The picture on the left is the day I moved back to Albuquerque from Las Vegas, NV. I was weak and tired, had little spaghetti arms to boot and was also about 15 pounds lighter. 15 pounds of muscle goes a long ways towards a new outlook on life and a new attitude.
I teach a lot of stuff that appears on the surface appears to be exercise, but the only thing I’m actually trying to teach is that you, yes you, should be confident in your own abilities.
You have the tools.
I can show you how to use them.
Self-efficacy – the measure of one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.
This is a tale about self-efficacy as it pertains to exercise.
So one day about 10 years ago, Rick ordered some fitness DVD’s from an infomercial on TV. We were staying in a cheap hotel in Carlsbad, NM and the TV in our room only got one channel. It showed the same infomercial for the entire duration of our stay.
There on the screen behind the 1-800 number and the Beach Body logo was Tony Horton explaining how to completely transform your body in 90 days using his system, Power 90. Now you probably thought I was going to say P90X, right? This was before P90X.
Tony appealed to Rick more than he did to me. At that time, I had no interest in fitness but Rick was enamored with the success stories. I assumed Tony was a meat-head plus I was skinny and therefore saw no need for what I referred to as “unnecessary physical exertion”.
A couple weeks later, the dvd’s arrived and found themselves a comfy home on the shelf next to (not in) the dvd player and there they sat.
Eventually I got curious and decided to try one of the workouts. One morning, being absolutely naïve about the non-existent status of my fitness level (because I thought skinny equaled fit), I put on some shorts and sneakers and fired up Sweat Level 1-2. I didn’t eat or hydrate first (why would I need to do that?!?!) and I certainly didn’t listen to Tony while he repeatedly said “go at your own pace” and “listen to your body”. I had no idea what those things meant, I just assumed he was talking to the other (out of shape) people and I thought, “I’m gonna match Tony!”
It didn’t go very well. Less than half way through the 30 minute routine I was dizzy and lightheaded, staggered out of the room and collapsed on my bed where I spent the next half hour or so begging god to “just take me now.” I felt like crap the rest of the day. And for a lot of people, myself included, this might have been the end of the story.
I could’ve spent the remainder of the time between then and now, explaining to people how I’m just not strong enough to exercise, how I get dizzy when I exert myself too hard, how working out literally makes me sick. I could’ve created a convincing tale, which would include my stellar example of how exercise isn’t for me. I probably would’ve made you believe it too , because I certainly believed it. I would’ve wrapped the whole thing up in a tidy little bow by finishing with “…and besides, I don’t need to work out because I’m skinny and Tony Horton can suck it!” We would’ve laughed at this and patted each other on the back for being righteously sedentary.
To be honest, I don’t know why that didn’t happen.
What happened instead was exactly the opposite. Yep, I was embarrassed by my pathetic performance in the living room and, nope, I didn’t find that particular exercise experience to be enjoyable at all. What I did have was a hard core reality check. But instead of quitting, as was my plan, the next morning I awoke full of unexpected fire and determination. “I will not be defeated by an entry level fitness video!” No paraphrase, that is exactly what I said to myself.
Days and weeks and months went by. I collapsed more times. I got back up. I did the Sculpt Level 1-2 video with 3 lb weights, I tried hard to power out 3 or 4 little push ups from my knees, I had to press pause during the lunge squats. During the Sweat video, I willed (begged) my little stick legs to not break off during cross hops and during the power yoga warm up, I landed on my face during every single chaturanga. We won’t even get into the hilarity that ensued when I embarked on my first real yoga experiences with Rodney Yee.
By all accounts, I sucked at fitness. My only redeeming quality was this, I refused to be defeated and I kept coming back so Tony, Bob, Rodney, Jillian, Chalene, and Bryan could kick my butt, again.
Why am I telling you this? Because I didn’t just hatch out of some spontaneously magical fitness egg. You can’t embark on a road to fitness expecting to already be fit and you can’t use not being fit as an excuse to stay home. I’ve worked long and hard to achieve my current fitness level but I’ve not done anything that you can’t do. No journey starts from the destination and, in truth, there is no destination, only a series of ever evolving goals. You meet your goals, you set new goals. This is how life works.
Time goes by regardless if you get off the couch or not. So why not make a push to better yourself?
Did you try a workout that exposed some truths you didn’t like? That’s ok, but I won’t indulge your story of “can’t”.
PiYo is dynamic balance, strength and flexibility at it’s finest! Click here for full class schedule!
