List the Factors

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1. Make a list of the factors that interrupt your physical training life, your positive mental attitude, and your breathing, i.e. what makes you hold your breath?

2. Make a list of adaptive responses that achieve a quantum of training time, movements, or objectives; halt the factors damaging attitude; and reset your continuous breathing.

3. Consider your list of adaptive responses as athletic training objectives, that is, trainable behaviors.

Implement and practice as needed or desired.

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38 Special Fix for the Loop Flop: Compelled to Obsess, Obsessed to Compel

Forbes entrepreneur blogger Eric Schiffer writes about breaking free of obsessions to reach goals, here.

Obsessing focuses not on what you are doing or even what you want, but on ill-timed imperatives. To set a summit goal then obsess on each stepping stone will tire out the best of ascendants, leaving them on the mountain in the dark, taking forever.

Focus and obsession aren’t the same thing. Focus sees something as it really is in its context. Obsession loses track of what something actually is in favor of processing it, and fears that if it isn’t done now, the sky will fall. Too much tension blows energy, forgets priorities, and trends in error.

A good way to memorize this principle is by singing to yourself the following 38 Special song, or at least the lyrics:

Fitness that adapts stays with you.

Best,

Mike

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.

Embrace your least favorite element of training

the open sky

the open sky

If you delve into your least favored training areas, be it endurance, primary muscle strength, core strength, or application in sports, arts, or work, you will be raising the level of your foundational condition.

Let tedium become self-training in the gift of focus.

Let hardship be your elevator.

Let slowness be your path to thoroughness in preparation, and prevention.

Cheers!

spirit

spirit: a breakthrough word inspired by a post at Triathlon Obsession encouraging selection of a word to focus on for the New Year...

spirit: a breakthrough word inspired by a post at Triathlon Obsession encouraging selection of a word to focus on for the New Year…

spirit

The depthless, fathomless, soaringly timeless, state of being arising when a person digs deep enough to leave body and mind behind and achieve what those two weaker vessels could not on their own.

An example, the night raid at Riva Ridge by the 10th Mountain Division in 1945, and digging deeper the next day against stiff resistance to take Mt. Belvedere:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14594652

This is relative to mental and physical conditioning, for the person with lesser conditioning, if their body then mind gives way earlier than those more advanced in body and mind training, the spirit kicks in sooner. And for the advanced athlete, warrior, whatever…later, perhaps.

Will we ever come to the point where we run, perform, act, compete, work, and achieve from this state of being from the beginning of the effort, mind and body moved efficiently from this zone in our being? That would be a breakthrough. What endurance, strength, and other qualities would be possible then? Where are the limits? I guess we really don’t know yet, and that is an exciting frontier that those of us in a boundary set world can escape to every day.

Meaning of: “Let Go”

oh say can you see?

The mind and body become attached to many things, some of which are not good to be attached to.

The spirit, however, has the power to withdraw energy and desire from these attachments, and order the body and mind to be still.

The spirit can withdraw power and consent from the grasping mind and body. You thereby, “let go.”

The spirit also has the impelling power to strike out with decision. It can brace our minds and bodies to follow a wise path.

The spirit has the innate power to await the whole truth, to suspend judgment, to gather information, and to withdraw energy from fearful reactions to anyone, everyone, and everything.

The spirit has the power to be clear and precise.

This Day, This Moment, The Right Thing Will be Done

when you spend a lot of unexpected time at a rehab place visiting for the holidays, you find beauty where you can

when you spend a lot of unexpected time at a rehab place visiting for the holidays, you find beauty where you can

Cycles surround us. Yet sometimes chaos forces us into fast waters, whipping us about like a leaf in a flash flood…

As when a close family member is hit by a car in a parking lot while walking into the grocery store. In a moment of chaos, of disordered mental and physical operations, a driver strikes down the man who raised you. And that man makes it, but his many decades mean he faces a big recovery challenge from that broken hip. And as his adult son or daughter, all of your plans change. Your duties call, honor calls, love grounds you. You turn to the task of caregiving, arranging, and spending some mind-body numbing hours on hard surfaces attending, watching, listening, and learning what is needed to prepare, transfer, and make in-home care a reality so this VIP of yours can get some sleep, recover faster, and be among loved ones. Here the stress adaptivity of your training is tested.

