Life Collisions: Blessing in Disguise?

Life often finds a way to collide with our plans and achievements or so it certainly seems. Just the other week, someone thought it would be a good idea to to plow their car into ours when we were stopped at a red light, literally a collision. I still have all my bones and limbs as far as I know, but due to the pain and adjustments mainly in my back, neck, and legs, my doctor advised me to stay away from heavy training and maybe just stick with cardio if I really felt the need to train. He explained that my body is now working out by itself to fix the damage from the accident. Doctor’s orders…. Doctor knows best…. Who am I to argue?

The trouble is I always find it difficult to stay away from training, especially this time as I was just getting back to my full fitness and strength peaks after returning from a three week holiday (during which I did train, but not as often or intense). But truly, this is what I train for. I train for times when I can’t always do what I would like to do i.e. train. The challenge set forth then was to see if I could actually stay away from it.

The first week, I stuck to interval days of cardio (specifically biking which is what the doctor recommended) and days off. The second week became a little more difficult, so, rebelliously, I started a little light training on some of the days. By light training, I mean using light weight but more repetitions and calisthenics, so it was more like cardio. With this method, I still wouldn’t push for the last few reps which usually count the most, so as not to aggravate the injuries, another challenge. The best part of all this though was that I managed to work on my form. I got back to the light weight basics and just really working on form. This week, I feel ready to heighten the load again and try get closer to my usual training method and previous fitness levels, but now with better form.

Every so often, I try do a form check by spending a few days training lighter, but its been a while. Due to this car accident, I was forced into one. Maybe a blessing in disguise? Who knows….

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Throw Back Thursday; The Journey Continues

At last! I’ve finally found an old picture to put the “before & after” I promised together. Here it is:

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It’s been a long journey full of ups, downs, struggles, extremes, sadness, happiness, achievements, failures, mistakes, learning, and fun. I first started simply to challenge myself, believing in myself that I could accomplish my goals, and prove my strength of character to myself. My original goal was to loose weight (obviously) which brought about many different states of mind. The struggle to accomplish the desired results were often immense, leading sometimes to undesired extremes. In the beginning, I got so caught up with results that I felt like resorting to unhealthy measures to achieve the results. Thankfully, I didn’t pursue these measures, and I still haven’t achieved some of the results I set of to achieve. But I’m okay with it!

I’m okay with it because I learned so much more. Throughout the journey, hard work, struggles, and many hours of research, I stumbled upon a mindset. A mindset that has allowed me to live it and love it, learn life lessons and life applications. A mindset that I have been mastering myself to unbelievable effect and trying to convey on this blog.

For this picture, I would prefer to call it a “me before me” as there has been no after and my journey continues and will continue for the foreseeable future.

I post this picture not to showcase my achievement (although satisfying), but to make a point of how much I have learned along the way about myself, life, and the world. Fitness is not simply about results. Results based fitness can possibly lead one to bad extremes as I myself discovered. I have learned that fitness is about life, mindset, personal control, pushing myself to new limits I never dreamed possible. I have yet to come across another life aspect that I can push myself as hard as I do with fitness. It’s then about applying what has been reached and the lessons learned in fitness to other aspects in life. It’s a journey well worth it in which every moment matters and it is essential to enjoy each and every moment of it.

Apply this lesson to life, and understand that you have the power to achieve anything you want to achieve that is within your control. It is a journey of moments in which mindset and perspective are essential to reach optimum power and results. Focus on the journey and the moment, the results and accomplishments that you will achieve…. You will be surprised.

To end with one last note (I promise, last one): I want to thank those who have supported me in whatever way (even those who simply did not recognize me at first when seeing me after a few years even though we grew up together, slightly offensive but definitely satisfying) along this journey so far and an advance appreciation for the continued support (I hope) as my journey continues.

That’s all for now,

Cheers!

A Fierce Reminder

This week so far has been a consistent reminder. Sunday, I spent several hours at a memorial service for the dean of the college I attended, who tragically died recently from an illness that although in its late stages, never seemed present. She was a middle aged woman who achieved a lot in her life and constantly motivated and helped her students to achieve. Sitting there listening to people reminisce and tell stories about her got me thinking about life and the importance of enjoying it, each moment and the journey.

On Saturday, Greg Plitt (a big fitness character, who’s name, face, motivation, workouts, and body showed up on so much of the fitness research I have done) died. Tragically, it was an external force in this case that caused his death. Again, a reminder of the fragility of life.

