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The Pursuit Of Excellence

The Pursuit Of Excellence


Posted By on Oct 6, 2013

The Pursuit Of Excellence   In this article, we continue the journey we began in The Pursuit Of Fitness, and explore the idea that there is a fundamental attitude that can improve our success not only in fitness, but in life.     We are always practicing something. The question is, what are we practicing? How? And, does it really matter?   How We Practice Matters   I contend that it matters a great deal; how we practice in large part determines the quality of our lives.  I’m not talking about setting time aside for skill development (though this is important too). I’m talking about our very attitude and approach to how we live our lives. “Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” Mahatma Ghandi Here’s the crux of it: excellence. Excellence knows no bounds. Excellence is not constrained to any one domain of life; a pursuit of excellence encompasses all of life, all of our activities. It is a fundamental attitude which, if pursued with mindfulness and perseverance, creates extraordinary possibilities and fulfillment in our lives.   Excellence And Exercise   An attitude of excellence is the foundation for safe, progressive training. Without a commitment to excellence, we will accept mediocre technique, and mediocre technique performed under load and over time is a recipe for structural damage and injury. A less obvious risk is that we will fail to pursue mastery of the fundamentals, and advance our progression faster than we should, reducing our effectiveness and exposing ourselves to more risk over time. It takes more focus to pursue virtuosity in basic exercise technique than it does to rush into advanced skills, and will yield greater benefits long-term. Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.Jim Rohn As goal-getting activities, exercise and sport have no peers. They are the most direct, progressive, and reliable way to achieve physical goals. As such, these are powerful practices for building confidence and self-efficacy, which carry over into the rest of our lives. Thus, an exercise routine is extremely valuable as a keystone habit. Yet it can be more than that. Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.Vince Lombardi Excellence Beyond Exercise   When we think of exercise, we commonly think of it as a physical activity, constrained to physical goals and results. Rarely do we consider deeper benefits, which extend into the mental, emotional, and even spiritual dimensions. The pursuit of excellence has been recognized through...

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Wisdom Is…

Wisdom Is…


Posted By on Aug 22, 2013

I once had a card I kept for a long time. On it was written the compelling phrase “Wisdom is knowing what to do next.” Having had plenty of direction changes in my life, it seemed wise indeed to know what to do next. However, I now identify more strongly with the wisdom of Socrates, the full-service gas station attendant and Dan’s enigmatic mentor in “The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior” (one of my all-time favorite books, see the review here). Socrates, in challenging Dan’s know-it-all attitude, asks him “Do you know how to wash a windshield?” to which Dan’s answer is a quick “Of course I do!” Socrates then tosses him the squeegee. “Wisdom is doing it.”   This take on the relationship of knowledge and wisdom speaks to me in my life’s experience. To say that knowledge is necessary yet not sufficient to achieve intended outcomes, and that wisdom is expressed in the doing of those things; this is a truth for me. Knowing makes no difference at all, if the knowing is not somehow applied. Whether this doing looks like training, getting into nature, doing my mobility work, eating properly, cleaning the kitchen, researching and reading online, or sitting in meditation – the thing that makes the difference ultimately is the doing. Knowing helps us do more effectively or efficiently; but a state-of-the-art GPS won’t get you anywhere if you don’t get in, fire it up, and go. Dealing as I am now with a fairly serious disc injury in my low back, developed over years of wear-and-tear and not a small amount of neglect, I ask myself “How would my back be different today if I’d actually applied my best knowledge about how to maintain functional core strength, mobility, and spinal postural integrity?” How would my life be different? And given the maxim that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, how much time, effort, resources and pain have been wasted due to my neglect of doing what was needed – my neglect of the wisdom of doing? What about you? Do you see any areas of your life where you know more than you do? Share your insights in a...

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Kudos to Peter Attia for having the courage and compassion to voice this so humbly and sincerely – and to challenge convention to rethink this. It takes courage and great humility to speak the way he did, especially considering his audience – a room largely dominated by very successful doctors and scientists, at TEDMED 2013. Check out the video here:   As a fellow human being, my gratitude to him for opening his heart.  As a fellow health professional (despite my being a “layperson”), my gratitude to him for opening his mind. And as a global citizen, my gratitude to him for sharing better knowledge. However, I disagree that we can’t prescribe better today.   Dr. Attia says it will take more research to find definitive answers: “I know it’s tempting to want a prescription right now – eat this, not that.” “But if we want to get it right, we’re going to have to do much more rigorous science to write that prescription.” Not so. I want more hard research for sure – many of the studies to date have glaring holes in them at least – but we know enough. It appears from my research that the science on fat metabolism has been clear since the 1960’s at least. What’s been screwed up has been assumptions, interpretations, and the politics of it. As a health and fitness professional, and even moreso as a human being with a scientific and engineering mindset, I have a prescription to offer. Here it is: My Prescription to reverse/avoid metabolic syndrome/diabetes(II): FOOD: 1. Feed the lean body mass: Favor protein in your diet over carbs – Practical advice: shop for protein by price/unit – Aim for protein:carb ratio around 1:1 (as a guideline, with plenty of flexibility per-meal) 2. Favor whole plant-based foods 3. Avoid processed and refined fats, sugar, and starch 4. Source matters: eat organic whenever possible; animal sources naturally-raised free of hormones, antibiotics, GMO feed – grassfed matters to the lipid profile and vitamins EXERCISE: 1. Exercise hard enough to stimulate muscular and metabolic adaptation – Recover well: 1. Utilize immediate post-workout window for recovery nutrition favoring protein 2. Drink plenty of water 3. Sleep well and sufficiently ENVIRONMENT: 1. Avoid toxins (plasticizers, artificial sweeteners, GMOs, pharmaceuticals) That’s my general prescription. What’s yours? Anything to add, amend, or disagree with in this? I’d love to hear about it, please leave a comment...

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Posted By on Sep 11, 2008

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News


Posted By on Sep 11, 2008

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Links


Posted By on Sep 11, 2008

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