Hitting the Redline: Six Week Fitness Self-Assessment

PressAfter the last competition’s poor showing I decided I needed to train smarter and more comprehensively. Problem is I don’t seem to be responding to high volume or heavy weight (90+% of max) as well as I used to. At least as often as I was training. My focus on overhead pressing left everything else weaker, and that was just getting in the way.

I read a StrongFirst article on training the seven basic movements, [SEVEN] BASIC HUMAN MOVEMENTS. Dan John’s five fundamentals I knew of, however the rotational and counter-rotational patterns I didn’t. I researched what would fit the template of Push, Pull, Hinge, Squats, Loaded Carry, and the two rotationals. I found I could just add a Figure 8 to Hold and Farmer Walks to the program I was on. I also changed the Rear Lunges to Tactical Lunges from the ETK Special Report #2.

So I now have six exercises to program: Get-Up, Bent-Over Row, One-Hand Swings (counter-rotational and hinge pattern), Tactical Lunges, Figure 8 to Hold, and Farmers Walks. Last week I tried to superset them: push/pull, hinge/squat, rotation/carry. I got tired a little quicker than I thought, so I tried it as a circuit. That way I’ll hit everything at least once. When I can’t do a Get-Up with good form I’ll be done with that day’s training. My goal is 5 rounds, then I’ll shave time off my rest periods until I’m at :30 seconds. Then I’ll weight and increase my rest back to where it was and start over.

I had been dropping to only training a full session twice a week and partially one other day. So I will listen to my body, cut my training to twice a week, Monday and Friday with plenty of recovery in between. Plus I’ll continue building up to a handstand push up and if I’m particularly froggy, sprint.

Let’s see what body composition I’m starting with:

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.25                14.20              -.05

Shoulders                      43.5                  43.2              -.30

Chest                              37.5                   37.5                      +0.5

Waist                             32.75                     32.5         -0.25

Biceps                           12.5              12.5               0

Forearms                      11.            11.1                        +0.1

Thighs                         21.25                 21.1                    -0.15

Calves                          13.5                   13.5                      0

Weight                  153.6lbs          152        -1.6lbs

Body Fat %                16.1%                15.6%         -0.5%

Lean Body Mass    128.9lbs            128.3         -0.6lbs

They Did What!?

I watched someone publicly fall from grace unsurprised at the emotional outpouring of the social media jury. Having been on the receiving end of it, I learned the wisdom of staying above the emotions and investigating the full story coolly. What surprised me was some of the responses from Christians in the lack of grace, and reconciliation. It is a common response to scandals so I will not have to detail which one.

You can come back from anything, that is the power of the Gospel’s message.

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10: 9

Moses killed a person, ran, and was later called to lead a newborn nation. Peter, the Rock of the church, denied Jesus three times and weeks later preached a message that led over 3000 to the same Christ he had denied. Paul persecuted and murdered Christians and later became one of the greatest missionaries who reasoned on street corners, with philosophers, and Roman rulers. Some modern examples, like Ron Bronski who tried to murder a rival gang member and ran. Later, he found Jesus and turned himself in years later after the police stopped looking for him. The judge, shocked by the turnaround, did not send him to prison. Do you know an addict? Have you seen one turn their lives around? There is reconciliation and redemption.

The tendency to stone each other, disown them, and turn away is in all of us. Just because we are forgiven does not mean we can do whatever, something that Paul reminded the Galatians of in Galatians 5:13-15. He knew the inner war to get self-righteous and give in to his base nature, as a Pharisee that was one of the charges Jesus leveled at them often. I have detailed my tendency to do the same like when my wife tells me what is going on with this person or that one. I am usually checking off different things on a ‘checklist’, the deeds of the flesh are apparent and I am guilty of much of what is listed in Galatians 5: 19-21. When we behave with strife, angry outbursts, disputes, among other things; we look just like everyone else. The only difference others see between the Christian and everyone else is they ‘wear a cross and know some verses.’

We have to repeatedly kill that part of us, as detailed in Galatians 5:24 and Romans 12: 1-2. The good news is we do not have to do it in our own strength. In John 15, particularly verses 6-8, Jesus said those that remain in him would produce much fruit. It is evidenced by the attitude change that Paul called the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22-23. Alone, we are like batteries, plugged in, and drained until it is recharged again until it cannot hold the charge anymore and then it is tossed out. The other option is hooking a power cord to a nuclear power plant and never running low. Paul closes Galatians 5 by admonishing us to walk in the Spirit, to not be boastful or jealous.

