Occupational Hazards…

Ouch…

Few unexpected things feel good at 6:30am – to those who sleep alone anyway.  So when the 45-lb. weight came crashing down on my foot this morning, I knew it was not a happy ending, but a crappy beginning, to an otherwise typical day.  Spend your days walking about a gym, and do so in bare feet, and there will be an occasional broken metatarsal bone – or ten.

I had precisely 30 minutes until my 7:00am session arrived, and I was on the floor in the fetal position crying like a little girl in a house full of bad guys and boogiemen.  This was the real deal.  I had not pushed the 45-lb. plate far enough onto the peg which holds it, so when it slipped and fell three feet to my one foot, I screamed.  Only after the scream did I collapse.  The contact was perfect – the edge of the plate squared up in precise alignment with the 5 toes of my right foot.

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Both aerodynamic, and heavy…

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Thems The Breaks…

Mom was still asleep so after my initial scream, I kept my moaning to a minimum.  Still, I lay on the floor, rolling from side to side, grinding my teeth, clutching my foot, with tears forming in my eyes.  The fact that the pain was not easing up, was an indication this would change the course of my day, and possibly my week.  However, my first client would be arriving soon…

On my feet once again, I looked down to see what might be broken.  I was surprised that no area of my foot was pink, red, or swollen.  Of course, distinguishing between the old broken toes and the newer ones is often a challenge for me.  Punching the soft padding of my upright bench helped me channel my anger, but did nothing for the pain.  I looked to the clock and there was now just 10 minutes until my first client was to arrive – too late to call and cancel, but I was in serious pain.  I limped to my driveway to wait her arrival.

As I accompanied her from her car into my studio, I explained the situation to her, apologized in advance for any pain I might display, and made it the through the session. It only got worse though, as black and blue made their gradual arrival throughout my morning.  One session down, six more to go…

Heads Up…

Only 36-hours prior I had different mishap.  This one also involved 45 lbs., but it was an Olympic bar, not a weight, and it never got close to my feet – because my head broke the fall.  I had the 7-foot long, 45-lb. Olympic bar stored on the top rung of my squat cage – roughly 7-feet above the floor.  A different bar, the one attached to my Smith Machine, was at the 5-foot level.  A client had been squatting with the Smith Machine bar and it had a 45-lb. plate on each side.  As I pushed the Smith Machine bar over head to place it out of the way, the (2) 45-lb. plates pushed the Olympic bar off the top rung.  As I heard the 2 weights making contact with it, I looked up just in time to see the bar hit my face.

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Look up.  No, really…

Enter the familiar fetal position and related writhing in agony.  Since my client was present for this one, I held back the tears, punched nothing, and once I was upright, tried very hard to look cool, though I’m certain cool was not how she was thinking of me.  I gathered my senses, ascertained that I was not concussed, and continued with my client, apologetic for this shift in the rhythm of the session.

Being the last session of the day, I collapsed, but only after I walked her to her car.

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Red dot Indian…?  No.  Dumb ass trainer…

Things Don’t Just Fall…

It’s not just the dropping of things on bare feet and bare skulls which represent the dangers of the professional fitness trainer.  There are all those protruding extensions which hold weights, support hands, give feet a place to rest, and otherwise temp the clumsy impulses of a careless twit like me.

Just a few weeks ago I walked directly into one of the two hand supports extending from my low-back extension apparatus.  The good news is, relative to the length of my right thigh, the end of the handle did not make contact with any bone or joint.  The bad news, of course, is that it struck the meatiest part of my body, my mid-thigh.  The bruises heeled though, before I knew would be writing this, so no photograph.

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Protruding object:  proceed with caution…

One Has To Laugh…

I have no idea how many dings, pings, and bruises have been created by me stepping in and out of the small places such as the one pictured below, but my studio is small and this is my best storage option.  It’s just that I don’t always negotiate it with the same care I instruct my students to take with their own physicality.

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What could possibly go wrong, stepping in here quickly to grab something…?

Spend enough time working around dumbbells, bars, machines, and do so in small spaces and at a fast pace, and accidents are going to happen – years worth of accidents, and they add up.  The best one can hope for under these circumstances is a positive attitude, a good sense of humor, and iron-rich blood – you know, for proper heeling.  Be well…  Jhciacb

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Life, At Face Value..