So it is with all of us. Our training lives morph into something completely different during this time. They move from a training life to a doing-life, as the physical things we do in caregiving become the top priority. This is not likely what we trained for in previous days, however, with a well-rounded training approach in more orderly times, the fringe benefits feed these unexpected efforts we face.

We work in sustaining intervals of what-exercise-we-can-get to sustain our ongoing effort: as when a simple swiss ball can help us redistribute life-giving blood, energy, electric signals, and physical force through out muscles, connections, and body in a small fitness room on the road to retrain ourselves from the sitting, leaning, and waiting of institutional buildings and unnatural light.

These can be the times that training comes to the front and stands by us when the chips are down. There is going to be a price for taking on duty. There usually is. That is the way the world works. Yet by decisively embracing it we may seize the purpose of our training lives on a different level of motivation and performance, where one real event and experience is not a training drill, but itself an opportunity to set new precedents and become open to new dimensions in our future goals.

Observing Cloud for Training Wisdom

1. Clouds change shape but keep moving, albeit sometimes very slowly. We can too. It is one of the qualities of adaptive training among crazy-busy pressures that would stress us into inactivity.

2. Clouds transport water, a resource to the lives of others. Training our bodies and minds builds physical courage that can support other acts of generous, giving courage.

3. An otherwise bright white cloud can have very dark, very water-dense little clouds nearby (see the banner). Suppose you are in one of those small, dark, water dense clouds. You’re likely to see all grey, all gloom, and feel all wet. Yes, until a beautiful, white sunlit cloud expands and engulfs you and you find that many of your problems were perceived right there within your own tiny individual cloud. You also realized how much water you have to give among others.

4. Clouds get out in the other elements, indeed, bring them together within themselves, contribute to them. So do we when we train, exercise, work, compete, and apply our physical training to something worthwhile.

5. Clouds make their own view by starting out light, rising, gathering, then supplying. A thunderstorm or snow storm is quite an exciting gathering, maybe even a competition, with lightening clashes, the refreshing ozone, and every gathered cloud a part in that great event. Gatherings of clouds bring out the best in each.

6. Clouds have training partners that truly inspire them with their energy, warmth, and mastery at conducting the weather as if it were a symphony orchestra: Mr. Sun and his band the Stars.

7. What shape will your training take today?

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Updated and Revised but Not Perfected: Is Perfection Really the Enemy of the Good? Why Yes, Yes it is.

Snowflakes prove there is no perfect snowflake...

Is there a perfect snowflake?

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Or flower?

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IMG_1004Or is there a perfect child, or grandparent, or wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, or friend?

There are so many good, for the good makes room for a small, small world of countless differences.

Perfection, philosophers assure us, is the enemy of the good. Yet it is good to excel. What do we excel toward? Perfection. Then how is perfection the enemy of the good again?

Because while we excel toward perfection, perfection is not the goal. Perfection is a divine gift, an ideal that British radar pioneer Robert Watson-Watt said, “never comes.” I believe he should have said, “..in this life,” but that’s quibbling with his context. Also, there is an exception to every rule, and perhaps an exception to that rule too.

Perfection evades our grasp as entropy dogs us, the unexpected delays us, or survival challenges tax us. Yes, attachment to this world seems to anchor us down, unable to fly up to havens of perfection.

All the dreams of perfection we want, such as immortality, eternal love, and inalienable acceptance are retirement benefits that vest only after our own personal work as the farmers of our souls and as helpers of our fellow farmers, is done. And the work is only done when we die, true? At the end of this life, everything takes extra work. Just ask those living into the golden years. Earthly retirement is not real retirement, for the work goes on!

Living and dying while struggling to excel in goodness-for-goodness-sake is the work of our lives that we can and must excel at. Genuineness in this quest can’t be faked, and comes with letting go of desiring and grasping, yet receiving all blessings thankfully with hands that multiply and distribute them to others. Some call this renunciation of self, yet it is more. It is giving of self, enlarging one’s heart by letting go, and expanding in spiritual freedom and vitality by giving.