Fitness isn’t everything, and as we see, there are other forces out of our control. However, personally, fitness is a mode of control with which I can control and challenge my mind and body to an extent that cannot be achieved in other aspects of life. It is a journey. A journey that has taught me the importance of and how to enjoy the moments. How to live it and love it. Sadly, it is the tragedy of others that is most often the reminder. But when we tune into these reminders, we remember their memories. And in respect of those who have passed, we can only hope to make the most of life, love it and achieve, and follow the good that they have taught and brought into this world.

RIP Dr. Lowy
RIP Greg Plitt

What? I Had a Perfectly Good Reason!!!

It’s very easy to come up with a reason not to go to the gym, stick to a diet or stick to a health and fitness routine. Consider this the next time you you think have a justifiable reason though: is it really a good reason or is it just a good excuse?

I had a terrible, draining day. I have no energy to workout. I think I’ll pass out after ten minutes on the treadmill. It’s just one slice of pizza…..etc…etc…etc.. The list goes on and on. It really is a never ending list. I can list so many of these that I have personally used in the past and still consider before deciding whether or not to stick to my health and fitness blueprint at any given time including decisions concerning going to the gym or eating something unhealthy. ┬áSometimes, I even challenge myself to come up with a better more justifiable reason than the last one.

Some of the questions I ask myself when faced with these decisions are: Is my reason really justifiable or is it just an excuse? Am I just trying to make myself feel better? Is it worth it? Will the gym really be that bad? Will I honestly not be able to complete my workout? Should I at least try? How will it affect my short-term and long-term health and fitness goals? Yes, it may feel right and justified to me now in the moment, but how will I feel about it later or tomorrow?

I may be a bit crazy and over the top with my decisions such as deciding to go to the gym to complete an intense routine with a migraine or maybe not. Maybe many others make the same decision under such circumstances. Maybe intense exercising with a migraine isn’t the best idea or is a line I should be careful when crossing. All I know is that when I made my decision, I asked myself theses questions and found that in all honestly, whatever the circumstance was, I could at least try and that every time I overcame the excuses it made the next time easier.

Struggle to Satisfaction

Starting and sticking to a healthy and fit life, healthy eating habits, healthy diet, fitness routine, workout plan etc… is often a struggle. It’s foolish and can be detrimental to believe that such changes in our lives and lifestyle will be 1 2 3 easy. Especially in the beginning, it’s a struggle. However, as time goes on, it gets easier without a doubt. There will be days in which every piece of cake, ice cream, fried chicken, chocolate etc… will imploringly look at us begging to be eaten, but the more focused we remain, the stronger we are. As we get stronger, the more satisfied we become with our achievements. Slowly, the focus shifts from struggle to satisfaction. The more we focus on our achievements and satisfaction therein, the less of a struggle it becomes, and then we get even stronger. Be warned, however, the struggle will be back especially on bad days. Keep in mind the satisfaction. Shift the focus from struggle to satisfaction. Instead of seeing the struggle ahead, focus on the achievements and their respective satisfaction. The more satisfied we are, the more we believe, and the more we are willing to continue. The shift will happen….but keep it in mind. Satisfaction is a strong opponent to struggle.

The Circle of Vhlf

What is Vhlf?

In short, Vhlf stands for virtual health, life and fitness. On my journey to losing weight, I found that when health and fitness is involved, there is a third element that plays a big role in attaining and achieving such goals. To begin with, losing weight isn’t easy. One must develop a strong attitude and desire towards health and fitness. There are sacrifices that we have to make within our daily lives…sacrifices such as not eating our favorite cake or ice cream as much as we want to or missing an hour or a night of socializing in order to go to the gym. These sacrifices are hard to begin with, but get easier as time goes on because first of all we develop an attitude towards our goals that we are trying to achieve, and secondly we educate ourselves and understand why we aren’t eating the ice cream. As time goes on, we realize how we don’t really need the ice cream and we understand why it’s not good to eat too much of it. Instead of ignoring the ice cream, we consciously decide not to eat it. It becomes part of our life and understanding that these foods are not good for us and our goals.

So now, we’ve made some heavy changes in our life our attitude. We often need motivation and inspiration to keep going. It is our life and psychology that motivates us. Our schedule is often built around the gym and meals. Again, our attitude and motivation keeps us going. Life keeps us going… It is important to understand what we are thinking on this difficult journey. But it gets easier and easier.

As it gets easier and we get closer to achieving our goals, the changes we made in our lives have now changed our lives. We look different. Things that we didn’t realize we could do, such as jumping barriers running fast, have now become part of reality. We start doing them and love every minute of it. Our lives have changed.

Hence HLF – Health, Life and Fitness….this is the gist of the Vhlf concept.