Finisher Walking Confidently

I Choose

I choose the load…

 

…on the bar

My coach suggests, but I choose.  I decide what is heavy today and what is fast.  I choose what my 100% effort looks like and I give it, accepting or rejecting the challenge of the bar today.  It might be the challenge of the pull-up bar and lifting myself up.

It might be the struggle of the barbell and choosing to lift my challenges and carry them.   The bar might be loaded heavier than I have ever lifted before and it might not budge against my best efforts, but I still get to choose to try.

And I might have to take some weight off because I know if I am going to succeed today, I’m not lifting as much as I can on my best day.

I choose what I can give, and I choose what I can take.

direction-you-choose

…on my shoulders

I am surrounded by noise.  Some of the noise is good, strong, and powerful.  Some of the noise is loud, obnoxious, and debilitating.  I read the stories about people doing amazing things, legends passing away and people proving hate is alive and well.

I read the stories about people getting stronger, kicking life and mediocrity in the face.  And I read about those that accept their fate as victims.

Their stories remind me I am the author of my own story.  I choose strength or I choose weakness.  I choose guarded and reserved or I choose to let people in.  If you do not like my story…I have the right to tell it just the same.

And so I choose how much of life is going to weigh me down.  My reactions, I choose those too.  It is my load and I get to decide if I am going to add to it or drop some of it for a little bit.

I make the decision to wallow in the hatred of another, get caught up in the hurting, or make a difference.  I choose when I am in a position to accept defeat or if nothing is going to beat me today.

It might be possible for me to carry some of your burden, your pain, your struggle, and I might not.  But I choose the weight that goes on my shoulders because I am strong enough to know when I can take on more and wise enough to know when I cannot.

Life and lifting, lifting and life…I choose the load…

The Struggle Is Real…And I Own It!

Getting out of bed.

Going to the gym.

Lifting heavier.

Moving Faster.

Running.

Parenting.

Being a good spouse.

Being a good person.

The Struggle is Real…

It is hard to be the person that we want to be day-in and day-out.  It is hard to get better and want to help impact change happen in the world.  The struggle is real to both change ourselves and act as an agent of change.  It is easier to remain the same, stagnant.  It is easier to sit on the couch, quarterbacking the actions of everyone else around us and believe that we are better.

It is easier to make excuses about why our reasons for remaining the same are valid and other’s reasons are not.

But the struggle is real and the struggle is constant.

If we want to be healthier, we have to make those tough choices and eat the green vegetables.  If we want to get stronger we have to pick up the heavier barbell and push what our mind and body tells us we can do.  And if we want to be better people, we have to go against the current of talking about what needs to change, and get out there and set the example.

Einstein

…And I Own It!

That’s the hard part.  I own my struggle.  It is not easy, or fun.  It is not easy to admit that I am struggling daily to be a better husband or father.  I get upset with my kids when they push my buttons.  I own that struggle to correct and teach them in a beneficial manner, not just as a dictator or rules and regulations.  I have the hard conversations.

I struggle to be a supportive, loving husband every day.  I fail.  I shut myself down and off.  I own that.  I embrace the struggle to be open, honest, and I accept that I might not always like what I have to do in order to be better.

I struggle to train my weaknesses.  I struggle to make training a priority daily or do what has to be done so that I can train as often as I want and need to.  I own that the thought of running any farther than the end of my driveway to get the mail…terrifies me.  Give me a barbell and some heavy deads any day.  But man cannot live on deadlifts alone.

I own that in my job, I have the ability to impact how others see the world and how others are treated.  I own that.  I own that life is easier when you surround yourself with people who think, feel, and behave the same what you do.  And I know that you find better solutions when you are willing to engage with those that do not think, feel, and behave like you do.  So I own that struggle to embrace the hard conversations and throw my voice into the discussions.

But I want better for myself, my family, and our future.  The status quo is easy because it is what has already been done.  It requires nothing to remain the same, just doing the same things we have always done.  But that is not good enough.

So I learn and I share.  I volunteer.  I acknowledge my faults, fears, and shortcomings and work to change them.  Then slowly change happens.  I move heavier barbells, run farther distances and see more smiles of understanding on the faces of those around me.

The struggle is real…And I own it!

Spartan Fit Book Order

Spartan Fit Update 2 – Blogging the Book

I have not abandoned my promise to blog the latest book from Joe De Sena and the Spartan crew.  It has been a long couple of weeks, a few tears have been shed as I looked over at my barbell in the corner.  But it is always easy to do the things you enjoy and hard to stick to a program that has the word (or a variation of it), “burpee”, at least every other day.

With that being said, I have worked up through Day 9 of the program which is the second rest day.  After this rest day comes one of the first workouts that they classify as an elite test.  Lots of hanging around and burpees when you fall.  It should be good for the grip.

The Broad Overview So Far…

So far, this book has dealt with overcoming the basic challenges that you will face in a Spartan race.  First and foremost, a lack of endurance.  There have been several days where you work for a set amount of time as opposed to running a distance or set amount of reps.  This is to build up the muscle endurance.  I really appreciate this approach because you just have to keep going.  It is the same for everyone.  40 minutes is 40 minutes.

