“Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

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So casa de Norris, along with the combined Paleo f(x) / ARXFit corporate offices, have just recently relocated from north-central ATX to the southern outer reaches of town.  The logistics of this relocation means that I will have to spend A LOT more time in the fixie saddle if I intend to continue on with my no car experiment.  Which I fully intend to do. 

The ride from the new digs to the new office space is 8 miles, which takes me about 32 minutes, give or take a couple.  As I’m not exactly in top saddle shape yet, my thought is I can probably get this consistently down to below 30 minutes.  Not a bad bike commute at all; I’ve managed similar up until 10 years ago.

Back then, I was still a mercenary for the dark side (Big Phrama) in North Carolina, and slugging my way through rotating, 12 hours shifts.  The commute each way was about 8 miles.  No problem.  Except for the for frequent weather swings that are part and parcel to that part of the country.

The bigger change coming up for me is this: for the last 6 years, I’ve practically LIVED in a gym, our Efficient Exercise Rosedale location being just a couple hundred yards long skateboard glide from my house.  A sweet set-up, no doubt.  Now, though, the nearest ARXFit is 8 miles away (at the Paleo f(x) / ARXFit offices).  And the nearest iron?  10 miles.  And for purpose of reiterating here (accountability is powerful!), I’m still bound and determined to keep my no car experiment rolling. Which means (drumroll, please), I’m gonna be spending A LOT more time in the ol’ fixie saddle.  How much more?  About 70 miles / week more.  If you’re curious as to my ever-mounting commute miles, you can follow that on my Strava account.  I’ve re-engaged that app as a way to track my saddle time.  And yeah, the gamification of activity encourages a lot more of said activity.  Just playing that oh-so-very predictable psychological response against myself.

Yeah, tricks of the trade…

So what does this all mean?  Well, aside from my restocking the ol’ fixie stable and shoring up the commuter needs (a waterproof computer cover is a must), it means a pretty drastic shift in how I lift and eat.  After just a couple days into the increased fixie mileage, my appetite in general is through the roof! I know — shocker, right?

It also means I’ve become very familiar with Austin’s MetroRapid north / south bus routes (the 801 and 803 for you locals). Buses (with bike racks!) that I can count on to hit the stations in predictable 15 minute increments are a big plus.  More on this in the “A Day in the Carless Commuter’s Life” piece I’m working on, but here’s the gist of it: I can be just about anywhere in the Austin metro I want with two bus routes and an 8 mile bike ride radius.  Car2Go fills in the gaps, and in a severe pinch I’ve got RideAustin (Uber for Austinites) as a backup.

Anyway you cut it, though, it’s quite the transition from the last few years.  But No worries; I’ve dealt with much more drastic transition before.  Going from college football with a full-blown, state-of-the-art S&C facility to a military career and deployments with nada in the way of equipment for one.  It was, in fact, the crucible of these transitions that served as the impetus for the Five Ts.

Embrace the change

So how do I use the Five Ts to help me navigate through significant change?  Let’s look at the real-world example of what I’m currently doing.

First things first, though: I have to either redefine or reaffirm my fitness goal.  Doesn’t mean I have to be married to that redefined / reaffirmed goal forever; I maintain the freedom to change direction if I’m so called.  But I do need to know where I’m going so that I can course-correct as needed along the way.  This is a very important point.  Destinations aren’t reached in one hop; they’re realized after a long and repeated string of small advances and navigational adjustments.  The bottom line is, in order to course-correct effectively, you have to know where in the hell you’re going to begin with.

And as a refresher, in my schema, goals are a subset of your ultimate Why; your reason for walking the earth.  Your north star. That which makes you scream FUCK YES! So I might (and I do) have body comp goals, relationship goals, and entrepreneurial goals.  Writing goals and buck-the system / #RATM goals: like doing my damnedest to keep one additional car off the road.

The Five Ts

Time, tools, techniques, temperament and trade mark.  These are the five avenues through which I’ll need to engage both my new environment and circumstance to effectively meet my new (or renewed) health and wellness goals.

And just what is that goal, now?  Well, I have this image in my mind of what an athletic, ripped, and healthy 52 year-old can look like.  And that image has absolutely zero in common with cultural norms of what a “healthy” 52 year old looks like.  And I embrace being the outlier; I’m breaking paradigms here.  Let’s call it a 200 LB, Fight Club look.

Note: I believe there are reasons why I do not, at my age, just want to be as swole as possible for the sake of, well… just being as swole as possible.  More on that in a later piece as well (hint: it has much to do with IGF-1), but my intent is to remain at single digit bodyfat, year-round, and let muscle mass do what it will.  As of this writing, I’m at 197.  That’s down from the 217-ish I was early last summer.  And here’s the interesting thing: I haven’t lost any strength.  Pretty friggin’ amazing.  And it’s good to see that my body still quickly adapts to circumstance and environment.

So, with that in mind, here’s an example of what my latest run through the Five Ts looked like.  You’ll see this line of questioning has its roots in the idea of asking five questions to get at the root of the problem at hand.  Or, the “truth”, as the case may be. Quite simply, it’s a riff on the old TQM system.

Let’s look at how I apply that flow in this case:

Time: limited, though I can pretty much call my own shots. Access is more the issue that’ll I’ll need to navigate, as (and as stated prior), I’m now 8 miles from the nearest ARXFit, and 10 miles from the nearest iron.  As well, I’ve got to navigate multiple business meetings throughout the week.  As always, you can follow how I integrate my fitness and commuter needs on a daily basis in the Theory to Practice Facebook group.  It’s quite the interesting weave of saddle and iron work.

Tools: same tools, though I’ll need  to weave a heavy uptick in saddle time to the mix.  And the tools are mixed depending on where I end up working out.  So, I’ll need to take that into account as well.

Temperament: unchanged; still my same, crazy-ass self.

Techniques: won’t need to learn anything new, per se; I will, however, have to drastically reduce my lower body volume lifting modalities.  In addition, what lower body work I will engage in will heavily lean toward posterior chain strength and power, and overall lower body ballistic ability.  In other words, methodologies that will compliment / contrast all that push-heavy volume work in the saddle.  I’ll be relying heavily on Wave and Weave modalities, Autoregulation and drop-off to help feel my way through this.

Trademark: somewhat unchanged; though I am 52, now. It will be interesting to see what an additional decade since the last time I was in a similar situation will affect my ability to recover.

The moral of the story?  Circumstance is just one excuse (of many!) that your psyche will throw at you as a justifiable reason not to chase your goals.  I call bullshit on that.  With myself, and with others.

Any circumstance can be navigated.  Most, though, just need a tool to help with breaking down the complexity of that change.  That’s where the Five Ts can really help.

Heal thyself, harden thyself, change the world –




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