Lives Which Matter…

Last winter, after a couple of young persons I know of lost their lives, I began an exploration in my head about the value of a life.  Shortly thereafter began the string of musician deaths which will partially define 2016.  This got me thinking even more.  Ultimately the dots connected further and I began to also consider animal lives.  As all of this was playing out in my head, I moved my aging mother in with me.  One more life to consider.

From teenage girls gone too soon, to older people hanging on.  From puppies loved, to Glenn Frey and David Bowie, to the would-be lamb chops on my plate, I cannot help that throughout each of my days, I spend some time contemplating the value of any of these.  Not that I am in pursuit of any hard answers or true knowledge on the value of lives.  I simply want to distinguish better, that blurry line which separates the lives that matter from those that don’t.

Little Balls Of Duality…

An unexpected day off landed me beach side today to take it all in.  On a quilt my mother stitched by hand, I lay staring into the distance, thinking about the past and taking sporadic inventory of the many lives which surrounded me.  Mom lives.  Seagull lives.  Kid lives.  Surfer lives.  Dolphin lives.  Some lives guarded by lifeguards, others only by fate.  I was surrounded by life, yet I could not pick out a single one which I could deem unworthy

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A mother with pale skin and chubby legs stood beneath her wide brimmed hat, slathering sunscreen on her two small boys and then on herself.  Oddly though, she struggled negotiating between the tube of sunscreen in her hands and the cigarette in her mouth.  That’s when I began thinking that, as a species, we’re just little balls of duality when it comes to this lives matter stuff.

A young mother, fending off cancer with one hand, and inviting it with the other.  I hearkened back to a client who was recently grieving the loss of his niece during one of our sessions.  Shortly thereafter he proclaimed that a would-be President Trump would wise carpet bomb the Middle East – Middle Eastern nieces notwithstanding, I guess…

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Little Balls Of Duality…

Staring into the horizon, and with the sun on my back, I continued to ponder.  On one hand, we go to enormous lengths to protect and preserve the lives which matter to us, our own included.  We medicate, radiate, negotiate, and we pray.  We exercise, wear seatbelts, have designated drivers, and enrich our junk food with extra vitamins – just in case.  We bow to caution.  We respect and avoid threatening forces.  We sacrifice, and we will go into insurmountable debt in the name of preserving a life, be it a toddler or a terrier.  The lives we love matter most –most of the time.

On the other hand, we can be careless and casual when it comes to any life with which we are not fully vested, also, our own life included.   We take risks.  We partake in that which we know might be harmful.  We overeat, but when we pass by the man on the corner with the cardboard sign asking for food, we take caution not to make eye contact.  We leave some out in the cold as we sit warm by the fire.  We apply a tangy sauce, add a little sea salt, and take another bite.  We change the channel when we are asked to help starving kids in Africa, or see dogs held in cages.  A truckload of dead Mexicans overheated in the desert while trying to cross over…?  Some call this a tragedy, while others consider it an evolutionary response to population control.

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And Further Complicating Things…

In the social media era, we are bombarded with suggestions that the universe is so large, so magnificent, and so potentially full of life, that we are selfish to give so much credence to our own tiny lives.  Yet, when I think of Clara, or when I see the lost look in my mother’s eyes when she momentarily forgets what she’s doing, I can’t help but believe that each life granted has far greater significance to its constituents than all the potential of all the stars combined.

I’m ashamed to say this, but sometimes my mind swings the other way.  Please forgive me for this next thought…

It’s not a popular question to raise, and I truly don’t mean to offend anyone, but I often wonder if we fulfill our quests to cure cancer, cure heart disease, cure diabetes, stop epidemics before they begin, and in our quest to end all wars, where are we going to house all the survivors, and whose jobs will they take…?  I’m ashamed that I think about this, but, I do think about this.  I dunno…

