New Title Needed?

 

 

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The woman seated by me on the airplane was experienced in marketing words. Her confident conclusion was that Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness is a bad title. Her tone was respectfully hushed, saving this unknown author from the ignominy of being known onboard as a bad-title-picker. I had visions of bad-title-air-marshals tackling me on the tarmac, and burning my books.

Truth is, my fellow passenger’s observation touched a nagging, bothersome, itchy insecurity I’ve often felt about my book title: if people have to read the book to get the title, that’s not a good title. The title is supposed to prompt people to dive into the book, not remain opaque to all who don’t first delve. A title should be a lead-in, and even if it’s semi-mysterious, its words should offer values that Gumby-ply the majority willpower to skate into that book. Is “Farm” such a word in the age of gaming and over-the-top pornification of just about everything except cereal (the sales of which are falling)? Well, maybe, a small voice counters, the extreme has been reached and the pendulum is returning to sanity, and in a sane world, farming is golden. Hmm.

Still, how many people would read my title and get it? And how many would go so far as to read the subtitle for clarification? My early assumption was that intrigued by the unusual title, they would certainly hone in on the subtitle. From the subtitle, they would have enough to prompt a quick “Look Inside” or a preview of sample pages. Then they’d be hooked!

Oh naïve self.

It is challenge enough for most people to finish a 279-page non-fiction book on new fitness philosophy without pictures that isn’t by an author with a Beverly-Hills-Household-brand-name like “Yogi Effuzio Zeus-Nero, former Navy SEAL,” or the like. I mean, I wanted to write an entrepreneurial mind-body conditioning book that provides an adaptive training catalyst for readers, not ensnare their self-critical envy for my beach-body, then move to Venice beach once I made it. I just want to afford to be able to travel and see our extended family more often while enabling all of us to be home more of the time. But I wanted to give something of quality to get there.

Maybe the Farm Your Training Day terminology in my book title is so smart, it’s dumb. The title tracks the adaptive principles and dimensions within that so broadly and deeply empower readers to trail blaze their own multidisciplinary training lives. That’s smart. The book is a reader-catalyst for achieving consistency with lifelong room to grow and modify one’s training life. Isn’t that what you’d expect from an adaptive fitness philosophy? That’s smart. The farming analogy is good for the reader because it does not create a need then sell to fulfill it. There is no fad-branded co-dependency with adaptive training. Instead, my book reveals that you already own what you need to exceed what any fad could ever sustain. All you’ve got to start with is the truth: you own your farm and your role as farmer of your mind-body. That is smart. And yet, true, smart concepts require implementation, and that’s what the 279-pages get at. But this fitness philosophy book does not market so well, since marketing is about stoking immediate-gratification impulses. As a marketing tool, my book is dumb.

Still, farming the mind-body recruits the readers’ minds and imaginations, something that teaches readers to fish for life by internalization while not giving them step-by-step photos they never have the patience to follow, being tantamount to serving-up cold fish they never finish cooking. Don’t shove knowledge at me, teach me how better to learn! Once readers use this catalyst to excel, they will hopefully overcome my sorry-title with solid reviews, and I’ll find my salary modestly paid before I die.

The scale of beginner to elite-level training is for readers to determine and navigate after consultation with their health care advisors, but my book’s baseline principles and training dimensions bring all readers to a zone of sustainable self-training consistency that forms their own unique, solid launching pad. The currently served, over-served, and underserved all stand to benefit from Farm Your Training Day. And the adaptive principles and dimensions don’t apply to physical training alone. They can apply to work, art, and service. There are takeaways for everyone.

The point of my book is not ‘who am I’ and never was. The point of my book is and has been, to help resolve roadblocks to wellness and conditioning in a country more flush with fitness brands than ever, but whose population continues upward in the obesity, overweight, and depression statistics. My answer, as may shock publishing houses, editors, and agents, comes from an ordinary person who researched, tested, and wrote the book with no intention of creating codependency on my brand for future training inspiration, but with the intention of empowering readers with a single purchase to become independent self-training athletes for-life, whose sports, arts, and physical work forms are their own. Blasphemy!