The challenges also introduce you to the burpee on many, many, many occasions and being comfortable doing these is a given for any race.

But it not all about the cardio.  It is also about the hanging from a bar, performing reps under fatigue and carries.

The workouts that I have enjoyed the most have brought into play carrying an odd object.  It has either been my good friend the bucket or a log (I had to use a sandbag…but the challenge was still there).

Overall I think the workouts that I have done so far have been quality workouts for preparing for the race.  On the average a workout is taking me approximately 12 – 20 minutes to complete, unless it is one of the runs for a set period of time style.

I am excited to continue to work through the book and move forward with the challenges presented.

What I Would Do Differently…

As a coach and trainer, one of the things that I would do differently with a book like this is help with setting expectations for goals in this book.  One of the things that I wondered after some of the workouts is how long “should” this workout take?  What is a good goal for this workout?

If another book of this type were to be written I would encourage adding a simple goal time to the workouts.  It helps people to see where they are at and what their potential could be.  In this particular books case, they could use the same scale that they use for the Day 0 – Test or use a scale that breaks people down into categories for the races themselves (Elite, Competitive, Open).

I would also add potential changes to the workout for those people using this book to help them off the couch.  I recognize that there is a basic workout given that they suggest you do every day until you can complete it before moving into the 30 days, but there can still be some changes made to help people out.  Again, this is just my opinion, but giving people scaling options might be beneficial.  It lends the book to be reused and the cycle continued.  Options are given for making the workouts harder (i.e. completing the run with a mouthful of water or in extreme heat…I live in Texas, so I got that), but little is offered for how to scale down a workout.  It would be as simple as calling the workouts by the distances used in a Spartan Race.  I will give credit that in the workouts that are just about working for a set amount of time they do make a note that you do not have to run or row the full time, but you do need to keep moving.

For example:

Sprint – 3 Rounds

Super – 5 Rounds

Beast – AMRAP in 25 Minutes

Conclusion For Now:

I like the workouts and they do challenge you.  I know that my cardio is getting better and the muscles needed for support on the carries are getting stronger.  I am enjoying getting out of my comfort zone…performing an army crawl at the park will do that to you.

I will carry on and see what I end up.

SpartanFit Book and Journal

Spartan Fit #ChallengeAccepted…Blogging the Book

SpartanFit Book and Journal

I recently received my copy of Spartan Fit by Joe De Sena in the mail.  I read the first bit of the book and decided to accept the challenge to work through all 30 days of workouts and see where I stood and how I felt after putting down the programming pen for 30 days.

This is the first episode in the journey.  As I work through the 30 days of the book, I will do my best to blog about the experience and what I am taking away from the words of wisdom on the pages and the book itself.

First and foremost, I will not be posting the workouts performed here.  I will speak to them in terms of what they are and what I took from them.  If you want to know what they are, then please support the author and buy the book.

Why am I Doing This?

There are several reasons for accepting the challenge with this book.  The first and biggest is the reality that I am preparing to wrap up my trifecta for the year with one race left to complete.  If the founder of the company releases a book, I want to see how it correlates to completion in the course. In addition to that, I

In addition to tackling a race, I want to see how the programming affects my cardio.  I loathe cardio workouts and with something like this, I am committed to getting better (or at least completing the cardio workout and not subbing in…say some heavy deadlifts).

What I’ve Done So Far…

Over the past couple days, I have worked to take the Day 0 Fitness Test and then completed the Day 1 Workout.  I did take a day in between so that I could say that I was rested before starting the program.  It also helped me start on a Monday…just a mental bonus for me.

The Day 0 Test…

The Day 0 Test was not too bad.  It reminded me that I have plenty of grip strength, which is why I have never struggled with many of the obstacles themselves on the Spartan course.  I was also reminded that I hate burpees and hate longer distance time cardio.

The test revealed where I was as, which was not a surprise to me.  I have just recently completed a pretty solid cycle focused on my lifting numbers and strength, so to see that my cardio was less than stellar and closer to non-existent was not a surprise.

I recorded my results and look forward to the retest.

Day 1 Workout…

The first workout was a lot of crawling.  I did get a few scraped elbows but that was not bad.  It was also a good mix of taxing the shoulders and then asking you to work the legs a little.  I know that the legs feed the wolf, so I pushed through it.

It was a relatively short workout that reminded me that I need to breathe.

Overall Takeaways

If you have not read Spartan Up! then I recommend that you do that.  It is a great book on mindset and pushing through mental barriers.  Spartan Fit does a good job alluding to some of the basics in mindset and the first couple chapters were good at understanding how important the correct mindset is.

I always appreciate being reminded that getting to the finish line is not the hard part, getting to the starting line is.

I am curious to keep going through the book and completing the workouts.  It should be an interesting challenge.  It will be challenging in the tasks required as well as just being comfortable being outside of my comfort zone.  Performing a 25m army crawl through the park gets you some strange looks every now and then.

I will have a complete review of the book when I am done with the 30 days.