Thankful vs. Not Thankful

As the holiday season crashes down upon us and forces us to spend a crap load of money and pretend to be thankful for things we don’t really care about, it got me thinking about things that I am truly thankful for in life.  And since well, I can be a glass is half empty kind of guy in my own life, it also made me realize things that I am not so thankful for.  I’ve decided to share both today.

I’m thankful for an unbelievable membership of people who train with us.  When we opened the gym 20 months ago, we had an idea how our demographic would skew based on the concept we envisioned, but we never could have guessed it would be made up entirely of people that we liked.  We’ve become genuine friends with a lot of people who train with us, entered their personal lives and vice versa and it’s an incredible feeling to see a community go from a few people standing around awkwardly to one that’s over 200 strong and tight knit.

I’m thankful for foam rolling.  I have neglected my rolling over the past few months no reason at all other than laziness.  In that time frame I lost a lot of mobility and developed very tight quads, which contributed to a tight lower back which caused a strain two weeks ago.  I’ve foam rolled aggressively over the last week and feel infinitely better.  There is no better way to take care of your soft tissue aside from getting an ART massage.  If you want to save sixty bucks, foam roll before and after you train (Note: we’ll be increasing our inventory in Performance360). 

I’m thankful for my minor back injury.  Say what?  Let me explain.  I can sometimes get severe training ADD after about two months on a program and like to switch it up.  Recently, since I strained my lower back I’ve been forced to do a bit more standard bodybuilding style exercises and I am enjoying the very temporary change of pace.  It’s caused me to really miss the big exercises and has triggered a ton of new motivation once I’m able to squat and deadlift again.  It’s important to change up your routine to ensure you don’t plateau, even if it’s just to include three or four complimentary movements a week on top of the Foundation 4 you should always have: squats, press, clean, and deadlift.  Had I not strained my lower back, I would have half heartedly continued my course like a zombie.

In addition, it also forced me to really pay attention to the entire kinetic chain and how one deficiency (tight quads) can set off much larger problems.  I became injured and learned more because of it, so I am thankful for it.  Thanks to Dr. Jarret Welsh of Peak Performance for the help on this one.

I’m thankful for positive people.  I’d be lying and frontin’ like a mugg if I said I was always positive.  I try to always be positive at work and positive in my own life, but we are hard wired to let the negatives and daily hurdles get to us more than the positives.  I’m thankful for people in my life who instantly put me in the happy place and re-motivate me.  If you’re not an aggressively positive person like myself, do your best to surround yourself with people who are.

I’m thankful for people who read this site.  I don’t make money off of it, I provide for two reasons.   The first is to provide free help for people.  It took me many years to refine my style of what works and I like to help people save time and cut through the clutter.  The second, it’s an outlet for me and a way to share my opinions on a lot of things.  Whether you take benefit from this blog or just enjoy reading it casually, I appreciate your helping us grow.

I’m not thankful for idiots on social media who think they kill it way more than they do.  I’ve seen fellow blogs and sites refer to these people as “YouTube Warriors”.  Just because you’ve effectively learned how to do a clean does not make you Rich Froning, nor does purchasing a Paleo cook book make you Robb Wolf.  I realize as a brand continues to grow, it receives more “feedback” from the outside world, and we accept that.  We’re not perfect by any stretch.  I constantly wage the war in my head, rise above it or defend your turf.  Sometimes the former wins, sometimes the latter.   Sometimes I care, sometimes I don’t give a shit.  But when one attacks our livelihood, that in which we provide for ourselves, we may have to hit back and re-assign him/her back to the kids table and Kraft mac where they belong.

I’m acutely not thankful for running for today.  Everyone always says our training is “hardcore” and scary but my reality is that I know plenty of runners who have suffered more injuries than what occurs in the weight room on a daily basis.  Stress fractures in the feet, tendonitis in the knees, unbelievably tight IT bands and decreased hip mobility.  Those are long term injuries that tend to stick around.  I recently had to run four miles to and from the gym (two each way) and my back is killing me today.  Some people run competitively and I won’t knock that.  We have members that kick ass and takes names doing so.  I also understand it’s an outlet for some people and for my friends and family that enjoy it and feel improved after doing so, good on ‘ya.  But I remain a firm believer that unless you are competitive racer, running is not needed for your body and fitness goals.  I also tip my cap to those of you who can knock out 10 plus miles without wanting to off yourself.  There’s only so many yards miles Banner Pilot can get me through.

I’m thankful for weightlifting and barbells, and thankful that I don’t care that this makes me look like a raging meathead. My life changed for the better when I got serious with this stuff and even though a barbell is not a person who can sit down and watch Family Guy with you, I consider those little guys to be good pals.

I’m thanking for apple pie a la mode.  I mean, it’s hands down the most delicious thing you can eat and when I saw it sitting there on the Thanksgiving spread, I unleashed the inner fat kid.  If you don’t think a piping hot slice of apple pie covered in ice cream is delicious, I believe you were rooting for the Russians in Red Dawn and Drago in Rocky IV.  I consumed what equated to be an entire pie and gallon of ice cream in 36 hours.

