Work Hard, Find Yourself

Hello and welcome to the Living Revolution ūüôā

We are going to take a break from our regularly scheduled program this week. This week marks the beginning of the 2015 Crossfit Open. It marks the 8th year of the Crossfit Games as an organization, and the 4th year of the Crossfit Open. If you aren’t familiar with these competitions, I’ll leave some links at the bottom. I suggest you educate yourself ūüôā

This competition season also marks the 5th year since I began my journey with Crossfit. At some point, we’ll get in to that whole story, but that isn’t what I want talk about today. Today I want to talk about the importance of testing yourself as a means of self discovery.
¬†You can see this in the microcosm of every box around the world where people pit themselves daily against the barbell and against the clock. You can see this in the macrocosm of the Crossfit Games where international athletes gather to find out who can do the most work in a weekend. ¬†This entire movement is about finding out what you are made of. There is no other event in the world like the Crossfit Open. Participants from 100’s of different countries battle against each other to find the limits of physical and mental fitness, and to find out who will be named “Fittest on Earth”.
Crossfit has turned in to a phenomenon. I was watching behind the scenes clips and motivational clips from  the 2014 games this morning, and this program has turned into an international gathering of athletes, supporters, admirers, and sponsors. Elite level athletes are signing endorsement deals and signing autographs. Like it or not, Crossfit is a Thing. We can watch people exercise on ESPN, and it really is a big deal!!
Crossfit began as a program for Operators and First Responder’s. The kind of fitness developed by early Crossfit workouts was functional and it correlated well with the kinds of jobs that required a ridiculous volume of work, high levels of endurance, and the ability to focus under duress. Think about Special Ops warfighters, or inner-city SWAT team members. The mentality required to perform some of the “original” WOD’S correlated well with these “high intensity” professions. This kind of training conveniently packaged the concept of mental fortitude and psychological toughness and made it available to “the masses”.
 
As more people found out about the Crossfit Method, and as the organization grew, Greg Glassman began issuing challenges at his gym in southern California. He wanted to find the toughest and the fittest and the most durable. He wanted to find the fastest, the strongest, the most resilient. A few people stepped up and said they would test themselves against the program Glassman created. Greg Amundson and Annie Sakamoto are two names that always come to mind, and I am sure you can find a few more if you really look hard. These few became known as “Firebreathers”. Their goal was to find the “most fit”. Their goal was train for the unknown and also the “unknowable”. Their intent was to create a system that could effectively prepare a person for ANY physical challenge or endeavor. All aspects of fitness were considered, generally described ¬†in the 10 components of fitness. It was suggested that the person who could perform best in each of these categories would be considered ¬†the “most fit”.¬†
 
How could someone be good at ALL these things? How could someone train in such a way as perform competently at ANY physical task? How was it possible to devise a system that sought to “punish the specialist”?¬† Were there people who sought out their weaknesses and worked to make them their strengths? Were their people who were willing to place themselves in difficult and uncomfortable situations, simply to see if they possessed the physical and mental character to not only survive, but to to thrive?¬†
 
The simple answer ¬†is “YES”. And they came in droves! People around the world began following “Mainsite” (www.crossfit.com) and performing the “Workout of the Day”. People started constructing home gyms in their garages and backyards. Videos began showing up on Youtube and slowly but surely, the movement began to grow. The first Crossfit Games was held on a small ranch in southern California, and was an “invite-only” event. There were roughly 200 athletes, and a man named James Fitzgerald was crowned “Fittest Man on Earth”. In the eight years since, the sport (and the community) grew exponentially. This year the Crossfit Games will be held at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, and it is estimated that more than 250,000 people worldwide will compete in the 2015 Crossfit Open.¬†
 
Whether you are a hopeful Games athlete, or you simply seek to stay fit and active as you age, Crossfit provides the template for self-discovery through hard work.  Through the competitive template of the Crossfit Open, we are able to test ourselves against each other and against the clock. More importantly, we are provided the opportunity to test ourselves against OURSELVES. We find our limits,  then we choose how to proceed from there. Can you push a bit harder? Can you lift a bit heavier? Can you continue moving just a bit longer? These are questions no one else can answer. I am looking forward to learning more about myself this year as I compete in the 2015 Crossfit Open. If you are competing or participating in the Open this year, I would love to hear your Crossfit story!! Drop me a line at tobias.shea.livingrevolution@gmail.com or leave a comment here!
 
As always, thank you for reading my words and for participating in the Living Revolution!! Until next time…Peace.Tobias.

Book Review: “The Sex Diaries Project” by Arianne Cohen

Hello and welcome to the Living Revolution!