It’s been said that to carve an elephant from a block of wood, all one needs to do is cut away everything that does not look like an elephant.
It would not do to lament the corners of the block or the shavings of wood that are cut away. They are not elephant shaped after all, so why would you even want them?
To hold on to things that do not serve begs the same question: why would you even want them?
If your elephant is health, why would you hold on to junk food and smoking?
If your elephant is fitness, why would you hold on to the couch and the television?
If your elephant is perfect employment, why do you trudge off to the job that you hate only to return home and cling to the couch, watching the television while stuffing your face with junk food and doing nothing to pursue a better career?
You know what I’m talking about.
If your elephant is better relationships, why do you pursue people who are less than worthy of your attention?
If your elephant is enlightenment, why do you stay asleep?
I write these posts as letters to myself, knowing that they will resonate with some of you, because we’re all in this together.
If you want your energy to flow a certain way, the only solution is to turn and face that direction, and that means being willing to let go of what does not serve you. Find clarity, name your goals, and go confidently where the path leads. The safe and the familiar may get broken or left behind along the way but I promise you this; you didn’t actually need any of it. When you find the courage to get up and run towards what you really want and what is right for yourself, take a look around, there will be others running with you.
I think one of the biggest challenges of the human condition is to harness and focus all the intellectual energy that is inherent to our nature into something productive. It’s like we’ve all been given a rocket ship with no explanation or instruction manual. Some will figure it out and make trips across the universe but the vast majority will mistake it for a toaster oven. They’ll sit around reheating leftovers and wondering why they can’t get it together to change their lives.
To this end, where and how we spend our time and energy is supremely critical. Consider that your time, your thoughts, and your energy are all fuel and the goal is to power the ship. Every time our attention wanders, every time we allow ourselves to get caught up in pointless dramas or spend time fretting over something we have no control over, we lose steam. Energy leaks out all over the place, slowing us down, dragging us down. I actually think of it as a subconscious procrastination technique because the more we allow distractions to occupy our time, the less time we have to get down to business.
There’s a conversation that I have with myself all too often. I say all too often because apparently I am something of a slow study. It goes like this: Q.”Who is the rightful benefactor of all this unlimited potential that I possess?” A. I am. Q. “so why don’t you act like it?” A. ummmmm
That’s right. You are the most important person on team you. You cannot give to another what you do not possess within yourself. You cannot fix within another something that is broken within yourself. Look around and see where all that energy is going. What is your human potential doing and is it befitting the being that you are? Is it?
What if you plugged up all those leaks where energy is spewing out in copious amounts but delivering nothing in return? What if you reigned all that in and used it for only one thing; to improve the world for yourself and thereby for the people around you? What if you did that? Answer: buckle up, cuz this shit is about to get real.
Let me just remind you that this river of your life, this undertow that keeps you in place and playing by the rules while the seasons change and your face grows old with worry is all a construct of your own making. There is no point to argue this because it has to be, but it’s so easy to forget. One could say that the sun is always shining regardless of how we interpret the weather and the sun is not concerned about this but is waiting patiently to see if we notice. It has to be so because otherwise nothing would happen at all.
There is no Intelligence that has any interest in keeping us confused or in keeping us any way whatsoever. We’ve been given a play book and there it sits, on the coffee table collecting dust, while we fret and wonder why things are the way they are and continue to try harder at playing by the wrong rules.
That’s ok, you can do anything you want and, actually, that’s the point. Similar to the differences between “western” and what most people refer to as “alternative” medicine, one can invest great amounts of energy in treating symptoms or in eliminating causes. Same energy invested but with vastly different results. Act or react, I think you know the difference.
Why doesn’t everyone do the same thing, have the same experience, or even seem to live on the same plane as one another? Because they don’t, in fact, live on the same plane but the only difference from one to the next is an understanding and practical application of the levels and rules of the game. Yeah, that’s right, game. Life’s not a mystery, it’s a very sophisticated game and it will run us like pawns until we remember that it is our game. Notice I use the word, “remember”, because life was never anything else, but again, so easy to forget, so easy to be too afraid to play, so easy to stay caught in the undertow of our own design.
I’m talking to myself as much as anyone. If you can’t figure out where all these obstacles keep coming from, take it up with the boss, look in the mirror. If moving forward frightens you, that fear will throw up every kind of roadblock your infinitely colorful mind can come up with to reinforce the validity of your misconception.
An architect, a real architect, has no need for fear because they understand the rules, or the “rule”, as it were.
Everyday, you create your life.