30 jul. 2017

Plan the Work

For those who knew me in 2011, you may remember how busy and serious I was with my training. 6 days a week, several hours per day, planned, programmed training. Ultimate fitness was my motivation, mobility, power, strength... all in search to improve my Parkour skills. I could easily jump a 10ft gap, climb a 12ft wall, and vault almost any obstacle across. I had a purpose in my training, and in my training I had a crew, a family.

When I moved to the USA in late 2011 to study a masters, I never thought I was going to lose all of that but I did. Lost the several hours a day to train, and with that I lost the many days a week, the crew, the family, and the motivation.

Fast forward to 2017. It's been a few years now of back and forth between me and my fitness, sometimes winning, mostly losing. But don't be to quick to judge. I've had many complete life changes in the years between: new country, 3 new cities, new jobs... new life.

The main problem I face every time I "go back" is that I remember what I used to do. Not the exercises or the drills, but the amount and the intensity of them -I don't want to brag about it, but there's a reason I have the 300 t-shirt from Pkgen in my drawer- so, when I start training again and I start dying on the warm-up I get frustrated because... well, I guess you can start painting the picture.

But today I've chosen not to "go back", but to take my life in my own hands. How am I going to do this? Well... I'm going to plan the work and work the plan.

My problem is multi-layered:

  1. Complete lack of fitness
  2. Complex schedule
  3. No team, crew or "gym buddies" around to motivate me
  4. Being an overachiever, very quick frustration with lack of success

So, I'm attacking this systematically with a progressive self-imposed program, that I'm hoping is setting me up for success rather than for failure (as before).

1 - Complete lack of fitness

I may be exaggerating, I can still do 30 push ups in a row, but my fitness level is nowhere close of where it used to be, or where I want it to be. Even though I'm not fat nor completely flabby, knees hurt for so many hours sitting on the computer, back is weak, abs are soft as a pillow, forearms nonexistent. Stamina is low, endurance is very low, and mobility is basically nil (I'm stiff as a board).

What this means is I need to increase my load gradually. I need to make the conscious effort to not over do it trying to train as hard as I used to, but to start small and take my time to bring it up.

Also, I need to work on every area of my fitness: Cardio, Strength, Power, Mobility and Balance. I need to be smart on how I mix my workouts so I can work on every area every week. And I need to start with an assessment of sorts. I need to know where I really am.

2 - Complex Schedule

I have a weird schedule at work. It's supposed to be a 9-5, but I very rarely leave the office before 8pm. I've tried arriving earlier to try to shift the schedule, but the problem is that in this office life starts at around 2pm. We're starting meetings at 6pm almost on a daily basis. So arriving early only means working longer days, being more tired. This has taken me from scheduled gym sessions, classes, jams, etc.

So, after great debate, I've determined that the only real way to work around my weird-ass schedule is to workout in the am! I'm going to be honest: I hate it. I've never been a morning person. But it's either I do it, or I keep complaining about my love handles and my back pain for the rest of my life. Being uncomfortable is not that bad. Also, I want to become a bad-ass version of me. Can't imagine a more bad-asser Frix than an early morning bootcamp Frix!

3 - No team to motivate me

Ugh... This has been the greatest of all my excuses. All the way back to Mexico. If I didn't have somebody to train with, I wouldn't do it. Years later it's still an excuse. But not training because I don't have my buddies has to stop being what keeps me flabby and weak.

I also love to throw out that I don't like how the specific local community behaves, or trains. Like I'm only supposed to train with a specific type of people. And yeah, granted, everybody has a different style and different interests. But that shouldn't completely prevent me from training by myself.

It's taken me years to understand this, but if I train, I train for myself, not for my buddies. Yes, I'll have way more fun if I'm out at a jam, or at a crazy session with El Noir, but I can't just sit down and wait until someone has my same schedule and motivation on a very specific day. I should therefore have a baseline training schedule in which I train for myself, for my fitness, my strength, my skill and my technique and for those that depend on me. Then another one to just have fun or a crazier session with whoever wants to be with me.

4 - Easy to get frustrated

Yeah, this is specially true of lately. I don't know why, but it is what it is. I've tried to fight it and it just frustrates me more. What frustrates me? So man things... Everything! hahaha. But really, frustration comes from not seeing results. Immediate results. As I mentioned before, when I start working out I remember those crazy training sessions I used to have every week with Traceur Project, and not being able to train at that level without dying or getting hurt really frustrates me. It saddens me. It reminds me of how weak and unfit I am now, it's an "in your face!" reminder that I'm just a shadow of who I used to be.

At the end of the day, what really frustrates me is that the time keeps going by and I'm not doing anything to change things. Then it's pretty late at night and I'm just laying down on my bed thinking about all the things I could have done but didn't do...

I also found that I get rid off my frustration very easily when I blame someone else. Like the work schedule, or family events, or friends, or whatever. You name it. Excuses that actually make sense are the best outlets for my frustration.

Well, amigos, it's time to change all that. Time to start doing and stop complaining. Time to remind myself that it's not about being as strong as I was once, but about just being stronger than yesterday. Time to remember that it's my own life, my body, and therefore my responsibility. And if I'm not as strong, fit or mobile as I'd like it's because I'm not doing it, not because someone else is not letting me.

So, in conclusion...

What all this rambling means is that, a little bit of introspection never killed nobody. I'm learning about myself and about why I do or don't do the things I want. I may be to eager to blame others, but it's really all in my hands. My schedule, my fitness, my projects, my career... it's all mine, my life. It's all my own responsibility, so I'm the only one in charge of doing something about it.

So, what's the plan? The plan is to:

  • Wake up early and workout in the am.
  • Start slow and easy and gradually increase the load
  • Remind myself that whatever I do, I do for myself. And that there's people that depend on me, so I should better get my ass off the couch.
  • Don't expect immediate results, but commit to the program, commit to myself and be accountable.
This post is mostly for myself. But if you read all the way down here, thanks for keeping an eye on me.

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