Friday, November 26, 2010

Unfinished Business.

it has been just over 3 years since i first started training in earnest, since i first visited the GYM JONES facility in SLC, utah. since i first saw in action what i had hardly even imagined possible. in those years there have been many workouts, many internal dialogues. i worked through many of the "standard" and foundation workouts, and while some were modified, i never quit. well, almost never. it was almost exactly 3 years ago when i took a 45# bar to the local track and gave it a shot. 4x OH walking lunges + 4x Push presses. 1 lap. not too bad right?


i went maybe 50 yards, turned around, did maybe 40 and made a b line back to my truck, tail tucked and hands frozen.

i head out to salt lake city in 7 days, my 3rd time and am eager to learn, but i had some unfinished business to take care of.

i wasn't going to quit this time.

there was a minute where i actually thought it wasnt going to be so bad... and the first 50 m was alright, but, when the best you can say about the first 1/8 of a workout is that it is "alright" you are probably in for a long haul.

39:53. minor frostbite in my fingertips, and a touch of redemption.

and now, back to work.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Physical culture and body image

working out... how narcissistic.

i work in a gym, i know. i see the "shirts" these guys wear, watch them wink at themselves in the mirror. the ego grows even faster than their muscles. hypertrophy. get big. get ripped. vascularization. six pack....

or for the ladies, making sure not to sweat too much. dont want makeup to run. trying to loose weight, but from the right places. not big, not strong, just "toned".


i have been having an interesting e-mail conversation about challenge, exercise and body image... i think most people these days have body issues, and have developed their way to cope... some shirk challenge, choose to accept their bodies as they are. some fight, seek to exert control. diet, exercise, the right clothes.... it can get pretty messy.

i believe training for a purpose is a way to simplify the issue. to value function over form. to craft your body as you would a tool. to make it efficient. to willingly sacrifice certain traits to excel at others. to ignore what mass media has to say about appearance - what the fuck do they know anyway? to accept that time is finite, and we need to put our efforts where they will do the most good.
I had severe body image issues in middle/high school, I believe there is a lot of power in physical culture, in watching the cumulative effect of will. not just physical changes, but mental ones. and as for physical changes, becoming connected with your body. being able to identify with each nerve ending, each muscle because you know how far you can push it and what it will cost in return. I feel you develop a deep enough relationship with your flesh and sinew and bone that no corporation or individual can shake it. I met a woman who was a fighter, her legs had purpose. I met an ultra-marathoner - her legs, hell her frame had an entirely different purpose. I guess when you have a goal like that, beauty images loose most of their power. there is a price to be paid and if you want to be a great climber, a great runner or a great biker it will take tremendous will, work and stress. and like age, these will shape your flesh. we become what we do. does it matter more to be "pretty" or to accomplish your goal? because they may be mutually exclusive. it is a choice, and in honoring that fact, consciously forgoing one to embrace the other it (I believe) dispels most of the fear and doubt. it becomes simple, and even a little easy.

i saw a woman at the airport in NYC this weekend, from 50 feet away i knew she was a fighter. she had cauliflower ear, a neck as thick as mine and you could see the definition in her legs through her jeans.she was an embodiment of countless hours of hard work and tough decisions. she was beautiful. she was crafted for a purpose through efforts of her own. function, in and of itself, is beautiful.

not to say athletes lack body issues, they are just easily put in check.

let reality be the judge, everything else is just noise.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Something has to give...

its easy to talk. to give advice. to weigh in on risk and consequences when you will foot neither bill.

a few weeks ago i was talking to a good friend, weighing options, thinking aloud when she asked me - what would your advice be if someone else was saying this to you?

what would you say?

a decision was made right there.

i quit.

i believe it is healthy to work in different disciplines. to apply lessons and experience and truly feel how "all training is complimentary" but there is an addition to that statement... "to a point."

for the last couple years my time has been divided, i am a chef, a personal trainer, and a craftsman. i am fairly competent at all three, but not exceptional. there has been growth and lessons from one apply nicely to the others, but in recent months i have hit a wall. i have found the current limit of my attention and energy. things are stagnating, and something has to give.

after eight years, i left the chef job. my last steady paycheck. leaving the safety net. adding pressure. focus. giving things the time they need. the attention they deserve. its time to make it work. to pass or fail on my own energies. until the next evolution.

owner operator

Growth can be painful.

it takes commitment,

not holding back,

and a willingness to stand alone.