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Reflections On 2015

Thanks for taking a moment to read my blog. Last year was a very successful year for me and I am extremely grateful to the people who helped me clear a path. It was rewarding but it was anything but easy.

I started my year with some specific intentions regarding training, nutrition and reading but got side tracked by a number of obstacles. There’s nothing quiet like setting outrageous goals to start the year and then watching life rear it’s responsible head 😉

Basically the year was off to a bad start. I’d not planned my training cycles properly, business was slow for the first quarter and I had to contend with the usual petty frustrations of writing, reading, training and rendering a high quality service to so many people.

It’s no coincidence then that one of my biggest challenges in life is staying focused. I have a very ADD personality and right now I am writing this while performing my mobility drills because sitting for longer than 5 minutes feels like agony. The older I get the more realize that it’s the attention and refinement of our day to day thinking that really stumps most of our efforts to change.

Olga Mare Moller
Character Drives Repeated Effort #inspiration

I’m not just speaking about changing body composition or the achievement of a personal athletic goal. I’m really talking about missing the wood from the trees. I’m talking about breaking personal habits due to distraction, lethargy and procrastination.

A real challenge in my day to day life is the cultivation of energy required to be introspective. This helps to improve my ability to plan and implement the productivity required to successfully operate my business.

While we know that more distraction creates even greater amounts of abstraction (a complex way of saying we cannot adhere to our pre-determined goals). I know personally that if I do not cultivate enough introspection, planning and gratitude my ability to perform diminishes exponentially.

Let’s Take a Look:

In 2015 I set myself the following goals. Read 52 Books, Flat DB Press 60Kg Dumbells, a Double Bodyweight Pull-up and an ATG Front Squat with 140Kg.

I also set myself the goal of creating more awesome content for my blog.

These were some lofty goals considering that I am essentially the most ADD person I know. I prefer to thrive in environments where sheer will and stress can help achieve the goal rather than pure planning. I find ‘planning’ paralyzing but alas, failing to plan is planning to fail…

This year I only managed to revert from this former approach in July when more resources were available and business had slowed down for the year. I had completed over 1000 hours of PT by the end of the year and frankly I had no choice, planning was the only thing allowing me to wake at 3:30AM each day for my first client at 5AM.

It’s gruelling, tough and when I looked at the strength development of each one of my clients I realized once again, habits make the man. Irrespective of situational bias or our propensity to believe more in our own limitations than our own capabilities.

Training After 18 Hours Days
Training After 18 Hours Days

Habits Define Outcomes:

So with 3:30AM workouts and meditations, with hours and hours of standing and lifting heavy objects, despite the most competitive industry on the planet, I:

  1. Quadrupled my income in spite of spending a year looking for my beautiful new apartment and living out a bag
  2. Pressed the 55Kg Dumbells, Front Squatted 120Kg and got a NG Pull-up at 135% of bodyweight (6 months was what it eventually took).
  3. I read and listened to 20 great books
  4. Completed over 1000 hours of PT and a variety of great transformations
  5. Completed the first draft and trailer for my book
  6. 50 hours of meditation with Headspace

THATS A LOT FOR ME 😀

Context Is Everything:

As most of you know I work in what in my opinion is one of the most competitive industries on the planet. The fitness industry manages to mix some of the more grandiose and obscure personalities our planet has to offer into an array of passive aggressive behaviour and steroid induced arrogance.

This and the complete disregard for the delivery of value for money makes it an extremely tough environment to flourish. Frankly, I wouldn’t recommend it to many people because not many individuals want to be caregivers in the true capacity that any seasoned Strength or Conditioning Coach would understand.

It is this attitude to the health and wellbeing of myself and those around me that drives me to stay focussed. I take a great deal of pride in helping others and this year has proven to me that in spite of the resentment that may endure, nothing is more important than using personal and professional Strength to reach out to others.

The facts are simply hard to ignore in such a service driven industry. You either want results for the specific people that employ your services or you do not. This year was remarkable in the sense that I became extremely busy because I was willing to make the extra effort for people but watched my competitors struggle to deliver consistently.

Changing Directions

“There happen to be entire parts of adult life that nobody speaks about”  – David Foster Wallace

It’s true that by its very definition, changes in ‘body composition’ are inherently aesthetic. As people we want to look and feel better about ourselves. We want to be strong, agile and capable of moving relatively well as we age.

