Sunday, September 28, 2014

First Rule of Fight Club...

First rule of the blog, never talk about the blog.
I was logging in just to move some links around and kill some time... and I happened to notice the stats on these blogs, which is something I really try to ignore now.  But like I said, I happened to glance over at the numbers and thought "that's kinda cool."
I write, I share and this blog has been visited nearly 14,000 times.
I used to ignore the numbers because I didn't want it to effect what I choose to write about it what I say.  If I write a rather boring "how to," blog and only see 50 some readers, I'd react and stay away from those thinking no one cared to read it.
But now, I just write and ignore the numbers... for the most part.
Above all else, I hope you're enjoying the honesty.  When I'm writing, I truly treat it like a journal and often get a little nervous to share these online.  Then when I do, I think with all the crap on social media, this post will fly right by and no one will click it.
But thanks for "clicking it."  :)

I had a list of notes in my phone that I wanted to share this week, because some new things have popped up since my last post, which was literally written as the title read, on my lunch break with my shoes off.
Lets just say, I was in a situation that tends to "poke me."  Remember that friend you had that would linger a finger in front of your face taunting "I'm not touching you?" and then you eventually grab that finger and twist it til you hear a little pop, then they start crying about "why'd you do that?!?!"  it's pretty much like that.  So at one particular moment, I had to walk off and find some quiet time.  I didn't plan it, I didn't think much of it, I just walked off into some woods and stood.
And honestly, tears came... I stood there and just kinda let them fill up the eyes and took a deep breath and just relaxed.  I tried to relax my shoulders... my back... all the crazy pains I've been feeling and when I did, tears just slowly built up and it felt really, really good.
Clean.  I remember walking away feeling like I just washed my face and hands.
Anxiety is a mofo!  Really is... stress and anxiety can really whip your butt.  See, I'm awesome at telling everyone else whats best, but pretty bad at taking my own advice.  I need constant reminders (which are loaded in my phone via alarms, notes and scheduled messages) to listen to the advice I tell others.
That afternoon, I took a chair and my salad and sat at the edge of the woods, and took my shoes off.  I felt I needed to reconnect to something... maybe the grass.  Maybe it was a placebo effect but it worked and I felt really good about my time.  I left my phone alone, no surfing any sites or social media, just chilling.  Near the end of my break, I set everything down and meditated... first time in months and I felt it.  150%.  I just sat, breathed, felt the air, and focused on relaxing every muscle, every joint, every single ache and pain... I just focused on relaxing whatever was needed to relieve the pain.
When i finished, I wrote the last blog, "shoes off lunch break."
Then a word slowly stirred through my mind and hasn't left me, SIMPLE.
Be simple.
Thinking of the stresses and anxiety, it was built up from a pretty hectic and truly stressful year.  And in the commotion and pressure, I've overworked and let some things that are/were important to me, go and I now see the need to get them back.  For example, that brief meditation session near the woods, it turned a light on an area I pushed to a dark corner.  I felt it physically in the form of aches and pains and once I paused long enough to acknowledge them, I was able to control them.
Mediation was something I was once very consistent with and found it extremely helpful.  Then all the sudden, I was toooooo busy to sit down and take care of myself in this way.  And like the old saying goes, "if you're too busy for 5 minutes, you probably need 30," or something like that. But its true.
And now I'm thinking BE SIMPLE.
I have a statement on my dry erase in the office "Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves."  I feel this is right in line.  I was so busy worrying and pressing for this particular end goal, that I've flown right through the year.  A baseball analogy?  ok... it's like I was trying to hit grand slams without getting guys on base first.  Little things, baby steps.  All my goals, I was seeing as these massive hurdles and ignored all the little things, the little steps it takes.
You cant save $12,000 in one month, you do it over a course of time.  You can't lose 40lbs in one month, you do it over the course of time.
"Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves."
Day by day, step by step...

