New Direction

Sometimes I really drop the ball.

This summer has been a case in point.

I got so consumed with one aspect of my goal set that I lost perspective and began to deviate from the overall master plan.

When I started training, at the ripe age of 35, I had one goal in mind — longevity. I wanted to be the old man in the gym. I wanted to still be vital and active well past the point where most of us will have forsaken such strenuous activities as say — walking or better yet, going to the bathroom solo.

The purpose of the gym then was to keep me in shape for life. It was to give me the tools I would need to do all the things I wanted to do and at first I did a fair job of that. Over time, however, I began to drift from my path.

This summer I became consumed with a few specific athletic goals and shoring up what I felt was a glaring deficiency. It got to the point that my gym time was the most strenuous thing I did. Period. Mainly because all my other time was spent recovering from what I did in the gym.

I’d get home around 7pm exhausted from my day, able to eat supper and just sort of lay there in the presence of my family, more a passive participant to our goings on than anything else. Small hurdles, like the goats getting past the fence into our yard and eating the better part of my garden was enough to make me give up on the whole project entirely.

I lost my perspective.

I’ve talked before about the gym being a dojo, a place to prepare for the outside world, but I had made the gym my world and I had no energy left for the real thing. Now if you’re a competitive athlete that may be entirely appropriate. You balance seasonal commitment with the off season. But I’m not. The event I prepare for is my life, and all I was doing was preparing and not so much living. See the difference?

The worst part is that as I go, so does my gym. Which means the culture and climate of Agoge Fitness Systems was taking this same myopic direction.

What changed?

My good friend Chip Conrad sent me a gift. Last week I received the DVD of a workshop that he had presented with Dan John. This was a huge gift. For those in the know Dan John is a really big deal, a trainer’s trainer if you will and a substantial influence in the better parts of our industry. You all know I’m a big fan of Chip’s as well so having both of these guys present together was huge.

I watched Chip’s presentation first.

Of course I did, he’s my buddy and I wanted to see how he came off. He was pitch perfect as always. Most of his lecture I was familiar with having seen him present several times, but I was very pleased to see him get this level of exposure.

Dan I didn’t know so well. I’d read some of his blog and seen some of his work but really hadn’t taken the time to get too deep into him. Well, that’s changed.

By then end of his lecture I’d ordered his last three books and I currently reading two of them simultaneously.

The funny thing is that in the big picture not much will change. I’ll continue to pursue the Olympic lifts, I’ll continue to build strength with a largely powerlifitng approach and I’ll continue to pursue mobility and GPP.

The difference will be the way in which I pursue these aims. I’ll stop taking 12 or 15 sets to reach a max effort and I’ll back off on trying to max every time I lift. I’ll focus more on the quality of my movements and I’ll really focus on my weaknesses as I try to bring all aspects of my strength into a more harmonious balance.

I’ll remember that I’m 41 and only started lifting seven or eight years ago and quit comparing myself to lifters my age who started lifting as teenagers and then never stopped. In fact I’ll stop comparing myself to anyone other than myself and I’ll remember how to listen to me.

If this interests you, consider picking up Chip and Dan’s DVD, better yet, find one of these guys at a live workshop. It just so happens, Chip’s going to be in Indianapolis, September 21 and 22nd for Mental Meat Heads 2.

Nothing beats live learning.

To our perfect imperfection,

Dave

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