My approach is a catalyst for self-training ownership never to be co-dependent on contracts, subscriptions, fad-brands, or personalities to ascend to lifelong wellness, functional fitness, and improved performance in sport, art, and work. Time will tell if “farming” is a time-tested model for our training lives, and whether mass-corporate farming is any better than small, local, organic farming tailored to each individual and in the individual’s conscious control.

So what do you think? Should I change the title?

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Whoa: The Blog that Fell Off of a…that Adapted

Cover the big rocks first in your priority flow...little ones will follow on soon enough.

Cover the big rocks first in your priority flow…little ones will follow on soon enough.

I’ve seen the apology and non-apology posts for no blogging. Remembering those, and remembering that I was not terribly worried that someone had not blogged regularly enough (unless maybe I knew they had a health challenge of some kind and there was a sudden change), I’ll not make a big deal out of my down-tempo in blogging.

That is consistent with the principles in my book for remaining consistent anyhow.

One of the principles of adaptive training, i.e. Farming the Training Day, is adaptive journaling and recording of the training events and training days we undertake as adaptive athletes.

Recording results is more or less data keeping and tracking progress using training metrics that matter to your goals. Still, bear in mind that if you’re crunched on time because life demands it, it’s more important that your body absorbs training of the quality needed at the moment than that you record every detail, or train in accordance with what you want to record. You may later catch up with estimates. That is not a problem so long as self-honesty guides your estimates.

Journaling is different. Journaling is more of your own personal sense and prose-flow-think-through about your training quality, experience, and the state of you. That too may be embraced or shelved, but let’s not let the recording and thinking about what we do be a prerequisite to freely doing what’s good for us and others. So, if being with others who need me is more important than thinking-through my training experience this day, I’ll shelve the journal or the blog or the data checklist, training, and then get back to my people.

That is what adaptive training does from my humble perspective. Can we be flexible enough to admit to ourselves that everything material and energetic in and around us changes, moves, and many of these states of being are temporary? When we do, we get a better sense of the value of completing our training, and sustaining the quality of life it was meant to support by keeping balance.

A kind of humorous skit could be made to illustrate this by imagining an action movie where the hero is training like a champion. A speeding train is heading for a broken track and the hero is called. “Not now,” he says. “I’m in the middle of a training routine, can’t you see that?”

So that is a comical illustration of what it might look like if we put off someone we love or someone who depends on us so that we can complete our training day according to some kind of inflexible regimen we establish, but that does not necessarily serve the best interests of our lives.

Training through the Narrows

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There is an old adage as true today as ever: “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a great battle.”

A great battle in a relatively affluent country is being jostled and pulled in too many directions. We become acquainted with deciding what not to do instead of what to do. As many opportunities morph into ‘needs,’ it seems that some primordial, upstream-salmon gene activates in our brains and bodies, pushing us to grasp for more than we can do.

Many opportunities may knock, and when they do, be on the lookout for Mr. or Ms. Burnout at your door. This solicitor has bad teeth, dark circles under his eyes, a dehydrated look, burning flames of ambition receding in the irises, and a smoky smell – not cigarettes – but the reek of the grinding, engine-melting residue of neglect. For if we are not paying the insurance premium of exercise regularly, and descending from healthy habits because of it, succeed as we might elsewhere, we may not be around long enough to enjoy it.

One way to guard against a visit from this phantom of temptation is to adapt to it by physically training during his visit. This ends-justify-the-means ghost grasps at the wheedling, whining frustration of our unfinished goals; our haunting imperfections. It would ride them as your horses, pulling you and your life behind, clinging to uncertain ropes.

Imagine yourself answering the door as he or she knocks, earnestly beseeching you to listen and pointing to the pale horse out front; asking you to get behind this high-functioning stressor.

