Well, looks like one day turned into one week, which is a common theme of this blog. In any event, let’s pick up right where we left off – how to pick yourself up when the world has beaten you down.
Image credit: Dr. Prakrit Jena
If you recall, I spent most of 2011 dealing with mounting business and real estate debt due to my vocation being stripped away from me by forces out of my control. Control is a funny concept. As humans, we struggle with it daily. We pay our doctors when we lose control over our bodies, hoping they can restore this powerful illusion (they usually can’t). We pay our insurance companies to ply us with illusions of control over our environment. We pay our colleges and universities for the illusion of control over our destiny – but we’re realizing more and more that even that’s an illusion – to the extent that control even exists, it’s already in our hands. The only arena over which we have control is ourselves – how we react to the things that happen to us. It’s in those moments that we determine what we are to become, where our daily habits are of the utmost importance. So, how was I reacting to the shitstorm erupting around me? I wasn’t. I was in a funk, a fuzz, a dream world, and before I knew it, five months had passed and I was nearing bankruptcy. The only thing that woke me up and put me back on track was simpler than you might imagine. It was just a phone call.
My oldest friend in the world had a sister that was getting married, and we hadn’t spoken or hung out in the 5 months I’d been home. He lived a mere 20 minutes away. All he said was “What’s up with you, man?” It ripped me out of my funk and made me incredibly aware of what was going on around me. What was up with me? I was refreshing my bank balances everyday and watching them dwindle, fast. I was reading internet forums aimlessly. I was facebooking, trying to keep up appearances. I was eating the closest thing I could get my hands on, regardless of what it was. I was stagnating in every part of my life, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and above all else, I was not taking any action, and I was the only person that could. I spilled this to him, and that day I took the first step.
So, what did the first step look like? I’d like to tell you that I knew myself well enough to make it easy to follow and maximize adherence, but that would be a lie. It pretty much fell into my lap randomly. When you spend your days derping around on the internet reading random messageboards and forums, you usually have to sift through a morass of shit before you run into any gold. That one nugget of gold was Martin Berkhan and his intermittent fasting protocol (www.leangains.com if you’ve been living in a hole). Here was a guy with a stellar understanding of the scientific literature, an impeccable track record with clients, and best of all, he actually lifted.
Probably one of the most important existential questions of our time.
So after settling on intermittent fasting, I set an easily achievable target for myself. I’d follow Martin’s reverse pyramid training scheme (seriously, http://www.leangains.com, the guy gives this stuff away for free, it’s insane I know), and only concentrate on hitting 250g of protein per day. After that, I’d eat whatever, and see what happens. This was around August 2011, and I looked like this:
Even I was confused about how this attractive woman ended up near me.
After setting myself up for success completely by accident with this easy to adhere to program, lifting heavy, and concentrating only on protein and ignoring the minutiae, where did I end up? These small changes have a way of snowballing if you stick with them. Here’s me in December 2011:
Don’t ask about the picture, just enjoy my thin face.
But as I’ve stated before, I knew myself well enough to know that if I remained physique-focused, I’d eventually lose focus. In addition, deadlifting 550 lbs for a 3 is nice, but RPT was getting boring and repetitive. I needed a new carrot. That carrot would present itself in the form of olympic weightlifting, and through this awesome sport I discovered the power of knowing yourself, having no goals, and how the best program is no program, after a certain point. What that point is, and when to know how you’ve done all you can do on your own, is what I’ll get into in part 3. Sometimes, you have to throw your hands up, acknowledge that you’ve done all you can, and leave the rest in the universe/Yahweh/Jesus/JC Deen’s hands.
Thanks for tuning in, hopefully the next installment won’t take another week to put together.