(Mostly) Mind (this week)
"The dream you are living is your creation. It is your perception of reality that you can change at any time. You have the power to create hell, and you have the power to create heaven. Why not dream a different dream? What not use your mind, your imagination, and your emotions to dream heaven?"
- Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements (Love More, Fear Less - it's inspirational as hell)
I often think of my life in terms of macro/micro training periodization cycles - here's a very simple picture to visualize how training periodization works (simply put, purposeful waves (gotta love me some water analogies). There are cycles of grinding and maxing out, testing your limits - but in order to grow and optimally perform, these challenging times must be followed my rest, relaxation, and recovery.
In life, these 'down' periods (transition phases) take the form of reflection, allowing one to process absorbed knowledge and experiences, sometimes realize what you've even accomplished, and take a moment to learn from the past. If you push too far without this, a lot of the hard work and training will go to waste, you risk injuring yourself, you burn out, and you simply become over-trained, not yourself and no longer involved and benefiting from the process.
I'm fortunate to be in school where this type of transition phase is worked into my schedule (aka SPRANG BREAK!!). While many chose to take exotic trips or raging cruises - what I needed for a break was time to simply pause. This week was an active recovery week.
Of course, no surprise...I walked into this week with ambitious intentions - the business plans I would write, the personal projects I'd complete, etc. Yet, the moment I finished those final exams and completed the long trek home...all I could do was sleep (and eat). I had no idea how (unnecessarily) exhausted I was.
Three years ago when I was forced to do nothing but think during my hip surgeries, something I never paused and stopped to do, I promised myself that I would intentionally plan time for this in the future, as it is essential for growing (or else, like stated early, you burn out, or get sick, off-track, etc. and eventually are forced to stop).
Often times my greatest ideas, insights and intuitions come to me after I've taken a break for a few days. Like a taper from training - at first I feel 'off' or may question if I've even put in my best work, if it was good enough, could I have done better. Will it pay off in the end? In sports and life, there's uncertainty at this point because the work's behind you. However, along the way you trusted in the process, so shouldn't you believe in the outcome?
At about Day 5, as in training, I hit this point where everything starts to come together. The accumulation of learning, work, and experiences..my training…and I realize "I still got this"…I'm on the right track. I'm thinking like myself. This "performance test" comes in many forms, often life challenges, ideas or direction for what's next.
When training, it's hard to stay in your own lane. We all have different goals - if you train or do the same as the person in the other lane, you will likely perform the same as them. If that's your goal, then that can be a beneficial training strategy...however, today that's not my goal.
There's plenty to learn from those around you. Those you surround yourself with can serve as motivation, challenge you to be better, or simply be there to keep you on track and remember your goals. However, when your goals and dreams differ from the focus of those you are around, it's easy to lose sight of what you came here to do.
After any test of performance, it's essential to redirect your focus and make changes to the next cycle of your program according to what's working and what's not working (and also what you may want to try experimenting). As I head into my last "cycle" of this semester, the final weeks of grad school, it's a time to refocus and align with my goals. Following what I love, doing what aligns with my long-term goals, serving other's, and fearing less.
"Imagine living your life without fear of expressing your dreams. You know what you want, what you don’t want, and when you want it. You are free to change your life the way you really want to. You are not afraid to ask for what you need, to say yes or no to anything or anyone."
It's only after these tests you realize it was pretty damn irrational to have ever worried or questioned yourself. I believe this emotion does serve a purpose those - because without out any sort of discomfort, we would just casually go about things, perhaps not attentive, without anticipation, never feeling the extremes, no satisfaction or appreciation.
"Imagine living your life without being afraid to take a risk and to explore life. You are not afraid to lose anything. You are not afraid to be alive in the world"
This is why I've grown to love the process of business creation - it's often a game, an internal sport. There are no rules when you it comes to your original ideas, no process on how to take principles and concepts and turn them into creative advancements, no one to tell you what's the right way to go about it, no one is making you do it...there's only the optimal level of intrinsic motivation to create in a flow state...there's no wrong, there's only learning.
It's a game, because most of the time while there is a process and plan to the madness...I have no idea what I'm doing or what's going to happen until after I perform.
Spring Break involved lots of meals full of wholesome and fresh food from our greenhouse and chickens. I discovered the magic of frozen avocado's in smoothiess and experimented with improptu recipes when my friend and fellow foodie from school (s/o to Kristen) stopped through for a couple days to join me in eating and exercising all day.
If there's one thing for you to takeaway - I ask you to never waste a rotting avocado again. Dice and pop in the freezer for later use. Thank you.
Lots of yoga took place this week (where I was introduced to this week's quote)...a time for releasing and re-centering. I couldn't pass up the free time to create and introduce a new lifting phase, and I enjoyed two long, adventurous, warm, sunny bike rides on the C&O Canal.
Here's one of my favorite, fun workouts that kicked my ass:
Full Body Barbell + Dumbbell Blast (45 minutes)
- 10x each exercise, 3x each cycle
- Followed by 1 minute sprint
- Reverse Lunge
- Sprint: 1 min banded jumping jacks
- Push up
- Chest Fly
- Sprint: 1 min hops over barbell
3. CORE (I used a TRX and was in pushup position)
- Circles (5x each direction)
- Knees to elbows (Oblique crunches)
- Sprint: 1 min elliptical
- Chest Press
- Delt Row
- Rev Fly
- Sprint: 1 min hops over barbell
- Hip Trust
- Squat Pull-Through
- Lateral Lunge
- Sprint: 1 min banded jumping jacks
It's as hard as you want to make it depending on the weight and type of each exercise. The point is to move everything, keep your heart rate up, and challenge yourself...so it's a flexible workout format to switch in/out whatever you'd like.
Of course, much more has occurred these past months besides the thoughts between these two ears, what I (primarily) share to be occurring in the kitchen, and my gym chronicles.
I continue to be surrounded by loyal friends (and jeez..realize how lucky I am) and family who I cherish and share many special moments and relationships. I included some of the fun...but of course photos don't always do it justice.
make it a great week! - ap