I’m not thankful for lame excuses.  Every year at this time we undoubtably witness a slight drop off in attendance.  San Diego is a transient town and people come and go for the holidays and tend to use it as an excuse to take an entire month off.  Sack up and stay the course.

I’m not thankful for my skin tone.  During the Winter, I really disgust myself with how pale I can really get.  What up, Powder.

I’m thankful for Robert Griffin III.  For the first time in eons, I have actual hope as a die hard Redskins fan.  Watching him carve up the Cowboys and seeing Jerry Jones botoxed forehead actually produce a frown on Thanksgiving was pure, existential joy.

I’m thankful for fellowship.  If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.

I’m thankful for social media.  A lot of people are bitching and moaning that Facebook is now going to charge for small businesses to get exposure.  That would not be cool, but it has provided a free ride to able to brand and market ourselves for years.  Without it, we most likely wouldn’t exist.  I can’t tell you how much I have learned from other people in the industry, trainers, authors, gym owners, etc.  I’ve embraced it for what it is and have become both a better trainer and business owner because of it. #unashamed

I’m not thankful for Gangnam Style.  Until a week ago I had never seen this video I heard people talking about.  I just awkwardly pretended I had.  Jet Blue decided to air his video on the headrest next to me for five hours and forty six minutes on my return flight from the East Coast last weekend, and well, wishing for the reenactment of Alive was creeping it’s way up my list.

I am most certainly NOT thankful for this.

I am thankful I live in a country that allows you to get famous and rich off that garbage, though.  Hey, get yours if you can.

As Performance360 continues to grow in 2013, I continue to be thankful for the following people, ideas and concepts that have laid the foundation for and continue to help shape our overall concept.

  • Jim Roney, CSCS, Competitive Powerlifter – our college strength and conditioning coach who taught us the importance of power lifting and plyometrics.  This may sound like a broken record over the past few entries but as far as I’m concerned, he can’t be recognized enough for the influence.  What we did for our sport performance training under his watch for three years is the exact methodology we program in the gym.  Short, efficient workouts.  Large exercises paired with complimentary exercises.  No wasted movements.  Appropriate rest.  ALWAYS TRAIN FOR GOAL.  Train as an athlete to become an athlete.  Proper strength scheming.
  • CrossFit – their obvious influence over the industry is undeniable.  While we pride ourselves as unique and do certain things drastically different, we’ll also certainly give credit in the areas where credit is due.  Group training, idea of community, prescribed vs. scaled on certain workouts, breaking down public fear of intense exercise and paving our way. That’s all them.  We’ll definitely disagree with concentrated aspects of their training but it also bothers me when people fail to recognize their massive positive influence over fitness.
  • Spencer Aiken – taught me the basics of science and movement at NPTI.
  • Prominent Authors & Coaches – Michael Pollan, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Mark Rippetoe, Glen Pendlay
  • Not So Prominent Authors & Coaches – there are countless tidbits and tips we take from others who have endured the industry and fads: Eric Cressey, Tony Gentilcore, Zach Even-Esh, Charlie Weingroff, Dr. John Berardi, and countless others that would be too long to list.

Lastly, I’m thankful for what I have.  I mean it.  Not some feed the homeless infomercial but actually thankful.  Pritz and I always talk about how when we achieve something, we immediately take it for granted it and want something else.  More, more, more.  Gimme, gimme, gimme.  Business goal, training goal, life goal.  We are never satisfied and I know a lot of you are the same way.  I have to force myself to step back from time to time and really appreciate what I have in my life and what 2012 provided me.  Whooo, deep breath.  Time to share and be personal.

I have the greatest set of friends any guy could ask for on both sides of the country, the TGT, the Ministry of Fellowship.  I have an email chain of friends where we have an awards ceremony for ever year.  Yes, I am completely serious.  I fly to New York for this every February and proud to say I won 2011’s Bold Move of the Year by opening Performance360.  I have a very supportive family and brothers I’m lucky enough to be extremely close to, grandparents I was fortunate enough to have as a huge influence over my life, parents that support everything I do without question, a new babelette that made me realize I’m not Dexter, a business partner I’m friends with and the aforementioned community of people with whom I get to work closely on a daily basis.  Chances are you have a lot to be thankful for to so try and step back and appreciate it once in a while.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a thought regarding the holidays and winter in general.

Holiday travel, too much work, it gets dark outside, I’ll just wait until January, I can’t get up when it’s colder.

I’ll condense my focus into the days I’m here, focus my time and energy to things I can improve, set myself up for success in 2013, continue to attack my goals even if it’s a few days per week.

There will undoubtably be two groups over the next few weeks. One group moves back, the other forward. Both are active decisions.  One great thing about America is that no matter where we live, we are surrounded by the opportunity to better our health, achieve fitness goals and get stronger and better every day.  Be thankful for and choose that.

….or pie and ice cream.  Both are fun.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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