Today’s post will be short and sweet because it is only an introduction. If you haven’t yet heard of Arianne Cohen, I suggest you check out her website www.ariannecohen.com. She writes on a wide array of topics, from being the tallest girl in the room to how to create a more organized cubicle. She brings a catchy sense of humor to her journalistic endeavors, and her perspective is both interesting and entertaining. I’m telling you all to check her out because I just finished reading her excellent book, “The Sex Diaries Project”.

That’s it, right there ^^^. Essentially, the book is a peek inside the collected (private) sex lives of modern Americans. A plethora of different relationship types are represented, and Cohen adeptly uses this large sample group to elucidate a few important common themes and practices that can be found in almost every relationship. Throughout the book, Cohen shows how people’s sex lives are driven by the shared needs, wants, and desires of individuals in a relationship and how dysfunction in a relationship (sexual or otherwise) is usually a result of unfulfilled needs and miscommunication. She also shows how sex can be used for a variety of different purposes, depending ¬†on the context of a given relationship. The personal, private nature of the diaries add a sense of share-humanity to this collection, and I found myself relating to more than a few of these candid stories.

Okay, I’m going to stop there. This book as a great read, and I am sure you will find something valuable in this book that you can apply to your own life. If this topic sounds a bit too risque for you, then I encourage you to check out some other works by Arianne Cohen, including “Help, It’s Broken: ¬†A Fix-It Bible for the Repair-Impaired”¬†and ¬†“The Tall Book: A Celebration of Life on High”. If you do check out this book, drop a comment here or send me an email and tell me what you think about Sex Diaries. ¬†As always, thank you for reading my words and participating in the Living Revolution :).

Until next time…Peace.Tobias.

excess doesn’t = success, success doesn’t mean excess

Hello, and welcome to the Living Revolution ūüôā

  I taught two Crossfit classes this morning, starting at the unholy hour of 515am. There is a very short list of activities I enjoy participating in at 515am, and teaching Crossfit classes is actually on that list.  I do this a few mornings a week, because I love it. I love that there are people who are crazy enough (and dedicated enough) to show up every morning and brace themselves against the rest of the day with a bout of intense exercise. I love being the first person in the gym. I love how quiet it is early in the morning, and how still it feels in the gym. I love writing the workout on the board, and then mentally rehearsing drills, points of performance and cues for the movements we are programming that day. I love coaching because it is something I am learning to be good at, and I am learning to be good at coaching because I love the work I do.

Strangely enough, I sat down to write today with the intent of complaining and whining about why I don’t get paid enough for what I do. This led to me complaining and whining about how I don’t get paid enough at my “job”. This led to a short(but frantic) Google search for part-time jobs, and being faced with the stark reality of the current job market. Which led to me complaining and whining about…you get the idea. But, when I sat down here to get all that out of my head, the above paragraph is what came out. The irony is not lost on me.

It is hard for me to describe why I struggle so hard with the idea of financial “success”. I get ideas twisted in my head, and somehow marry the ideas of happiness and success to financial gain, and¬†that union has always left a weird taste in my mouth. I think I have a skewed view of what is “not enough”. I definitely have a different perspective on what is “too much”. ¬†I’m not afraid of hard work. I’m not afraid to make sacrifices. Thankfully, so little in that regard is being asked of me. Instead, I feel a bit under-utilized. I feel like I’m holding myself back, or more accurately, I don’t know how to push myself forward. My ego is wondering what my real motives are, and where my loyalties lie. Can I simply continue to do what I love, share my vision¬†with other people, AND use these connections to help achieve my financial goals as well?

I keep coming back to words like cooperation and collaboration. I keep thinking in terms of combinations, adendums, and aggregate. What part can I play? What idea can I spread? How do our goals and passions intertwine? Am I making myself clear? But, I digress…

These words are a small step forward. The conversations that will resonate through each of you, will be other small steps forward. I encourage you to reach out to someone today and share an idea. Take some time and listen to someone else tell their story, or share their idea with you. How can you use me to benefit, and how can our partnership benefit us both? What can I help you do? What can we share? What can we create that manifests success beyond what we can imagine? Leave a comment, or send me a note and let’s get this train rolling. I can’t wait to see what kind of amazing stuff comes next! As always, thank you for reading my words, and for participating in the Living Revolution :). Until next time…Peace.Tobias.