Death is retirement from this noble work in this life. Afterward, retirement benefits kick in, that is, the Divine Gift (some believe by other agencies) of immortality goes to those who farmed within their hearts the seeds of goodness. There is more wisdom in our entropic bodies than meets the eye, as they fertilize with humility the spiritual seeds for resurrection and eternal life awaiting the Sunrise. Eventually, the Harvester of growing crops comes and transplants them where all are nourished without eating, and there is no entropy or waste. People of love rise again and the Spirit says, “It’s all good.”

So let go of grasping for receiving, and grasp your partner to dance, or grab a hand and pull someone up who is down, or grab a rock and pull yourself up for a better view by which to navigate for a greater purpose and destination than temporary self satisfaction. We handle the good to give, not to keep, but to share and distribute once it has taught us what we are to learn on the day. We excel each time we do this. We plant new seeds and make our fields more fertile with humility each time we do this.

And how will we know when we are prepared enough? When we’re done. When our spirits have left our broken bodies. How does that all work? I believe we’ll find out. Until then, let’s help and inspire each other. Let’s imbue each other with value, making value, multiplying value, and giving the value of love and all of its goods to one another, and do so for our entire lives.

Thanksgiving

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There is giving thanks and there is thankfulness as a path to giving.

Thanks follows receiving, and receiving teaches giving.

Giving and receiving, receiving and giving, creates a life flow of relationship to others.

Flow of life washes away impossibility thinking, connecting possibilities to and among our moving selves.

That is a snapshot of the training life, a life flow discipline helping us anchor our energy for giving and receiving, recovering and thanking, loving and working for others’ well being.

When a wall daunts us, adapting, we find a way. Believe there is a way and go, and a way will emerge in the wilderness.

Holiday breaks bring windfalls of time to establish new disciplines to develop and nurture in smaller increments in busier working times. Use the windfalls, and feast on new disciplines for your wellness and new capabilities.

 

personal genesis

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There is a place deep inside you can go, and through a window is a book, the book of life. There you will see the truth about you and why you are here. When all seems lost, when all appears hopeless and confused, go there to your personal desiderata without words and be renewed. There is no time or entropy there, and no corruption. The center of choice, of freedom is there. Energy beyond all energies, is there. Not destructive, but the Genesis. When the seed coat falls as a gift returned, there the ever future becomes present.

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In the lyrics of this piece, I see translated in a few words what the above says.

Today’s Background and Banner Change in Honor of the Mountain Dimension & the Adaptive Vision of the Fort Carson Army Wellness Center

Whether earthen or architectural the Mountain dimension awaits your training life to let it in.

Inclines are everywhere to be found, and in death valley is there not a heat mountain to scale as some try their constitution and thermostat in that crucible of temperatures?

Mountains too, are icons of your goals. Each has a higher purpose than its own summit. Have a look at this pilgrim’s training incline called the Manitou Incline highlighted in Military Times:

From the website of the Army Wellness Center-Fort Carson at Forrest Resiliency Center:

We assist in the facilitation of healthy lifestyle programs for all ARMY component Soldiers and their families, retirees, and civilians. The clientele spans all ages from young adult to retirees.  The way ahead involves working directly with units at unit locations as well as with individuals and group classes at the Wellness Center.  Expansion of services includes sports medicine care, which will focus attention to readiness and rehabilitation.

‘Farm Your Training Day’ Book Signing Event Downtown Denver at Federal Executive Institute Alumni Gathering

Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association

The Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association (FEIAA) consists of graduates of professional education programs of the Federal Executive Institute, serving federal government executives building on their talents, skills, and abilities for public service. It’s area alumni are gathering in Denver for a reunion and refresher tomorrow.

As part of those FEIAA proceedings I’ve been privileged to facilitate a conversation about my book Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness. I will also sign-off on copies of the book for those in attendance who add it to their training libraries. I am looking forward to learning more about the adaptive training needs of these busy professionals.

I have Michael Anderson to thank for the privilege of meeting with his fellow alumni, and hope that everyone in attendance will come away with something permanent on which to build and improve as leaders of their own training lives.