And you answer wearing your running shoes, shorts, and t-shirt. You tell the ghost you are going for a run, and you would love to listen to the pitch along your running route. As you establish your cadence on the asphalt, on the trail, and through the physical world of sunshine, air, seasonal scents, and sweat, you notice that he is having a very hard time keeping up. It seems you have come down to earth, and by doing so, entered a state of peace that cooled and moistened your brow, eased your mind, and helped you find your heart. Gratitude for what you have dawns in your heart, and you realize how much better you could devote yourself to what you have.

What is most important? Your run gives you a real opportunity to meditate on that. As you let the run go through your body, making you stronger, you let your mind drift over the topography of your life, and realize what are the tectonics, the foundations of your peaks and troughs. Soon you can distinguish between what is wise for you and what is not. You have outrun the pressure sell.

And that is a mighty fine pace for anyone to make.

Take Flight — a Memorial Day Reflection

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Dedicated to those who are here who can hear for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their fellows, their country, and principles for which this nation must still stand.

In the darkest nights of the soul the fuel for your Phoenix bubbles and boils around your spirit. From the ashes of some future ignition, burn, and flight, win or lose, you will rise again and be better than ever before; more capable in some way, known or unknown, to break through and see done what must be done as the reason for your being here. The darkest nights are never so dark as the dawn is light.

As the Marines say “pain is weakness leaving the body,” so the dark nights of the soul are selfishness of the past leaving the spirit, to be ignited in future service to those in need. These flammable drops may provide fires with which to liberate captives, empathize with and put sinners back on their feet, melt barbed wire, and elevate our human race just a little more before you die. No earthly reward could be better than simply completing our purposes for being. Each of us is given such a purpose, known or unknown, yet accessible more purely through standing again and believing.

The big picture is in our hearts, the sky within, from a vista point that can consider all people, all events, and all that must come with the indomitable commitment of a dedicated, singular spirit behind humble eyes, trafficking in the divine energy of love for all.

650 Bodyweight Watching an Inspirational Training Clip

One way to train inspirationally: 650 muscle movements with bodyweight resistance and watching an inspirational training documentary, going back to the days when athletes were not afraid to train and compete all-natural:

To Poets in Motion or Not

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Events conspired

chances were-

collusion collided

with our

busy battles

of self.

We missed

the convergences.

The movement around us

conjured visions and passions

that we were moving.

Yet we were as idle

as burning engines in Park.

Motion heats, yet also cools

the wind in our sails disperses

the over-concentration

of all that

we did not do

but expected others to.

Entangled, unfree, incomplete

as an Example

to lead on our feet.

The Story of an FEIAA Meeting and Book Signing

What a privilege to sit down and talk with Federal Executive Institute alumni and friends last night. These professionals brought up a host of great topics. We talked gluten freedom, how eating, drinking, and sleeping are self-trainable behaviors, and how intelligent attunement can benefit us in every dimension of physical action as well as perception. These civilian and military public servants, technical, and knowledge workers spoke in ways revealing their high accomplishment, and by their intelligence had found the many packaged fitness offerings in the marketplace unfulfilling or unsustainable. We also discussed the texture of real life: traumas, shadows, and challenges in daily life. Being with intelligent people can be a good time, but being with intelligent, feeling people is the best of times, and that is what last night’s gathering was like.

We talked nuts and bolts: Muscle, Mileage, Mobility, Midsection/Core, Mountains’ Meaning, and more. Everyone in attendance had been athletic in their lives whether they considered themselves so or not, and I made sure to point this out first of all. We must be clear about our identities, that we are among other wonderful truths, mind-body entities capable of athleticism in physical sport, art, and work. Yes, the basic adaptive physical training pathways can expand to intellectual and for some, spiritual athleticism.

On the sheer material side, a la Steve Martin in The Jerk, needing to hold onto some possessions on an anniversary date when I had once felt I’d lost everything, I brought some self-comforting props for my presentation. Rip’s Fire Engine 2 (TM) Plant Strong cereal (my strength), and Toblerone (TM) swiss chocolate (my weakness). They seemed like the props to bring at the time.