 

Proficiency, Efficiency, and Excellence

proficiency = a high degree of competence or skill; expertise.

efficiency = the ratio of the work done or energy developed by a machine, engine,etc., to the energy supplied to it, usually expressed as a percentage.

excellence = the fact or state of excelling; superiority; eminence.
Hello, and welcome to the Living Revolution ūüôā
  The definitions above have been simplified, but I think it is hard to miss the meaning of these powerful words. How grandiose!! How magnificent!! The synonyms go on and on, but I want to talk more about the ideas represented by these three words. These terms were brought to mind after I attended a local weightlifting seminar, but as I ruminated on what these words mean, I was inspired by how they can be applied to any and all aspects of life.
When applied to the sport of weightlifting, or more broadly, the concepts of human movement, these terms follow a simple progression: develop proficiency first, maximize efficiency, then achieve excellence. Again, in terms of sport, every championship team and Greatest Of All Time athlete possesses these attributes. They dedicated their lives to developing a high level of proficiency, they supplied the passion to refine their chosen craft to leave behind only what brought success, they endured the gauntlet of challengers to establish their superiority.
  I started thinking about these words, and I started to get a little bit pumped up. I mean, what would happen in your family, your community, or the world, if we all started pursuing our lives with these ideas in mind? What if, even in the simplest tasks, we sought to develop expertise? What if we did even common tasks uncommonly well?
¬† Some of the worst parts of humanity stem from apathy and indifference. Our darkest moments are when we choose not to participate because of laziness or disinterest. Instead, let’s continue to evolve, and pursue excellence in all aspects of our lives. From the most mediocre task to the magnificent adventure, let’s begin to cut away the unnecessary bullshit, and strive for optimal efficiency. For every little action, for every little movement, for every posture and position you encounter throughout your daily life, I challenge you to develop unrivaled proficiency. Go out in the world today and BE AWESOME!
  Do you have some amazing ideas about how to apply the ideas of proficiency, efficiency and excellence? I would love to hear from you!! Drop me a line at tobias.shea.livingrevolution@gmail.com, or leave a comment below. Also, you can find me on Instagram now!! @livingrevolution (duh.).
¬† Thank you so much for reading my words, and as always, thank you so much for participating in the Living Revolution! Until next time…Peace.Tobias.

Basic Adaptation Errors

Hello, and welcome to the Living Revolution!

My ultimate goal with this blog is to help change the world in a positive way, on a consistent and sustainable basis. To that end, I will be posting a wide variety of content for your enjoyment :). I started a Youtube channel and will be adding videos on a regular basis, so be sure to check it out HERE. Also, if you are interested in learning more about where I am getting my inspiration these days, please check out MY READING LIST, and let me know if you have read anything lately that ties in with these subjects. Alright, enough about all that, let’s get to today’s post…

One of my goals as a coach is to teach people how to use small actions to help improve their daily lives. These changes sometimes involve NOT doing something destructive, and sometimes they involve the incorporation of new positive behaviors. ¬†Injuries and illness often result from repetitive destructive behaviors, but we can often avoid injury and illness by taking preemptive measures to live better lives. Today, I’m going to give you a short list of “basic adaptation errors” that take place in everyday life that can compound to create less-than-optimal living conditions. I’ll break each of these down in later posts, but for now, I want you to think about the actions listed here, and start figuring out how to avoid them in your own life!

BASIC ADAPTATION ERRORS

*Sleep Deprivation – healthy adults need 7-10 hours of sleep a night to function optimally. Make this a priority.

*Dehydration – drink about 1/2 your body weight in ounces every day, plus additional ounces if you train hard. Check HERE

*Poor Nutrition – pay attention to how you fuel your body, and how you use food to recover, more on this later.

*Prolonged Sitting – break up periods of sitting with 15 minutes of movement for every hour of sitting. Also, mobilize to avoid chronic bad position.

*Chronic inflammation – can result from a number of factors, including poor diet, high stress, overtraining, etc.

*Stress – more specifically “un-managed” stress. ¬†We’ll talk more about this later also.

Even with just this short list, you can begin to see how poor choices can stack on top of each other quickly to produce less-than-optimal performance. Today’s question addresses this list…

What “basic adaptation errors” are you making in your life, and how are you going to start making healthier choices?

Post your ideas and comments below, and let’s start changing the world in a positive way! Thank you so much for reading my words, and for participating in the Living Revolution! Peace.Tobias.

 

A Work in Progress

Hello, and Welcome to the Living Revolution ūüôā

Today’s post is going to be short and sweet. Summer has been crazy and amazing! The kids went back to school this morning, and I am doing my best to get back in the groove of sharing my thoughts here and trying to make the world a better place, one day at a time. My goal this year is to enrich the Living Revolution experience, and to help keep me accountable to this blog, and all of you, I’ve been working on a few ideas to discuss. As always, I welcome any interaction from anyone who reads these words, and I would appreciate comments and inquiries that help drive these discussions towards action. I did some intense reorganization over the summer, and I am feeling like I need to make use of this space before I lose the opportunity.

So, henceforth, prepare yourselves. I’m sure it will be a bit random and chaotic here until I can find a nice groove, so I appreciate your patience :). To start things off, (again), I’ll leave you with a question…

On a daily basis, how do you manifest your uniqueness in the world?

If you read this, drop a quick reply to let me know you are “out there”. Thanks for reading my words, and for participating in the Living Revolution!