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Dec 30, 2014

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By Josh Hunt

 

I’ve decided to take a break from binge watching The Walking Dead (thank God it’s finally on Netflix) in order to do something that I have been too lazy to do for a while, and that is write a freaking article.  Last year about this time I wrote down some new years resolutions/goals (as I do every year), and one of those goals was to be more prolific as a writer and publish at least 26 articles (you know at least one every other week).  This article will make five this year, which is really pathetic in a sense.  In the past I would have been upset at myself about this, I would have felt I let myself down, as well as Brady and the rest of the Iron Authority team.  I won’t lie and say that it doesn’t effect me in a negative connotation, but it is only a dull ache.  I feel that the few articles I put out in 2014 were some of my best work in my short carrier of being a mediocre quasi-powerlifting writer.  However, this makes me take pause, because this time of year I alway try to figure out my way ahead for the next year.  I have already started to write down some of the things I want to accomplish for 2015 in my little steno note pad full of random ideas and notes about fire fighting (had to talk a class a few years back).

 

This leads me to the question of who I want to be this time next year.  One horrible habit I have had in the past, is I would make ridiculous goals in the beginning of the year.  Stuff that was off kilter and my expectations  were whacked out, which only created a path of let down and frustration, because oft times I would fail.  For example; In 2006 I was living in Rotterdam the Netherlands and I had just gone through a rough year.  When the ball dropped and 2005 died I took a sip of booze (one of many thousand that night) and said thank Christ this year is over.  Then I was determined to fix all my problems in the twelve month ahead of me.  I was going to loose weight and get that six pack.  I was going to stop smoking and chewing, I was going to get healthy and learn how to be suave for the ladies.  I was going to be perfect or as close to perfect as possible.  As you may know all of these are very easily attainable goals and I didn’t have any issue achieving them, and I now sit here almost nine years year later an immaculate specimen of humanity without flaw.  Oh wait, I am not in that bizarro world where this happened, I am in this universe where things didn’t work out the way I had planned.  So this is what happened in 2006, I lost about thirty-five pounds, in an incredibly unhealthy way.  I’d play basketball for about an hour and a half, I’d lift for an hour, then I would use the elliptical for at least forty-five minutes a day, six days a week.  I only ate yogurt, salmon, and chicken ninety-eight percent of the time, and I would drink rum and Diet Coke in such amounts I don’t even want to write it down less all my readers would think I had a drinking problem.  I was thinner, but not healthy at all.  I didn’t quite smoking or dipping (which helped me drop the weight I mentioned before, in a oh so healthy way) that year.  It took me another twenty-four months to do this.  I entered my first serious relationship that year, but did not do any work on my emotional health and that combined with the chemistry of the relationship and my immaturity allowed me to have fun, but in the end it didn’t work out (these things happen, it just took me longer to get over it and see it for what it was). At the end of the year I was just as frustrated and upset as I was at the beginning of the year.  It really felt that I made little to no progress. I can give dozens, if not hundreds, of examples of these resolutions and goals that didn’t quite work out.

 

Even though I’ve had some rough patches with these concepts, I still really do believe in the idea of new years resolutions and goals.  There are those that say, why wait for New Years to start working on yourself, why not just start right now?  To those people, I answer I am a pussy.  It is hard for me to dive into these things head first, many times it’s because I am lazy, but more often it’s because I am scared.  Change can be a thing to fear, it shouldn’t be, but it is in humanity’s nature to have some fear of change.  It takes a lot of work to be excited about it (which I am now), and usually this bravery does not come naturally. I need time to think about what I want to do and how to do it. And, although New Years Day is a day, I believe, that lacks a great deal of meaning if you think about it, it’s just another day in a new year.  It is a starting point  (sometimes an artificial staring point) for me.  I can wrap my head around the path I plan to take, and I can get myself ready for the journey and the tasks at hand.  It’s like when kids count down from ten to start playing hide and seek, for me it’s a ready, set……start becoming a better friend, boyfriend, son, lifter, employee….. human.  Thus I am using these last few days in 2014 to come up with a few concepts that I want to work on and figure out how to do achieve my goals.