Along with a box of books and a gym bag with all I needed, I walked into Breckenridge Craft Colorado, home to craft beers and LoDo Denver venue-name dropping. You may remember our former mayor and now Governor Hickenlooper owned a restaurant in LoDo (Lower Downtown), where rough-hewn, red-brick mellow-looking pubs and brewers fill old warehouse buildings near lofts where nearly everyone walking around down there looks like they do Pilates during breakfast, Yoga during lunch, and feed intravenously through a liquid food bladder while running long distances through dinner.

Well, that may be an exaggeration but I’ll tell you what is not: most people living in downtown lofts are single, young, career starters enjoying urban life to the fullest, and throwing their pliable youthful bodies into one or two training modalities, sometimes not really bothering with long range thinking. They live close to their white collar work. They’re busy on various levels, but many don’t yet know the change that comes with rising in the ranks of responsibility, having a family, and having more and more people they are responsible for (at which time they often move out of the lofts). That doesn’t make them lesser or lazy, they just fill more of their time focusing on self-development than other-development because of their phase in life. Logic says juggling a one bean bag business is easier than juggling and adapting to three or more bean bags’ businesses…

Leading me to the course of our discussions last night: How do those with hairy schedules at work and home, extra-curriculars in the community, and little time to themselves make changes that temper for them a sound, powerful training life with consistency, excellence, and purpose? How do they overcome the crushing, conflicting, Hoi Polloi of Expectation-a-Legal living and not become unhealthy?

That is what Farm Your Training Day was written to begin answering. It contains many specific guidances on HOW, not just statements and restatements of a vague vision. I couldn’t convey all of it in one sitting and standing. What I could convey are some of the broad brush adaptive training principles and dimensions, and suggest that the fullness of these is in the book. This includes illustrations, guidances, sources, stories, and some visualizable details over 276 pages and 17 chapters without pictures.

All I can say is, after reading the book, which is not a Polly-Anna Manifesto by any stretch, and which takes a look at the mundane and dramatic obstacles to a consistent training life that would wear us down and make us unhealthy, I think people find not only bedrock to stand on within themselves, but a process of remolding their bedrock again and again from the interior life. Their training lives spring out of this aquifer of intelligent, planned and unplanned energy and movement within that connects with the world around them. The book maps forward, not ‘out.’ I say forward, because every reader is invited to be the pioneer who adds to this map, innovates, and improves the book by going into other principles and dimensions of adaptive training.

I know something of what there is and wrote a book about it, yet part of that is seeing that I do not know the limits of what is possible.

Don’t Give Up

Paula Cole and Peter Gabriel put this message to song so beautifully:

For all who train, race, compete, and more importantly, love.

Don’t give up is just another way of saying “I love you,” and love is life’s truth and meaning.

 

For more of Paula Cole’s heart reviving music, see:

http://paulacole.com/home

For Peter Gabriel:

http://petergabriel.com/

 

Updated: Remembering September Eleventh

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On September 11, 2001 a relatively small band of traveling criminals pushed history toward evil times. That so small a number could do this should inspire us that historic change in the positive can also take place because of the good works of a small number.

It is the truth. In this truth I believe many may find the purpose of their adaptive fitness lives. To prepare their bodies and minds for what they know, and for what they cannot predict, and so be ready to put in a sound response to the challenge of any given day.

It could be any ordinary day, to set in motion extraordinary change, or, to avert negative changes. Adaptive training goes beyond fitness to excellence in functional capability for the many who would improve their service to others wherever and however they serve the good of humankind.

Adaptive fitness expands the definition of athleticism to go beyond sports, games, and races and into whatever challenge may come.

Handling Victory and Defeat with Grace

If in our hearts we thoroughly prepare for lifelong grace after victory or defeat, neither victory or defeat can undo us.

Updated: Vying for the Heart of Athleticism in the Big Picture: Pride for Glory-of-Self or Service for Glory of the Team?

In succeeding, pride divides, while service, succeeding or not, unifies. Service brings glory after all seasons for one and for all. Even teams who lost fair and square to a team playing from the service ethos improve because of it.

