Smooth Pavement…


This is Part III of my 3-part series on the limits of power.  It is also the final essay here for 2013.  I will be back in early January with a new focus, and a new direction for this platform.  Please check back…

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Mego, Ego, And Wego…

I have spent in excess of 30 years establishing a system of health and fitness values that have forged who I am.  As the system of my life has changed and expanded, these values have evolved.  The term fitness to me, means the sum of balance, flexibility, strength, stamina, aesthetics, independence, and prevention.  As these values have evolved, one other term has framed them, sustainabilityI have attempted to live a life of sustainable physicality.

However, when I wasn’t looking, my designer placed an ego deep within me even though I did not request one during the design process.  I have lived with, and despised that ego for over 50 years.  But, I have also loved, and benefitted from it.  Last year, I allowed my ego to get the better of me, and pull me ever so slightly away from sustainability.

Pendulum Swing And I Wanna Go Home…

As a recreational bodybuilder, and fitness minded individual, it has been front in my psyche for decades to pursue progress.  My ego has suggested that I always strive for more, and not settle for good enough.  Right up to the point where I realize (again and again) the pursuit of more always has associated costs elsewhere in my life; money, relationships, sleep, and relaxation to name a few. Wisdom has a way of tempering things.  By my mid 40s I had come to accept that good enough is good enough – and I was happy with that, but my ego was not…

Here I am, stuck in the middle with me...

Here I am, stuck in the middle with me…

These past two years as the pendulum of my Gemini psyche has swung back and forth between too much, and not enough, it has spent little time in the land of just right.  I hope to set that straight this year.  I seek to finally find, and remain in that sustainable path with my physicality.

Lines in the sand…

Strength:  After an 18 month onslaught of relentlessly progressive workouts, I have come to accept once again, a primary tenet of my philosophy of physicality; that the human body will, and should only get so strong.  As much as I want to believe the arc of strength I have cultivated during the past couple of years will continue, I accept that it’s not sustainable, and therefore not consistent with my value set in strength training.  Where I am today is good enough.

Going forward I will continue to train as I have trained for many years, with the primary emphasis of my strength workouts being on form, and functionality. This is not to suggest that I won’t pursue increased strength.  If my body tells me I can increase my capacity safely, then I will.  I won’t, however, force an increased capacity any longer.  I will accept what comes my way through consistency.

Nutrition:  This year has seen several changes in how I deliver nutrition to my body.  In August I made an ethical choice to remove factory meat, and factory dairy from my diet.  I was successful for nearly three months before I allowed the convenience of restaurant meals to trump my changing value set.  I felt uneasy adding my own tofu to a chickenless salad as waitresses and onlookers peered over my shoulder in disbelief.  Also, I really like chicken.  Oh, and candy.  I like bean burritos from Taco Bell too.  So I shall have, on occasion, chicken, candy, and bean burritos, though I will aim to eat within my value set most of the time.

My first definition of sin is that of a value compromised.  My second definition of sin is when adhering to a value inhibits the reasonable fulfillment of social living.  I will attempt to remain committed to those values I hold most dear, but forgive myself in advance for those days when I do not – regardless of what effect there is on my physicality.

My first definition of sin is that of a value compromised.  My second definition of sin is when adhering to a value inhibits the reasonable fulfillment of social living.

My first definition of sin is that of a value compromised. My second definition of sin is when adhering to a value inhibits the reasonable fulfillment of social living.

Endurance:  I have enjoyed cardio vascular activities for the aesthetic benefit, as well as for the mental therapy derived.  I have also unenjoyed them.  When it comes to my trail hiking, sprinting, cycling, and even my indoor cardio, my ego has often pushed me past the point of enjoyment, believing that giving any less than my all would not be acceptable. As of this day I will no longer be in pursuit of faster times in any of these endeavors.  I will seek to challenge myself in an achievable, and enjoyable fashion, with liberty, and utility for all.