My question to most people regarding this topic is one of values. Have you reconciled the difference between the hard and vascular physiques of professional competitors to the aesthetic appeal of a body that can move, be moved and absorb shock with maximum efficiency?

Meditation
Meditation/Cognitive Care

 

The two are very different. One is much easier to achieve and maintain. We know that diseases and environmental factors are compounding our risk of disease. Yet as a coach I consistently see these two main categories of people employing my service.

I see this stark contrast in the PT’s of our industry promoting services that do not ‘do no harm’. I’m actually witnessing coaches with less than a year of work experience (and got fired from their last job’ ) shouting ‘85% of 1RM’ as their clients squat with broken form. These are the people you want to run a mile from as quickly as possible. They are the facade of fitness and health.

Keep It Simple Stupid 

I changed everything. I stopped training heavy and reintroduced myself to typical fatloss and hypertrophy training programs I use with beginners. I put 100% more effort into taking care of myself and I invested a large amount of money in my supplementation regime. I went to bed at 8PM every night.

I basically completed over 4 months of general physical prep before I ever touched another dumbbell heavier than 30Kg. I hated it and got some great results by just letting go of my ego…

What Gets Measured Gets Managed

I mean let’s contextualize this a little and say that for most people a little bit of fatloss and muscle gain is a challenge. It’s not as hard as changing careers or studying for your degree but it’s up there in the ‘top 5 of life’ challenges.

Now let’s talk about injuries, the petty frustration of everyday living, finding balance in a world demanding constant attention and Mr Wallace’s quote ‘There happen to be whole parts of adult life that nobody speaks about”.

These belief templates are affecting all of us, all of the time.

Suzanne Swart
Do you push yourself enough?

Character Drives Repeated Effort

If there is one thing that I have found to be true in person to person transformations it’s that we all find the word ‘effort’ open to interpretation.

In Strength sports this can be defined as Maximal Effort or Intensity. Lifters attempt a maximal effort during prescribed bouts of intense training. In day to day life this barometer does not exist. People presume effort to be equal without necessarily understanding how much harder repeated effort is.

For some just walking up a hill is hard. For others confronting the ego is harder. This is I surmise is the reason that most people fail to take better care of their minds, bodies and families and I reiterate that most people cannot make changes to their lives because ego prevents them from recognizing false beliefs.

Incongruent Living and the Objectification of Self

I don’t know about you but I enjoy high quality living. Above all else I believe that life is to be enjoyed and treasured for what it is. Everybody has a different definition but I enjoy solitude and creating. These two things probably represent the most joy I’ve ever experienced.

In spending more time in meditation I’ve seen a theme building where not only do I ignore my own needs but see this kind of self neglect manifest in all other people and clients.

Social media has created a platform that allows anybody’s personal measuring stick to dominate their thinking. The desire to appear successful has replaced the joy which ‘flow’ brought to truly creative and successful artists, business owners and tradesman.

2016 is a year to remove myself from the glorification of imitation and just as I removed myself from the obsessive thinking brought by setting goals too large to achieve I am going to focus on doing less better and moving away from egotistic definitions of health, wellbeing and performance.

I am breaking the measuring stick.

Books I Read in 2015: HIGHLY RECOMMEND

Focus – Daniel Goleman

The Soul of Money – Lynne Twist*
The Art of Learning – Josh Waitzkin
The Gunslinger – Stephen King
Cats Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
Younger Brain, Sharper Mind – Eric Braverman
I Will Teach You To Be Rich – Ramit Sethi
Platform – Michael Hyatt
We Learn Nothing – Tim Kreider
Internal Time: Chronotypes – Till Roenneberg
Can You Go? Dan John
Built to Sell – John Warillow
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and it’s all Small Stuff – Ryan Carlson
The Obstacle Is The Way – Ryan Holiday
Ask – Ryan Levesque
Tribes – Seth Godin
Molecules of Emotion – Candice Pert
Kiss or Kill – Mark Twight
Zero to One – Peter Thiel
Further Along The Road Less Traveled – Scott Peck
The Checklist Manifesto – Atul Gawande
Your Body Is Your Subconscious Mind – Candice Pert
David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell

Please take a moment to look at the trailer for my upcoming book!

David Robertson

I have dedicated my life to training and nutrition and I have traveled the world seeking the best tools available for the development of Strength, Cognition & Wellness. As somebody who has never had the luck of the draw regarding the ‘genetic lottery’ I created this blog to document the experiments and tools that have changed my life the most.

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