The team that cries out of burst pride when it loses is less prepared to prevail in the greater competition against evils and injustices in the world. The team that wins in pride is even weaker, as they are deluded by self-legend.

Competition is best that tempers us toward excellence to be able to dissuade, dispel, and if necessary, defeat and heal injustices and evil processes plaguing humankind. Sports are fields of preparation for work and art, and contain them both. Play and the joy of play are part of the game of betterment.

The aim of sports was once to make community better, purer, truer, stronger, wiser, and in doing so raise every person to communal roles of glory from time to time. Instead sports in our great country have been struggling with the error of elevating pride as their driving spirit. That error has spawned a Pandora’s box of symptoms.

The team service ethos in sports unifies us, and makes us a team whose glory feeds those who witness and participate with it. Unfortunately we see this zone of service ethos in sports, art, and work waning, as the burgeoning prideful self, by self-glorification or self-esteem, sucks away rather than multiplies the spirit of personal excellence.

By character, determination, and service, success and failure are cumulative toward ultimate successes. Service success doesn’t admit the virus of tomorrow’s division. Today’s victory does not contain the DNA of tomorrow’s defeat with the ethos of service to the team. Failing to heed the law of the cosmos that pride comes before a fall is itself a delusion of pride in practice.

You may have noticed the shift in American sports as the word pride has replaced the word teamwork, love of team, and team spirit. Pride is the driving passion of despotism and fascism. Even the term “school pride” is a sad misnomer where well-intended, and a sickness where it dominates.

School is an institution part of a government that is supposed to be “by and for the people.” Such institutions, bureaucratized, may or may not run on people-oriented values. When there is a tradition of people-oriented leaders in that school or its system, they tend to feed students’ overall development, working as a team seeking excellence in doing so.

With such leadership, the bureaucratic addiction dissolves and the person-building institution arises. Perhaps we’ve forgotten that institutions and industries were at some point meant to help us develop ourselves as persons whose innate virtues obviate the need for heavy-institutionalism and industrialization in the first place. Freedom with behavioral trust was the objective. Remember “for the people, by the people?”

Yet where do we see many MVP’s go today? The pride-principle has morphed sports into a self-glorification machine, a scandal machine, a materialism machine, and a discipline in service to vice. See how ethics and character have fared in university and professional sports? Workplace and industry ethics seem to have followed suit. Drug and performance enhancement testing is required because lack of trust has taken hold. Thorough background checks exist because the we don’t trust each other anymore. This is a deep pathology unlikely to bring a unified republic and it is largely pride’s cancer, for which the opportunity cost is love of one’s fellows.

Protestations that “everybody’s cheating,” or “everybody’s doping” does not fix the problem any more than such an explanation justifies the erosion of character leading to the 2007 mortgage crisis and 2008 financial crisis. Attacking messengers of this truth is like a drowning person attacking a lifeguard or coastguard swimmer trying to help them.

It makes little sense to have a social net if every individual is so narcissistic that he or she thinks teamwork is for their own ascendancy or self-esteem, but not for each and every one else. Selfishness is fueled by fear of loss. Yet the major wisdom traditions of most religions, corrected for political and racial incursions on same, teach that fear of loss is a wasteful, useless state of mind.

Fear will dissolve in each of us as we willingly give up our passionate attachments to seeking blessings, and dedicate our lives to the love of our brothers and sisters no matter their appearance. How many times have I forgotten this through many, many falls to repeated delusions? For those who purpose good can also twist that motive with the lie that they must first be rich, ascendant, or powerful to do significant good. They forget that good done can have cascading, unintended effects far into the future.

Out of fear of lost face keep we must not let our errors keep us from witnessing what we can see by having fallen down enough ourselves. For when I fall, when I open my eyes, I can see under the fog to identify what made me slip. And by writing this, I am merely getting up using words as handholds, having not mastered fear, or loved as I should, but merely having become a practitioner at getting up to train at those high goals yet again. Truth: if each one of us cannot confess truth and get up again, then we cannot help message others about pile-ups around the corner. However, if we get up and do good anyway, and speak the truth, we can help the greater team live well.

