learn to cut the bad influences from your life.

This discipline is key to my life.

It is what is keeping me clean.

The same is true of Bruce Wayne.

Discipline is what makes him Batman.

This is the first in an ongoing series where I will explore what different books and movies can teach us about recovery.  Part 2 of the Batman Begins post will deal with Bruce’s challenges once he returns to Gotham.

 As always, comments are welcome.

Welcome

This is a fitness blog, yes, it’s a different kind of fitness blog.  There are a million sites where you can learn how to overhead press properly, how to  engage your glutes before a deadlift and how to change your boring plank routine.  We will cover those topics among many other fitness specific issues.  However, this is a personal fitness blog.

I am Patrick Henigan and for 5 years I was an opiate addict.  I was hopeless, penniless and miserable.  For the past 2 years and 6 months I have been stone sober- no alcohol, no drugs.  I did not use a 12 Step Program (we’ll get to that later on).  I took the power away from the drug and gave it to myself.  Fitness was a HUGE part of my recovery program, but it was not the entire program.  I want to discuss what I did to help myself, and provide you with some basic guidelines for what you can do to help yourself.  I am not a doctor or a therapist so I will not be recommending ANYTHING other than fitness routines and mental strategies that worked for me.

For my first post I will introduce the Recovery Fitness Rules.  Rules imply structure and structure (much to the chagrin of my younger self) is an amazing thing.  You must learn to thrive on structure but how to function in chaos.

 

vitruvian1

Rules:

  1. Sweat every day.
  2. Read every day.
  3. Learn something new every day.
  4. Take at least one risk every day.
  5. Have a goal.
  6. Stop bitching.
  7. Breathe often.
  8. Realize you will never be Tom Hardy…I mean perfect.
  9. You have two eyes, two ears and one mouth.  Use them in that order.
  10. Do something ambitious.
  1. Sweat every day–  Simple, right?  Physical change comes through physical effort.  It should be obvious that if you want to get in shape you’re going to need to sweat.  I can’t give you any short cuts because there aren’t any.  The only thing that will change your body is effort, time, and knowledge.  Find something you enjoy and do the hell out of it.  Join an adult sports league, start skate boarding or get a gym membership. Whatever it is, go, get off your ass, and do it.
  2. Read every day–  Read anything, read everything.  Read something work related, read a Dennis Lehane novel.  It doesn’t matter.  Your mind must expand as your body changes.  What’s the point in looking like Brad Pitt from Fight Club if you have the intellect of Billy Bob in Sling Blade?
  3. Learn something new every day–  This one can tie into Rule #2.  Many people my age are of the mindset that they have filled their knowledge account, that there is nothing left to learn.  No.  If you’re not learning something new then you are treading water.  You can’t tread water forever, you will eventually drown.
  4. Take at least one risk every day–  This one might need some explaining.  I don’t mean go light yourself on fire or call your girlfriend by the wrong name(it’s not as funny as it sounds).  A risk can be as simple as saying “Hi” to someone you see every day but have never spoken to, adding 10 lbs. to your bench press or picking up Finnegan’s Wake.  Do something that seems impossible, something that you never thought you could.  Do it to prove to yourself that you are capable of a lot more than what you think.
  5. Have a goal–  This is the first thing I tell my clients.  If you don’t have a goal, I can’t help you to the fullest of my ability.  If you want to lose 15 lbs.  write it down, remind yourself every morning, every training session and at every meal.  A goal should be something you desire down to the core of your being, not some bullshit to impress other people.  Don’t talk about your goal with anyone who can’t help you reach it.  Don’t give other people the power to hold it over your head.  You are only accountable to yourself.
  6. STOP BITCHING–  Yes.  Stop whining about every little thing.  Yes, we all know FaceBook’s new format sucks and that the wrong person got voted off on So You Think You Can Dance.  We all have little annoyance in our lives, whether it be social or personal,  but we only give these annoyances power when we dwell on them.  Getting in shape is not going to be easy, but crying about it isn’t going to make it any easier.  You have to accept the path you’ve chosen and commit to it 100%.  If you’re not willing to do that there’s not much anyone else can do to help you.
  7. Breathe Often–  Meditation is something that I do not talk about often with my clients or friends but it is something that has helped me immensely on this journey.  Learn to breathe deeply, engage your diaphragm and how to slow your breath to a calm stream and you will find that your mind will soon also be calm.  I’m not one to go on about the wisdom of the ancient world but I will vouch for meditation any day of the week.  You also need to literally breathe often when you are working out.  It seems to be an American tendency (even among fitness professionals) to hold your breath during weight bearing exercise.  People just flat out don’t breathe and it effects their form, endurance and therefore results.  Slow down.  Concentrate.  Breath.
  8. Realize you will never be Tom Hardy…I mean perfect–  Ok, I might have revealed myself a bit there.  No comment.  No one on this earth is perfect, yet we all seem to strive towards perfection.  That’s fine, I strive for perfection every day but I know that it will never happen.  It’s the proverbial carrot at the end of the longest stick on earth.  I’ll never be perfect and I’m fine with that as long as I am growing and becoming better every day.

*As a footnote Tom Hardy has been sober for 8 years and played Bane so he’s not a bad role model.

9.You have two eyes, two ears and one mouth.  Use them in that order.-  Listen and observe before you speak.   Listen.  Observe.  Learn.

10.Do something ambitious-  No expanding needed.  Learn a language, talk to that cute barista,  try to make it through Spring Breakers without gouging your eyes out.

These rules are not set in stone.  These are simply guidelines I have used to keep moving forward on my path.  If you’re serious about fitness or recovery, or both, you need to put your own stamp on things.  It’s your life you need to take control.  Listen to people who have been there before, consider things experts have to say.  Seek out those who have gone before.  Digest all this information and make your own decision about all of this.  If you are looking to coast, perhaps you are reading the wrong blog.

camus3

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDIT:   I forgot perhaps the greatest rule of all : ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL.  You were lucky enough to be born, isn’t that motivation enough to achieve something great?