After the event I’d like to post what I learned from a discussion of adaptive training with a group of dedicated professionals whose lives are quite busy. Public service can be an intense challenge, and work-life balance will figure into our conversation. More soon!

To My CrossFit Friends: Try Adaptive Training for the Long Haul

Adaptive training is sustainable, body-wise, and freer compared to many manifestations of CrossFit. CrossFit has gems to offer, but I believe they were borrowed gems. Those gems were adopted from elsewhere and combined in a “Box,” or a “crucible.” The toughest gems came from elite forces training, that is, combat training. Do or die training. Still, part of military training, even elite military training, is readiness. And readiness involves recovery, and non-injury. If you’re injured, you’re not ready. If you don’t recover properly, injury risk spikes.

For some that may have temporary appeal, especially to younger people. Yet younger people lack experience, and seldom see conflicts of interest in business models that target them. Young people often appear non-conformist…all at the same time in the same way. It is a vulnerable time. And some people are lonely. Lonely as hell. The comradeship they lack they may seek in an intense, physical, shared experience. For that reason, they are less likely to see those conflicts of interest lurking.

Let’s think outside the Box a bit. What is a healthy versus unhealthy gift of individual power to a culture or authority for mind-body training? Some CrossFit groups may dial-in a healthy balance in their approach, especially after recent controversy. On the other hand, there are the other reports:

Getting Fit Even If It Kills You

CrossFit’s Dirty Little Secret

Idea Fit Discussion

Navy Times

How CrossFit Forges Elite Failure

And you can Google the rest of the negatives, of which there are many.

On the other hand, you will also find the positives and Google them too. Any CrossFit member or gym owner will be more than happy to tell you the positives. Yet others will say if you aren’t committed, they don’t want you. And I’d say you should be ready to respond with a laugh at that manipulation game. Just remember, not every useful wonder of chemistry is good to mix at the same time. You can get hurt or die from the ensuing explosion or gaseous poisoning. True it is also of training. Excesses are not consistent with durable endurance or sustainable fitness, and therefore excesses in training are not always consistent with readiness.

Military, sport, art, and work readiness is about fitness and conditioning, but training isn’t about getting injured, it is about proofing against it when the real thing trained for is going on. Studies in stress inoculation make it just as much about mindset, adaptive sleeping, recovery, and rewiring after traumatic experiences. The stresses are measured and periodized by time of exposure and response during training. Check out this summary of researched-supported points in the work of Lt. Col. David Grossman, specifically:

Section three describes the mental attitude necessary to be a warrior. The book goes into greater detail about stress inoculation and its importance to effective, realistic training. There are also some important training principles outlined.

Principle 1: Never “Kill” a Warrior in Training. Learners are expected to complete a scenario even if hit, stabbed or shot. As a trainer, tell them, “You’re not dead until I tell you you’re dead!” Don’t give up, always win.

Principle 2: Try to Never Send a Loser off Your Training Site. Have your participants go through a scenario as many times as necessary in order to have them succeed. Scenarios designed to make the trainee look foolish or fail just prove that the training designers are jerks.

Principle 3: As a Trainer, Never Talk Trash about Your Students. Don’t ridicule or try to tell funny stories about the last trainee who tried to complete your scenario. Your role as a trainer/leader is not only to pass along knowledge but also to inspire. You cannot do this when you are not respected. If criticism is to be given, give it in private. If praise is warranted, do so publicly.

I’m sure this could include: don’t give Rhapdo to your trainees. Don’t injure your troops in training so they are disabled for the real fight.

But are you training for combat? It is as much about mindset, and handling what your body does. Listen:

LTC David Grossman interview.

So to some extent CrossFit, run by those who are trained coaches, can achieve some of these training goals. Yet not everyone is training to be a warrior any more than every tool in a toolbox is a hammer. However, even military training leaves boot camp behind and graduates into a more sophisticated, measured, and periodized experience over time. It mixes individual control with leadership. Most individual civilians who are training for combat don’t have the rest of the training. They are not warriors per-se, but want to be ready for what this society teaches them to fear — which is about everything. Which begs the question: should training be motivated by fear? Or should training be inspired by the commitment to master fear?