My next thought was "momentum," and how powerful it can be and can be found everywhere.  In our relationships, the work place, our training, our education, our personal development.  We can see it in our friends, in our children or parents... we see momentum.
I see it in a more spiritual way than just saying "habit..." I think it's different.  Similar but different.
Even as i write that, I thought ahead to my day tomorrow and how important it is for me to wake up earlier than usual, to start getting my body moving earlier.  I have much better days when I'm not rushed to leave the house and more moments tend to come together for me.  When I'm prepared, well rested and so on, my mind is in line, my body feels good and thats how I start to build momentum for that particular day.
Not to turn a corner, but as I thought of wrapping up, I wanted to add one more point.... bad momentum.  Understand that its due to negative self talk.  (Again, read above... I'm bad at listening ot myself, but working on it.)
Negative self talk can sabotage everything you're doing, and all of your dreams.  I know you probably cant just turn it off, so many people think you can.  Like depression, you really cant just snap a finger and bounce back.  But just acknowledge it.  When you say something negative to yourself, about yourself, about your job, about your life, just pause and notice it... notice where it came from... notice if theres really any valuable truth to it or are you just repeating something someone said 20 years ago... as they passed their shitty momentum onto you... think about that... how you see things... is it really you, or the glasses someone handed you?  Are you seeing things, yourself, your life, your choices, through your eyes or someone else's?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Shoes off lunch break

Imagine you own (or if you do own, no need to imagine) a high performance vehicle...
And even though we own it, we do not have unlimited funds, so we budget our gas and other expenses to care for it the way we should. 
We make sure the tires and suspension are in good shape.  We check oil levels and other fluids to be certain there are no issues while in use.
Then we fill it with the most efficient and clean gasoline we can find and we're on w our day.  
Again, were on a budget so we're not joy riding, we're making use of our gasoline and using our tires wisely.  We drive w care for ourselves and others, we can't be reckless w this vehicle.  Like I said, we own it now, but do not have the funds to replace it if something were to happen.  

Now remove the car and think of our bodies...
And think.
How do we care for them?
How do we fuel them?  
How do we maintain?
How are we certain we're using our only true high performance "vehicle," to it's utmost potential?
What if we viewed our food, our nutrients, our calories, as they truly are AS we consume?  And think... "This protein will fuel my body to..." or "these vitamins and essential nutrients will help me..."
Go where?
Do what?
What will they help you accomplish?

Do you know what proteins, carbohydrates and fats do for you?  (Hint:  they're not just staples in the newest fad diet.... They're real.)

Take a moment or several, to sit quietly alone... Maybe find some shade and grass... Take your shoes off and reconnect.   Breathe...
Think of our "vehicles," and where we're going...

Then take it to another level...
How do we maintain our "computers?"  How do we care for our mental state?  What are we doing to evolve, learn and progress, like a program?

And the intangible...
The soul.  
How is it being cared for, nourished?  It too needs attention, like a plant needs water, sunshine and great soil.

And take care of the "vehicle," and all others near you

Monday, September 22, 2014

Play All 4 Quarters

Last blog I said footballs been ruined by greedy old men.
The blog before I said "I'm not a football guy."
This blog, I'm totally full of crap on the previous two comments but will justify it with an attempt at a clever analogy.