 

Although, many of my goals are similar to ones in years past; lose weight, get stronger, get more educated, etc, I am changing the way I approach them.  I am working on being more open minded on how to achieve them as well as how I measure them.  In the past I would write down a new personal record that I wanted to hit in competition, often this would be slightly out of range of the possible.  This year one of my goals is simple, it’s to get stronger.  What does that mean?  If I chip any of my lifts (be it 2.5 kilos or less) that is a victory.  I will stronger than I was in 2014.  If my Wilks Coefficient is higher than last year I am better.  If my rate of perceived exertion is lower or my bar speed is faster I am better.  Progress usually happens in multiple small steps, rarely does it happen in huge leaps (even though that is what most of us are looking for).  I am an almost 500 pound bencher (I locked 501.5 pounds at bench nationals but was red light for lifting my butt), this year I am shooting to get it.  That would be a twenty-two pound personal record for me.  But, if I can chip my current record and hit 485 pounds I’ll take it as a success and not be overly upset if I don’t become a legitimate 500 pound bencher in 2015.  In regards to other aspects of my life and training I am working on different approaches.  Instead of following conventional knowledge I am starting to do research on more concepts that lie on the extremes and periphery.  A few years ago Brady (the owner of this fine website) and I were having a conversation which distilled down to; if you want to be mediocre follow conventional knowledge, if you want to be great carve your own path and don’t be afraid to experiment.  I thought I got it then, but I realize I am just now understanding this.  If conventional wisdom worked, then people would be healthier and happier, and all powerlifters would be at the top of their game.  As we all know this is not the case, the weird cutting edge concepts that make “normal people (or lifters for that matter)” go “huh?” are probably the concepts that are going to help me achieve my goals.  For example; up until November of this year I really didn’t know what the sympathetic (fight and flight) and parasympathetic (relaxation and digestion) nervous systems were.  Now I have enough knowledge to develop ideas on how to train both of these which could help me become stronger, recover faster, and/or become healthier.  Before this year I would have dismissed this as hippy fru-fru shit.  But, now I am really considering it because my current diet, training, and living regiment isn’t helping me to achieve the goals that I am setting for myself. I have stagnated because I have not changed or refined multiple aspects of my life.    There is always room for improvement and experimentation.

 

A few months ago I was having a conversation with my very strong friend Matt about diet. He was discussing his thoughts about organic food and nutrition.  To paraphrase him; with any extra money one has they should improve the quality of their food.  It is more important than your car, the gas you buy, your house, and so on.  Only now am I understanding the genius of this. I now believe the better quality food you put in your system the better your nervous system recovers, the stronger your immune system is, the healthier and happier you are.  I say this because I have slowly changed my diet from the typical powerlifter’s (or what I perceive as the typical powerlifter’s) you know ‘I lifted heavy so I deserve two thick cut pork chops, mac and cheese, and some garlic bread’ to a person that is eating more organically with a focus on fresh locally sourced foods.  I didn’t notice any real change until I slipped back to my old habits when traveling.  Just these past couple of days visiting with my family and eating  delicious In-N-Out burgers, christmas pie, eggnog, and all the other not so high quality food I found myself feeling lethargic, gassy, and just generally crappy.  Now I am really interested in ancestral foods and  how they effects the  digestive, nervous, immune, and endocrine systems.  I believe that by being more open minded about these non-conventional ideas I can start working on the better Josh for 2015 and beyond.

 

Over the past few months I have been looking around, listening, and reading trying to figure out what I want in the near-term and long-term.  I have made notes of both good and bad examples.  Now I am writing my list of goals for 2015 and really thinking about each and every one of them I put down on paper.  I am asking myself what my expectations are and can I achieve them.  I am asking myself what method am I going to use.  And I am being more open minded about different ways of getting to where I want to be (cold thermogenesis, clean gut, meditation, mobility work, and more).  I am really trying not to fall into the traps that I have set for myself in the past. I believe now I should be wise enough to at least identify short falls in my plan and be willing and able to change when need be.  I think I can prevent my ego from getting in the way of these goals, and I am emotionally healthy enough to forgive myself if I trip or fall.  Years end is like close out at a store.  One has to take stock of what they have and what they don’t have and start creating an order and game plan of the months to come.  This is what I am doing now, it’s just more progressive than I have been in the past.  I hope to be a slightly better person this time next year.  Hope all of you have a wonderful New Year full of fun, love, and gratitude for all the great things we all have.

 

On a side note I want to thank my girlfriend, family, friends, and people in my life that have help make 2014 fly by.  Cheers!  Now go out and do horrible things to your body on 31DEC2014 so you can start you way back up to being better with me.

 

Start of progression

(the end).

Drift with the ebb and flow.

Sink with the ebb and flow. – The Contortionist

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