“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Leo Tolstoy

rocketscience

Patrick Haney 

Damn.  Looking around the Internet, you get the impression that all knowledge of physical fitness is restricted to those who, now tired of theoretical physics, have decided to dedicate their lives, instead, to the pursuit of bigger biceps. 

Hey, I don’t want anyone here to get the notion that this workin’ out stuff is rocket science.  Now, it could very well be that I’m delusional.  Maybe it really is the stuff reserved for those of higher mental capacities, and I’ll figure out sometime in the way too distant future (too late for my own good, of course) that I paid a heavy price for not taking this stuff too seriously — for diluting the highly (and whoops! who knew? necessarily) complex, and, in the process, completely ruining the fitness brew.  

Of course, I don’t have any definitive answers on this topic; so I gotta side with what I feel in the gut on this one.  And, as always, I remain the ever open-minded and continually searching epistemocrat.  My thinking, though, is this: If ever you’re muddled in “workout doubt”, just do this — sprint.  Lift heavy things, fast, furious, and — for the most part — over your head.  Eat right (a Paleo diet).  Get plenty of sleep.  Repeat.  Adjust and fine-tune as necessary — but really — if you’re not a professional (or aspiring to be) athlete, is it really worth obsessing over? 

Remember the 80/20 rule.  The “20%” part in this instance incorporates the “adjust and fine-tune” portion, and can, if you let it get out of control, wind-up resembling the exploits of ol’ Wile E. Coyote and his bud, the Road Runner.  The mind (aka, the notorious, Wile E. C.) pushes the body (the Road Runner) to improve.  The body, on the other hand, is hell-bent on doing only what is necessary to survive and multiply.  These are two entities can truly, at times, be at cross-purposes.  As soon as the mind dreams up a new way to push the envelope, though, the body finds a way to begrudgingly adjust — all at the detriment to another physical quality that, at the moment, is not being emphasized.  And so it goes, round and round.  The really cool thing about it all of this, though, is the following: you and you alone control the outcome.  Spirituality aside, what other venture in life can you really say that about?  You call the shots, and you’re responsible, wholly and totally, for the outcome.  And in that, my friends, I find much satisfaction.

Now, with a little skill, (and certainly, not a whole lot of obsession), you can make incremental, positive steps that impel the mind-body complex, as a whole, toward a new and better place.  The easiest way to do that?  Simple.  When you get to the point of not improving on a modality, movement, speed– whatever parameter you chose to measure — it’s time to change some aspect of your method.

To get your creative juices flowing, check out what I put together and performed on Monday morning:

  1. REA Squats x 5’s

  2. Push-away, Kipping-style pullups x 5’s

  3. DB snatch + press/push-press/push-jerk combo (1 full combo, each side)

  4. DB woodchops x 5’s each side

3 full rounds of this complex, at weight.  35 minutes worth of hard work that left me feeling great the whole day through.

And now, speaking of things you can control, and of those that you can’t —

“You give 100 percent in the first half of the game, and if that isn’t enough in the second half you give what’s left.” –

—  Yogi Berra

With all the distressing financial news as of late, it’s refreshing to be able to take solace in this: There are very few things in life that I have utmost control over; my health and my fitness are about it. I put 80% of my energy and focus into those things, then allocate the remaining twenty percent to ready myself to react to those things I have no control over. Why sweat those things? Hell, I can’t do a damn thing about them anyway, much less can I predict them.

Now, I certainly don’t absolve myself of all responsibility vis-a-vis my future – I’m just saying I have no way of accurately predicting the future, so the best that I can do is to try to ready myself, in as much of a well-rounded sense as possible, and then I get back to working on those things in which I do have direct influence. It works for me much better that way.  I don’t want to waste a single cheap beer nor one minute of life worrying about something that I can’t predict, change or have any control over.  Really, what’s the point?

So in that spirit, check this article out – via Tim Ferriss (and with a mighty big hat tip, apparently, to Ryan Holiday). This put a huge smile on my face yesterday.  Thanks, y’all, I needed that one —

In Health,

Keith

 

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for that link. An interesting read.

    And a sidenote: I finally figured out the kipping pullup, or what I think would qualify. I’ve been trying for months! I had to tell somebody that would appreciate it 🙂

  2. Fantastic, AT22! And don’t ever let anyone tell you that a kipping pullup is “cheating”. They’re no more “cheating” than is ripping the weight off the floor with max velocity in order to complete a clean & press or a snatch — no more “cheating” than an all-out sprint is compared to a heavy set of lunges. Kipping with proper form is the power version of a strict pullup — nothing more, nothing less.

    Have you been able to perform a muscle-up yet? If not, make that your next goal!

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