Woke up Sunday morning in a downtown hotel and along w a couple buddies, headed over to a lot for some pregame festivities.  In past seasons, this was the highlight, but so far this years Brownies have been worth tuning in for despite the 1-2 start.
2 losses as time slipped away.
The previous two games, I sat home and listened on the radio, texting Andy random thoughts and observations as to the play on the field.  Both of those games, my last text was "that's why you play all 4 quarters."
Against the Steelers, had they quit at halftime, we were blown out.  But we adjusted, came back and took a lead before losing as time expired.
Against the Saints, we came out strong but had many moments where we looked as though we were trying to give it away. 
 Same goes for yesterday.  We looked so good, so strong, for so long... But it wasn't enough.  Too many mistakes in the 4th quarter lost us the game.  At times, we looked confused, unprepared and we just didn't get the job done when it matter most.
In football on nearly any level of any game and throughout a season, there are highs and lows.  You have time on your side as a type of checking point as to know when you need to make a particular move or look to adjust.   You know the season is 8 or 10 or 17 weeks.  You know the quarters are 8, 10 or however long.  And you know in each game, you have 4 quarters to make of happen.  
There will be mistakes.  There will be success.  There will be things, moments, that you knew would happen, moments or plays you prepared for, and you'll either execute or you won't. 
You may get a big lead one day, but then lose focus in the success and blow the lead.
You may start off rocky, losing by 21 in the fourth, but make your halftime adjustments and fight your way back into the game.  
Maybe you'll win, maybe not.  But you have to go hard for 4 quarters in order to absorb all the benefits... I almost wrote nutrients. Same thing.  Those experiences of life, wins and losses, success and failure and all those little moments within that fill the space with intangibles, those are the nutrients for our soul.  
I barely remember the games... I remember the practices.  I absorbed all those nutrients for years.  

So let's say, for the pictures sake, we'll live to be 80 years old.  That means every 20 years is our quarter.  
Where are you?  Me, I'm approaching halftime pretty soon. My score... Not quite sure.  I think I probably came out of the first quarter a little rocky the way most rookies do but I've made adjustments.  See, I'm a good coach, I know you have to be willing to learn and adapt and evolve to win.  So once I made to through the learning curve of the 1st quarter and most of the 2nd quarter, I picked up momentum and headed myself in a more fitting direction.  
Am I losing at the moment?  I think it's a close ball game, but I'm headed into halftime soon and see myself as a great second half team.
How about you? 
What quarter are you in?  
How's your momentum?
Remember, you can really suck in the first half, but if you come out of the locker room ready to play, you can come back and end the game respectable.  Maybe even win it.  

But sometime, some teams think they can coast and win it in the 4th and that works on their field... Not ours.  We don't actually get to see the clock.  We don't know when our 4th quarter starts or ends.
So play hard now, win now and you won't have to worry about the clock expiring. 
Every day is that chance to score, to have success, to make positive strides forward.   Don't wait. 
Go back to school.
Get back on your training schedule. 
Write that goal list and hit those goals. 
Make your dreams become a reality.  
We have one game to play.  
Play to win, everyday. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Just a quicky (8 yr olds playing football and "when is yoga starting?)

Last weekend, I was driving through a neighborhood with my daughters in the car, listening to Modest Mouse (People as places as people).  Quick sidenote:  When I was younger I thought how I didnt want to influence my girls and wanted them to "blossom," into their true selves.  But then I thought "Hey dummy, your taste in music is sweet!  Influence your ass off!" So in my car, they get to hear Modest Mouse, John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Dave & Tim and of course, some pretty Pearl Jam tunes.
Anyway, we're cruising along and talking and I see a flag football game.  We're at the red light, all watching the action... the 8 yr olds playing the game.  And I kinda had to get out of there.
I think the book I recently read, referenced in the last blog entry, on top of the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson had me a little ultra emotional about things, especially kids and then football.
I now see the NFL as I do most things... a great idea, seriously F'd up by adults, greed and money.  Very few things haven't fell into that category at some point.
But here, I saw kids playing a great sport at the core level, in a neighborhood, with parents in lawn chairs.  Not to be too negative about it, but it goes down hill from there... why?  Because some goofy ass dad is going to think his kid is the next Buckeye great and force feed it down his throat and it gets progressively worse from here.  middle school, high school, to college (maybe).
Yup, my opinions on youth sports are jaded.  But not because of the kids, because of the same reasons I listed above, adults-greed-money.

