Encouraging steps

Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want mostAugusta F. Kantra

It’s a given that anything you want out of life requires discipline… along with persistence (aka stubbornness), drive and an absolute belief in yourself and what you know you can do.

Oh, I forgot to mention that patience is a must. If you don’t have that, you don’t have anything worth keeping.

When it comes to staying healthy and getting physically stronger, discipline, persistence and all that stuff comes into play. It doesn’t apply only to creative endeavours. I haven’t yapped about anything related to health or fitness in awhile and I think it’s time to yap about it now.

It’s been over five years since I started CrossFit and I haven’t thought about leaving it yet. The fact that I’ve stuck with it this long is a bit of surprise. Yeah, there’s no way I would go back to a traditional gym. It’s not the way for me.

I’ve come a long way from when I first started. I’m not RX’ing a ton of stuff but that’s not my personal goal. It’s not my endgame when it comes to my health and fitness goals. I simply want to be the fittest — mentally and physically — I can be. 

And I can honesty say that I don’t think that I have ever been at my physically strongest as I am now. As I said before, I’m not RX’ing a lot of stuff and I think that’s because of my hypermobility. Yeah, I’m more flexible than the average bear. And that creates a unique set of issues. I think it’s more common for folks to be strong but not flexible than vice versa. I’m vice versa. 

That means I have to approach movements a little more carefully. I’ve lost count on the number injuries and visits to physiotherapists over the years. Unfortunately, I’m used to it. I don’t care for it but I’m used to it. 

It’s a little bit of a double-edged sword, I think, when it comes to pushing yourself and trying not to cross the line of injuring yourself. Most of the time, you don’t realize what you’ve done until a few hours after the incident. Then your body starts rioting with barbwire-covered bats and pitchforks. Fun times.

The main reason I’ve been thinking about my fitness level and goals is that it’s been a year since I started adding physique work with my CrossFit workouts. Now, when I say physique work, I’m talking about working and strengthening the smaller muscle groups so they can better support the larger muscle groups inside and outside of the box/gym. I also believe strengthening the smaller muscle groups will help protect and support my occasionally loosie-goosie joints.

I think when most people hear the word ‘physique’, they think bodybuilding. You’re not wrong to think that. But that’s not why I’m combining it with my WODs. Any physical transformation that takes place is secondary to me getting stronger and encountering fewer injuries. That’s my endgame.

I will admit my arms never looked as toned as they do now. They will only be more defined as I slowly continue to increase the weight. To be honest, I really like the combination of WODs and physique work. The combination is helping me reach personal bests or PRs (personal records) more often. Whenever I’m not injured, that is. Yeah, that’s something I don’t think I’ll be able to avoid completely.

When I get injured, the important thing is how I manage the injury and the rehab that I need do in order to get back to where I left off. And that usually takes awhile. More specifically, anywhere from six months to a year if we’re talking about my shoulder. Fuck, I hate shoulder injuries.

Despite the injuries, I’m still stronger now than I’ve been at any point in my life. That says a lot. Some of the movements that were a tricky for me have gotten better. Sometimes to the point that maybe I can progress to the next level. That progress is because of the physique work I’ve been doing. Without it, my progress would still be moving at a snail’s pace. I’m okay with moving at a turtle’s pace quite frankly. Turtle speed is good. Better than snail.

As a result of recent progress with some CrossFit movements and the reinforcing of others, I may have a new technique goal I didn’t think I would be pursuing. Was it a surprise? In a way, yes. But I shouldn’t be surprised because of the work I’ve been putting into physique in the past year.

Recently, I had a short chat with one of the coaches at the box. She wanted to know if I was noticing results from adding physique work to the WODs since it had been a year. My answer was ‘yes.’ But I think I’ll always err on the side of caution when it comes to increasing weight for lifts. I simply want to stay away from injury for as long as possible. Who doesn’t? 

Our short chat resulted in a couple of slight alterations to my physique work. I’ve already started to notice that my mindset has changed from the adjustments. It should be interesting to see how it will go. 

Baby steps but definitely encouraging steps. 

Eye on the prize

Writing is such a weird emotional thing. It’s hard. If you sit down with a plan to write something, it’s going to be harder — Lauren Miller 

Yeah, writing is a weird emotional thing. And I am referring specifically to fiction writing. Yes, there are other forms of writing (non-fiction, poetry, essay, journalistic, etc.) but I’m not focussing on them.

I think being creative is a weird emotional thing. Period. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Anything worth having, anything worth experiencing, anything worth creating, anything worth fighting for will be hard. 

When it’s hard and you want it badly enough (please excuse any double entendre you might perceive), yeah, you’ll get a little emotional. Depending on the obstacle I encounter, either I get mad and double down on reaching the endgame, or give it the stink eye and double down on reaching the endgame.

Regardless of my emotional reaction to the obstacle, I always have my eye on the endgame. I can’t ever lose sight of that. No matter how much life can get in the way, no matter if I’m in some sort of holding pattern when it comes to moving forward with the storytelling, my eye is always on the prize.

And what is that prize? Being able to successfully tell the story I want to tell. Being able to tell the story my characters want told and to do justice by them. That’s my prize. 

How do I know I earned my prize? By how I feel about the completed first draft of the manuscript.

For my upcoming book, Risk, I was pretty proud when I arrived at the complete first draft. I’m not proud because I just finished writing it. I’m proud because I knew the story that needed to be told was completed. From Point A to Point Z and everything in between felt right. I have no regrets.

And as a writer or as a creative person, having no regrets is so important. Even if there are regrets, acceptance of those regrets is just as important. You can’t let them eat you alive. There are lots of other things in life that will try to eat you alive. Don’t add regrets to that mess.

Another part of the prize for me is I knew the goals I set for myself when I started writing this book had been achieved.

There’s nothing more satisfying than realizing your goals. Those are the things I can call my own. No one can take that away from me. And yeah, I’ll pretty much rip anybody’s head off if they try.

No turkey

Well, it’s Thanksgiving over here in Canada. 

I have to admit I’m not one for holidays regardless of the time of year. I see it as a day off more than anything else. Although Christmas might be a little different. But not by much.

Growing up, the most obvious thing about Thanksgiving was the fact my family got to eat turkey and pumpkin pie. We might have had it for Christmas too, but we leaned towards roast chicken or roast duck for that occasion.

One time we had goose. That was interesting. Not really a fan of goose.

I’ve only roasted turkey a handful of times. I’m really not a big fan of cooking turkey in the oven. Stinks up the kitchen, stinks up the house. I’m funny that way but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that sentiment. 

Most of my adult life, I had been responsible for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas dinner. In the last few years, I’ve been abdicating that responsibility. Just too much work. As long as the family gets together over some sort of meal over the long weekend, it’s fine.

I never really bought into the Norman Rockwell concept of celebrating holidays. Outside of my realm of true comprehension. I think it’s the idea of the perfect family gathering is what I can’t wrap my brain around.

Or maybe family gatherings at specified times of the year has me feeling itchy about the whole thing. Forced confinement makes me itchy even though it’s temporary. Sometimes it doesn’t matter who I’m with. It’s forced confinement. I don’t mean to insult anyone when I say that.

I might be too much of an introvert. But then I do have to ask why we have designated holidays in order to get together. People can get together whenever they feel like it. There are more special reasons to get together that have nothing to do with what’s designated in a calendar. Weddings. Birthdays. Engagements. Graduations. Etc.

Although, I kinda suck at those things too. I might be too low key for my own good. Again, I’m fine with it. 

Anyway, however you spend Thanksgiving, hopefully it will be a good one. I’m just looking forward to not having to cook a turkey or a big meal.