For now, let’s discuss.

Your Adaptive Training Life is a Genesis

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Each moment is yours to begin moving.

Moving can turn into so much, usually positive. Try it unplanned. Where does it lead you? Do you end up putting on shorts, gear, training apparel, or loose, functional clothes for a physical interval in your day?

Don’t think about it, just start moving. When you’re done, you will have discovered what your training interval was to be.

Journal about it and be grateful for the gift of movement, health enough to exercise, and the ability to breathe.

Suppose you are pinned down with obligations and training feels impossible.

Begin with taking every tense thought, tensing muscle, tense feeling, ill-reaction, curse, fear, anxiety, and angry thought and placing it squarely between the rocky abdominal muscles within you and and crush them all to dust. You can do this while you prepare for your day. In the middle of your day. As you drive to work. As you fix a meal.

Melt the dust down with the fire burning in your belly as you tense your core muscles, draw them in, adjust them, and condition them while destroying your negatives there.

Boost your posture, breathe soundly in and out, and let that fire in your belly muscles be a kiln into which the impurities of your mind and body are tossed, burned, purged, and utterly destroyed.

What do you replace them with? Silence, the prayer of listening. As long as possible. The sound of settling peace, unifying and calm. Before long, understanding or wisdom you need may dawn in the clarity and focus of your calm.

Peace with strength, you have trained adaptively.

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.

Inspiration for Sunday

Take the windfall today and make peaceful silence, quiet words of calm, and simple warmth for those you are with.

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M7 Missive: Envy is not a regenerative green for athleticism

Credit: Matrix Wiki website.

We all know envy, a vice, has become a lucrative marketing emotion, including within the fitness industry. Certainly this is not so in all venues, under all coaches, or with all players. Yet where it is, it corrodes.

Envy is tied to what another has, or is perceived to have, and is moved by their possession of it. Usually, the outcome of someone’s hard work is coveted, not the work itself. In this emotion the seeds of hating the actual sport, art, work, or conditioning mode are planted.

When the training life becomes a mere means to a visual end, the end of it is planted in its beginning — there is an expiration date on that inspiration.

Also, to envy someone else’s fitness is to tie ourselves to someone else’s performance, not lead ourselves by our own performance to ever excelling levels of capability and potential. Envy makes something old from the beginning, and so limits excellence.

To praise the beauty or performance of another and desire a like-experience to theirs is different. This is not tied to the person, but to the person’s example, the process, the sport, the training path, and focuses on their work ethic and character. It lauds them in a dignified way without attaching to them in a co-dependent twist. This is not envy exactly, but it is admiration of the character of another to the point of applying its principle to ourselves. It is recognition of something greater than both on which all may climb. It is participatory, and therefore, team building, community building, social, and fun.

Worse than envy is a kind of pride that begins with envy then morphs into the denigration of what another has with the implication that our experience must be better, will be better, and is already better than the other. Again, this is not about being the best we can become, but about bettering another. Here the sky is exchanged for exultation over someone else’s fall to earth. Such a morbid thought process misses the finest traditions of sports.

Where envy has infected sports, fitness, and physical arts, we can all do better if we extinguish it with grace. We must do better as a nation of competitors and lovers of sports.

Short on Time Blocs: 2-Run or not 2-Run? Do a Double Day

You awaken with enough time one morning to run a short run but want to run longer. Your calendar balks.

Should you run 2-runs today? One early, and one later to experience that longer endurance experience, and add some mileage to your body’s training base?

If you are cleared to run for fitness and sport, why not, so long as you are not over-training in the larger context of your training days.

This piece at Runner’s World goes into some detail about the benefits of “doubling.” And Jeff Galloway chimes in here.

And this is not only true for running. Other training modes may be mixed, matched, and doubled. Again, don’t over-train, but do adapt and excel. The experience boosts training and performance confidence, in part because few people make room to train twice in a day, or few seize the intervals as discussed in the ‘Interval Farming’ chapter in Farm Your Training Day.

Write in, comment, or, write a guest piece for my blog about how you leverage a “daily double” into your training life from time to time. Thanks for dropping in!

 

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Early

and

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Later on…

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.