Now that we have pulled the planks from our eyes and passed around the Visine, the question remains. What about when a Christian sins? Paul also dealt with that in his letter to Galatia (modern day Turkey). Those who are mature and responsive to the Holy Spirit should set them right, restore, and reinstate them. Doing it without a sense of superiority, but with gentleness, being careful to not fall themselves. If our ego or pride in ourselves rises, then we are not the ones for the job; in fact, I would probably be the first one disqualified.

What I can do, what we are called to do in Galatians 6: 2-5, is to listen and encourage, because we are all broken deep down. We are all willfully messed up, and an open ear with encouraging words is what we would want instead of being stoned and left bleeding. When we do well, we can be happy and proud of it, butLove one another not by comparing ourselves to others. If you want to do that, compare yourself to Christ and see how boastful you can be in light of that. Verse 5 has this reminder, everyone has to bear the responsibility of their actions as they walk the earth; that person’s load does not make yours any lighter.

We are missing at times the very thing that made the early Christians stand out. That is the love they had for each other and everyone outside of the early church. A love that is more than a feeling; it was put into action to care for others. Where is that today in our lives?

My Purpose?

GriefShare ended last month, the lessons at time paralleling my experiences during introspective moments that I’ve shared on here. Two of the things that stuck out to me were the terms ‘new normal’ and ‘moving forward’ as opposed to moving on. When someone dies, it leaves a hole in our lives; our adapting to the loss is what sets the new normal as we grieve. We move forward from that, acknowledging what we lost and continuing our lives. It is not moving on as if they never lived; I could not forget even if I had wanted to.

What is my new normal, I wondered. During the last video, I made a list:

  • Encouraging others because others encouraged me when I needed it. I used to be reclusive, however, lately if someone is in my circle, I try to show them someone cares. They do not have to be close friends, but friends, acquaintances, the next generation, showing support, listening, and taking time for those that others may overlook.
  • Helping others, generally through one of the ministries, people that appear in my life, or projects that spring up.
  • Occasionally counseling others.

Summing it up, the new normal focuses on others now. What does moving forward look like overall? There is a quote in the workbook:

“If you don’t know your purpose, this is a great opportunity to discover it.” Sabrina D. Black

That resonated with me in light of my introspection as of late. When something happens, or people interact, it causes a ripple that we respond to negatively, neutrally, or positively. Circumstances help shape us by the experience, and we respond to it by internalizing it into the unique way we are designed. Our purpose we find within our design. Circumstances and consequences give us the experience to adapt it, showing us that we are capable. I will elaborate in light of the last post.

A Reformer + Peacemaker = Idealist who loves to learn. Due to the personality of the Reformer type, he has to justify his ideal and choices. He studies deeper than reasonable because of his learning drive and desire to be right and good. Done right and it produces someone who tries to walk his talk. Tempered with the Peacemaker wing/influence helps build bridges.

He is not actively pursuing, but interacting within the circles, he travels because he is also introverted. However, new people keep popping up at just the right time without his looking for them. Taking this design and adding the spiritual gift of service and he’s able to push his boundaries a little, helping behind the scenes. This puts him into contact with other people and relationships are built.

Cap SpeechMy purpose? Well I still fill the gaps, just on a deeper level than I realized. A multi-level gap filler who can give a hand, steward a cleaning team, answer questions, and give advice. Part of the legacy my godson unknowingly left is teaching me there is more to life than myself. He gave me a greater appreciation of life and the experiences of it being what is important. The others we lost, friends and family, taught me sympathy because I know what it is like to hurt. The trauma taught me my limits, the darker side of life, which gave me a greater appreciation of life. Tempered with humility, the realization that in spite of all that has happened throughout my life here, others have it worse.

My purpose…is to help to the best of my ability.

What Are You Made Of?

About this time of the year for the last three years, I spend a few weeks poking around deep inside me. 2013 was Forging Ronin when I was looking for some coherence and internal structure. Then it broke, and I went in again last year with the ‘simple’ goal of being a good man. This year it is not so much who, more like “why?” I see how I tick, the worst and best sides of me, so how does it fit and for what purpose?