Phase 1 was Womens Weight Training.  Think of a large mason jar, phase 1 was filling it with marbles.
Phase 2 was Kettles, Core & Cardio.  That was us filling it with small pebbles and sand.
We thought, "Alright, we're getting it all in now."
(no bs, I just heard someone mention in the hall "When is the yoga starting?"
Phase 3.  You've taken yoga before or maybe not.  You may have some expectation as to what will happen in there... "we'll stretch, and pose, it'll improve my flexibilty... We'll hum."  I don't know what you really think.  But I know, without any doubt, that your thoughts are short compared to whats actually going to happen... Except for the humming, we won't be humming.
The first two classes are sound. They're needed.  They're the bread n butter.  But Phase 3 is the intangible.  Its the class that'll change how you train, how you run, how you walk, how you work, how you think, how you feel, how you study, how you teach, how you coach, what you look at, how you breathe.
Lets rewind.

I'm new, right?  (obviously not to everyone reading, but i have a target audience in mind).  So I'm new.
Here's a brief summary of how it began...
I weighed around 315-325lbs.  No one told me and for some reason, I didnt see it.  One day, some bad bad news came around and I blamed my fat.  Positive from a negative.  So I joined the gym, Ballys in Willoughby.  I tore out some workouts from a Flex Magazine and headed out with a friend.  I had a clunky pair of white high tops, sloppy clothes and no cardio.  I tried running.  Couldnt run 1/8 mile.  Tried the elliptical, legs hurt.  I curled, I shoulder pressed, and floated around in a pool.
One day, two guys pulled me aside and asked me what I was doing.  I said "trying to lose weight."  They've obviously seen my pathetic effort and program and decided to help this sad bastard out.  They wrote it up, told me what to eat, told me how to do it all and said "See you tomorrow."
I remember thinking "Crap... I'm a big guy... I dont want them thinking I'm a wimp.  Now I have to show up and do this."
These guys were Marines and chiseled.  Not overly muscular or body builders, but defined, large and athletic in appearance.  One of the workouts they gave me is still one we go through in bootcamps and I post it online often.
Anyway, I did it.  I did everything they said, ate what they said, ran the way they said, and lost around 90lbs.
Later on, I became a high school football coach, then started working with high school athletes, then became a personal trainer.

Then I hurt my back and went to a chiropractor... excellent guy up at the Clinic, Dr. Torak (sorry if I spelled it wrong).  We talked a lot about training, rehab tips and a new buzz word "pre-hab," ways to train imbalances to prevent potential injuries.  At the time, it wasn't something I ever thought much about.  Yes, form is one thing and lifting properly is essential, but this was different.  This had more focus on intangibles, the deep fibers, the assisting muscles that you dont flex in the mirror. Through our talks, he said "give some yoga a shot."
So I googled, found a place and went up.  I was (or maybe I still am) a Buddhist so walking into a  yoga studio for the first time didn't overwhelm me the way it might other guys.  I was prepared to be surprised... and that was an understatement.  Within a few weeks of classes, I immediately appreciated the physical benefits.  But the catch, the hook, were the thoughts and feelings that arose.  This wasn't a workout.  This wasn't a stretch routine.  There was something going on in here that I haven't felt since my old coach used to whisper (or grumble) something at me that made want to run through a wall, in a good way, of course.  I came out of these classes feeling AMAZING.  amazing.  And I wanted more.  I wanted to know why.  So I dove into the books, the history, the science.
Then I began incorporating everything, the lifting with the yoga, the yoga with the athletics and it became my passion.

So here we are... and roll all that up.  Maybe you've read some blogs and have a feel for what its all about.  Maybe you've dove into my Monday and Wednesday classes and got a feel for it all.  But I'm telling you, without a doubt, this is the class you want to set your clock to.
It wont be easy.  Yes, we'll be starting slow, because I have to assume we're all "new."  But you know how we're in a class and I say 5 more and somehow say 3 more 5 later?  :)  Bring a water, a mat and change of clothes.  You will not want to sit in your car in the same clothes you're taking class in.

This Is Blue Chip