Aesthetics: This is the hard one.  Despite all my crap about functionality, sustainability, and ethics in a fitness based lifestyle, I still want to look fucking great.  As I preach daily though, I accept that I will not look at 70 as I look today, as I do not look today as I looked at 41.

How I look will be how I look.  I’m down.

As a philosophy, this believe…

A rule for the modern fitness enthusiasts could be this: Those push have more fitness.  Those who push a little less, may have more everywhere else their life.

In living within the boundaries drawn above, I accept wherever it is my physicality, and my aesthetics will fall, believing full well that if I meet those boundaries consistently, I will look and function well until I die.  I know that I will compromise my values on occasion, but I will strive not to abandon them.  As always though, in the land of Jhciacb, there’s an ebb, and flow to it all.  Be well.  rc

A couple of years back my next door neighbor discarded this poinsettia after Christmas. She set it beside her trash cans on the patch of dirt which separates our houses. It never went out with the trash.  The roots soon breached the pot it was in, and it took up residence in the ground. Eventually, the plastic pot broke away, and for two years the plant has flourished, and grown.  Seeing this, this morning, was a strong reminder for me that there is value in most everything we throw away, from our relationships, to our material goods, to our animals, our babies, and even our physicality.  Something to consider this holiday season...

A couple of years back my next door neighbor discarded this poinsettia after Christmas. She set it beside her trash cans on the patch of dirt which separates our houses. It never went out with the trash.
The roots soon breached the pot it was in, and it took up residence in the ground. Eventually, the plastic pot broke away, and for two years the plant has flourished, and grown.
Seeing this, this morning, was a strong reminder for me that there is value in most everything we throw away, from our relationships, to our material goods, to our animals, our babies, and even our physicality.
Something to consider this holiday season…

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Please check back in 2 weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this from, The Greyboy Allstars.  Enjoy…

10 responses

  1. Love, love, love this post. You might very well be the best trainer out there. :-)

    You are honest, and have a balanced view of it all (re: social life, “sinful foods”, and this wonderful sentence: “Despite all my crap about functionality, sustainability, and ethics in a fitness based lifestyle, I still want to look fucking great.”)

    Watch out, I will most likely quote you in my next post. Your definition of fitness particularly resonates with me.

    Thank you for putting words on those thoughts, and sharing them with us!

  2. I love this post Roy & so much of it speaks to me since I have been at this fitness stuff for so long too…. I have learned to accept some of the limitations that age has dealt to me vs. what I used to do – I am not saying I am happy about it but learning to accept it.. mostly in the weight area.. I really don’t care about the cardio & if I can go as fast as I used to.. :)

    As for food, I do what I can & balance my life – I don’t want to die knowing I did not have my cookies or bread or whatever else I wanted to eat… :) Balance in life!

    Now to see if I can get to the posts that locked up my computer! :)

  3. A fitting year-end essay – nice job! As Maureen and I grow older and bump into the physical limitations that are starting to crop up, we remind ourselves of the need to “grow older gracefully.” Hope you have a great holiday season…..

  4. These thoughts come to mind. All things in moderation…and bloom where you are planted, like your friend’s poinsettia. My own take, accept that you will fall down and know that you can get up again.

  5. I really enjoyed this post, Roy. Lots I can relate to, not necessarily in terms of fitness, but in terms of other aspects of my life. The two lines I related to the most: “I will attempt to remain committed to those values I hold most dear, but forgive myself in advance for those days when I do not.” and “…my ego has often pushed me past the point of enjoyment, believing that giving any less than my all would not be acceptable.” I often realize in the midst of some activity that I seem to be striving to please some non-existent authority figure. Guess what? I am the authority figure these days. I can stop the activity whenever feels like the right time for me. Keep up the great writing!

  6. Thank you, Shannon, for taking the time. That was probably my last directly related fitness post on this platform. For years I have tried sneak philosophy into the fitness blog as a parent sneaks broccoli into the stew. Going forward, It’s on. Just gonna write about life, and those values I hold most dear… :-)

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