Last two times, I arranged the results of the various assessments like this:

Cone of Motivation + Soul Diamond + Myers/Briggs Personality Test =?

This time, I was thinking about where the Enneagram fits, and realized the whole stack was off. Of the four tools only one has shifted, the Soul Diamond. The base is your personality type, then the thing that drives you, then your enneagram type, and finally the Soul Diamond. It has changed, though I wonder if it corresponds with the enneagram’s Levels of Development. Therefore, I am subtracting it.

At the base level, I am an ISTJ – the tool explains to me how I relate to the world and people. The Myers/Briggs details how you get mental energy (Introvert/Extravert), perceive the world (Intuitive/Sensing), make decisions (Thinking/Feeling), and react to the world (Judging/Perceiving). I am energized by time alone, take in the world through my senses, decide with my head, and like order. What has always driven me is to learn. I have read almost anything that interested me over the desire to do anything else. If I want to do something, I have to read up on it first.

Now we are with the new kid, the Enneagram – it is a more in-depth personality test with ancient roots. After testing three times and doing  much research, I found that I fell into the Type 1 with a Nine Wing, which means I am not a pure type. Most are not, in fact. According to the Enneagram Institute, the Type 1 “Reformer” influenced by the Type 9 “Peacemaker” is an “Idealist”. It took some digging to figure out what that meant.

For me, it is having a rational, easy-going personality that is humble and idealistic. Being principled, purposeful, while exhibiting self-control and fighting the urge to be perfectionistic. That would spiral into self-righteousness rather quickly as personal history has proven. The basic fears of the Type(s) are being wrong and/or bad along with loss or separation. This feeds the basic desires of the Type(s) is to be good and right, to have stability. That is the topical look at that, and when I read deeper, I could see questions I had for years about myself during introspection answered.

What does all this mean?

I am not self-made, I picked none of these traits; instead, it’s a design tailor made for a purpose. When you see me, you see an observant, introspective person who spends his solitude in a book. Then what he reads is thought through and applied; sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. While he does not lead a charge, he does like to share what he is doing to be better, at least as an example.

I was born with that nature. While I said I was not self-made, I am self-directed. On a personal level we are behind the wheel. It is about what we do with the design we have, talents, and the education of experience. Knowing this, we have a more honest assessment of what we bring to the table, and how it can be used. I do not have a plan for me, just some ideas that need more fleshing out, but where I am at does not hurt either. Living my faith, and writing about what comes out of that, along with helping whoever crosses my path. Every one of those encounters causes a ripple in someone’s life that effects them and whoever sees them. What waves are you making?

Walking, Talking Miracles

Reflecting after a conversation with my wife the other day, I realized something. We should not be here, yet we are. Is it an accident, are we accidents? A picture on Imgur that a science site linked to broke down the odds of a person being born. It’s nearly zero, however, you are still reading this.

The question remains…why are you here?

Several verses in the Bible speak of God knowing us before we are born, Him forming us in the womb, particularly in my favorite Psalm, the 139th. If He is doing all that, possessing knowledge of our lives since before creation, the answer is clear to me. You are not an accident; you are here for a reason.

That is well and good, so what is the reason.

That is something I am still working on myself, other than the ultimate reason of having a relationship with God through Jesus, and that depends on the choice we make. As to a purpose, I am finding my own inner workings in tandem with encounters are giving me both indicators and learning moments. I will delve deeper into that later, but I will give you two examples now.

I was asked by someone why they deserved to live during a down moment for them. I asked some clarifying questions (because of a book I read), said a quick prayer for wisdom, and gave the answer that has roots in many places. My inner workings demanding that I justify every decision I make sent me into Christian theology and apologetics, which I could tie together to help them. I have to understand who, what, why and how, and that knowledge can help others if they are in a situation I can help with.

The second was when a friend was helping me after my godson died. With his military and law enforcement background, he walked with me through the trauma, PTSD, and the legal system. To look at us, you would not think we had anything in common, yet he is my best friend. We intersected each other at just the right time.

Serendipity or was he placed there through circumstances?

What I will be doing a year or ten years from now, I have no idea. Will I still be in the same job, in the same ministries, and circle of friends? I cannot say, you cannot say; I can only say one thing – we will be making some difference in others’ lives and them in ours. You make a difference and may not realize it.

There is a reason you are here, do not forget that.