Our first three obstacles to master for the good include our responses to error, entropy, and change. The answer to our own error and weaknesses is not that we must become masters of what we fear as some morph themselves to try; or that we despond in resignation; or that we get lost in an extreme ideology not fit for all that our hearts know is too rigid. Instead, we must learn to love others and master ourselves for that goal despite fear, and perhaps, extinguish fear with love’s inherent, creative grace.

From love’s grace teamwork is sustainable into infinity. This is true for every form of athleticism: work, intellect, spirit, and body. All of us seek excellence together to help us beyond the deceptive mortal futility and insanity of the mortal zoo cage. That transcendence is the truest possibility, and all innately know it. I am a believer in the authenticity of the foxhole conversion: for it is in crucibles that we cut to the chase, not in the luxurious salons of rhetorical exhaustion. In this, the edge of service-led competition in sports can be wiser than what passes for intellectual, and exponents more effectual.

Updated into 2 parts, Part 1: “You’re Not An Athlete,” Analyzing an Early, Indirect Psychological Obesity Catalyst

If we give ourselves to the team, we will serve the good of all teams.

If we give ourselves to the team, we will serve the good of all teams.IMG_6242IMG_8962 Let’s talk about that.

Are you an athlete? Let’s talk about that.

I remember school, that grouping of children by statute in which arbitrary determinations of “jock” versus “gangster” versus “freak” versus “nerd” identified people according to the Plato’s Cave rule.

Have you concluded that you are not an athlete because of this caste-filing system? I believe many people have, especially those who drop out of physical conditioning, or who struggle with believing they belong in a training life of value.

Mass society, as Alvin Toffler the futurist pointed out in his “Previews and Premises,” and “Wave” books, has been reaching its limits over several decades and is forced to change. Mass approaches to the jobs society needs done are losing efficacy to nimbler, more adaptive, and custom modes of human endeavor.

An example: Mass culture’s investors swear to us that mass agriculture is necessary to support the populations it has made possible, what I call an AB-Argument (Addiction-Bureaucracy meme). But that system is changing what food is.

Change happens slowly under the weight of Addiction-Bureaucracy in part because bureaucracy demands consultation and control in that change. However, there are powerful sea changes to speed these processes along from time to time.

In Fitness, Adaptive Training is such a movement. It can take us from the mass commercial approaches to training to an individualized path. Community lives best by temporary confederacies of good purpose, and less by growing, monolithic, robotic authority. The central power theme with high adult to teen ratios provokes the arbitrary identifications like “jock,” “nerd,” “slut,” and other caste system labels that the very teachers it employs fight a futile battle to correct. While this may have been unplanned, authority can use these limiting legends to keep control over high ratios of students to coaches / teachers, etc.

There are Prom Queens and Homecoming Kings and MVPs and scholars by ritual popularity, however, not always by merit of character. And everywhere we hear the word “pride” credited with the wins. I realize this is a commonly used term that many people use to mean love of one’s team, school spirit, and  loyalty to their success. But using the word pride to describe those things is off-kilter. That’s because the same word means a narcissistic desire to hold one of the caste system titles, whatever it takes. That is the trend we see in professional sports.

From my perspective you are an athlete if you mentally and physically condition yourself to excel in your sport, art, work, ethical, and spiritual life no matter your age. To deny any part of one’s development for the more easily developed physical talents is to set-up the highly trained body and mind for a descent into character-rot.

An adaptive training life continually responds not to the rituals that flatter athletes, but to the greater purposes that give mortality its highest meaning for each one, and for all. The rituals may be part of the mix, but they do not govern the athlete. The athlete chooses his or her areas of endeavor, and leads her or himself to excel for the sake of seasoning the community with excellence in service to a community of persons, not to an industry or institution.

To serve people is to be a leader. To serve an industry or institution without remembering “by and for the people,” is to become a materialist willing to value things, wealth, and glory over people.

This leads me to sever this piece into two parts. The next part is on the use of the word “Pride” in athletics and other human endeavors, and how that backfires even when well-intentioned.