Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Learning to fail.

I have to keep reminding myself that life is a process that is meant to be enjoyed. It's a journey that never really ends until we die. Yet rather then enjoying each accomplishment I achieve, no matter how big or small, I have a tendency to always want more.

I suppose this is good in that it drives me to want to be better, yet in the same breath it hinders me from really enjoying and appreciating what I have right now.

In the last year I have become fixated on becoming healthy; I'm going to the gym and working out with a trainer and I'm trying to learn how to eat properly. I get frustrated easily, because although eating is a fundamental part of life, I have a very minuscule grasp on how to eat in a way that is both enjoyable and healthy. Those two words never seemed synonymous before.

Lord help me, I am trying.

One of my biggest problems is that I compare myself to other people. I have this terrible tendency to turn everything into a race or competition, rather then enjoying the efforts of my hard work. I feel the need to just be better then everyone all the time. This is a recipe for disaster that usually ends up making me feel terrible about myself when the other person is better then me at something.

Competition is good when you know how to be a good loser. It's good if you can take a loss and appreciate the effort you put into it. It's good if you can use it as a way to learn how to be better.

I don't know how to do any of that. When I compete and I lose I feel like I failed. That's it.

The other day I was on the treadmill and I noticed the person next to me was running way faster, so I turned up the speed and started an invisible race. I went faster than my normal pace, the one that I have spent the last year working up to, and it threw me off because I couldn't keep up.

I lost a race the other person didn't even know we were having. I lost a race to a person who is a faster runner then me, and perhaps someone who has been running for a number of years, or just someone who is simply a better runner... I don't know. All I know is that I turned something into a competition that I wasn't able or willing to fail at and it felt shitty.

If you take failure in stride and really learn to appreciate it as a way to be better, then I guess you really didn't fail. Unfortunately, I didn't do that the other day. I guess understanding that now, in hindsight, is better late then never.

Being "healthy" is something I am never going to master. It's not something that I will wake up one day and say to myself "Well, I've achieved everything I've set out to do, so I can stop now." It doesn't work that way. There will always be things that I need to learn and master, and there will always be people who are faster, stronger, thinner and healthier then me, but one thing I know for certain is that I am already better then I was yesterday.

Time to kill it at the gym with Jordan.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ode to John Corbett

John Corbett I like you and I want you to learn,
That my Tweet to you was not meant to be a burn.
I like your pictures, I'm Livin on a Prayer,
I just wanted some context as to why they are there.

The universe is full of selfies and words,
But you, my friend, don't follow the herds. 
Keep on tweetin' the way that you do,
and please don't block me, I like following you.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

I just want to be able...

Yesterday I got my ass handed to me in my circuit training session with Jordan Cieciwa of One Fit City.

As I was rotating from 10 reps of pushups, burpees, and skate jumps, (repeat) I questioned why I was putting myself though this gruelling process. My arms turned to jelly as I put all my weight on them, like they were going to give way any second under the weight of my body. Sweat was dripping down my chin onto the floor into little drops that I focused on as a way to try not to fall on my face. I felt weak, and extremely humbled. I could barely do one pushup, let alone 10 in a row.

I hate feeling weak.

In the midst of this circuit I asked Jordan for a pen and piece of paper, he gave me a funny look but obliged, asking if a scrap piece of paper was OK. "Yes," I said. "That's fine."

Through the rest of the training session I carried the piece of paper and pen around with me, setting it down with my water bottle when I moved onto my next task. I would stop and take notes when I had a thought I wanted to remember later. My reason for this was simple; I wanted to remember how hard it was and the thoughts that were going through my head while I was trying to complete these tasks, because once I was done and the humbling feeling subsided, I knew I would go on with my day forgetting about how difficult this hour of my life really was. Beyond simply just forgetting, I knew as the day went on I would actually start to feel proud of my workout.

I didn't want to forget how hard I'd worked.

My notes. 90 per cent whiny, 10 per cent logic.
At the last stage of my workout, with an almost entirely full piece of paper of notes, I set out to do abs. My body was already beginning to ache. Why was I even doing this? I've already established a pretty good routine at my gym, doing an hour of cardio three to five times a week. I've become so good at that; running aimlessly into the thoughts brought on by the music blaring into my headphones. I already reached my "goal size," though it's nothing that I thought it would be like. (I still stand by my notion that the number on the tag of my pants has little to nothing to do with my happiness.)

And then it hit me.

I'm doing this because I want to be able. I want to be able to do pushups; I want to be able to do burpees. I want to be able to use my body and my muscles in a way that others, like Jordan are able to. I want to be able to run longer, lift more, squat lower, and jump higher.

I just want to be able.

This journey (if you will) is one that will make me better from the inside out. While weight loss and muscle mass might be a byproduct of the hard work I am doing, the whole point goes beyond bettering my appearance. I want to better myself to be healthy and able, which is why I chose Jordan to help me.

When I initially spoke to him, Jordan didn't promise to make me skinny; he said he could help me learn how to use my body and become healthier by doing it. He said he could help me learn about food and nutrition in a way that is best suited for me and my lifestyle. His beliefs seemed on par with mine in that not all people are meant to be "skinny," but we can all be healthy.

What I found telling about Jordan was his reason for being in the profession/industry that he's in. He was a sick kid who grew up to appreciate health in a way that many of us have never known. He lives a healthy lifestyle to stay healthy, not to be thin or ripped; those are just byproducts of his chosen lifestyle...

I can get behind that.

I suppose this is the next level of the lifestyle that I started last year; I love my routine, but want and expect more of myself... Kinda like graduating to the next level.

I want to be healthy. I want to be strong, and I want keep learning. And as I have already stated a number of times in this post, I just want to be able.