My own life…?  Well, I’m a little dichotomy too.  I bend, I stretch, I lift, and I step, that I have a better quality of life, and a longer one.  I also do dangerous things like ride my bike without a helmet.  I have taken my liver to the brink and brought it back to health with all the zeal of parent searching for a kidnapped child.  I have taken risks, overindulged, been outright reckless at times.  I can honestly say I have had a half-dozen self-imposed near death experiences.  But do I value my life, I guess…

By the way, this isn’t about Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter.  It’s simply been an exploration in my head about why so many lives matter to most of us, most of the time, but also why so many don’t.  I guess all I really know about the value of a life is that each one has infinite cascading effects on so many others.  That, and when one life goes out, it will rarely be at the right time, and just as rarely for the right reason.  We are little balls of duality, ongoing.  Be well…  rc

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If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so.  Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this from Eytan Mirsky.  Enjoy!

 

Some Thoughts On My Thoughts…

I built my first website in 2001, in support of my fitness business.  Though I would not come across the term blog for a couple of more years, my initial website was, unwittingly, my first blog.  Each week I would publish a brief article espousing the virtues of a chicken salad for lunch instead of burrito, or how lunges done properly would change your life.  This effort, in hopes I could establish legitimacy as a national voice of reason in my industry, while also doing my part in saving the world.  Of course it hasn’t really unfolded that way, though I have gained some respect in my local community, and have begun to cultivate a worldwide following of hundreds.

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A corner of the yard…

At the time I began this endeavor, I was working my way through a series of books on religion, philosophy, cultural anthropology, as well as the directionality of mankind.  Though it wasn’t by design, it didn’t take long until I began superimposing what I was thinking about away from the gym, over what I was attempting to teach in the gym and via my website.  I began to sew comparisons between the rituals of the humanities and the rituals of physical culture, and vice-versa.

And so it has gone for over a decade.  I write about life under the guise of fitness, and thoughts of personal fitness are always intermingled when I write about the world I seem to live in.  As the tagline for this blog asks; is the about the contemplation of fitness, or the fitness of contemplation…?  Of course there is no correct answer.

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The best celebrity a trainer can work with:  Celebrity tomatoes…

I enjoy weaving hidden messages of religious tolerance into articles I write about accepting CrossFit as fitness phenomenon, despite that I think it’s ridiculous don’t practice it myself.  In comparing the war on the waistline to the wars which require guns, I have suggested that we mind our language, and not get carried away with it.

I can say honestly that I have learned as much about life and culture itself from my observations of the fitness world and the people in it, as I have from any book I have read or any sermon I have received.  Conversely, I have regularly attempted to bring to my fitness students and readers, lessons from the humanities which might enhance or even shift one’s perspective on what fitness really is.  As I learn, I enjoy sharing, and that’s a big part of why I blog write.

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The writer’s den.  Fire pit in front.  Party in the back.  Not really…

However, as complexity expands, complexity expands. Both the fitness world and the real world are far more complex today than they were when I wrote my first essay.  My mind drifts further and further from what I know, seeking more and more to write about what I want to know – or what I think I know.  On one level this might be dangerous inasmuch as I don’t want a would-be reader to take my writing with any degree of seriousness or suggest it holds any absolute truths.  These are simple musings and observation which sometimes flow, but mostly collide in my head.  I am an amateur writer; a busker of thoughts in the expanding noosphere.

On another level though, writing about what I think I know, even if I’m not certain, is exactly what I know I need.  This blog, whether read by dozens or by thousands, has been a place for me to work out the quarrels and contradictions in my head.  If there’s one problem with this, it’s that as I let festering thoughts out, it frees up room for new thoughts to grow and garble.

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Yellow pear tomatoes…

From the beginning I have sought to be as original as possible, if not outright different.  In those times when I have noticed a redundancy in my thoughts, I have questioned whether or not to continue.  After 15 years of writing – of placing my messages into tiny silicon bottles and throwing them out there each week to seed and to grow, I don’t think I have impacted too many lives too often, as it relates to fitness or beyond, and I’ll never really know if I have.

The life I have affected most though, in writing these essays, is of course is my own, and the impact seems to be positive.  So I guess the blog is going to stick around – even if I repeat myself from time to time.  Lunges today.  Social complexity tomorrow.  Stay tuned, and be well…  rc

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If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so.  Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this from Electric Mary.  Enjoy!