My Blog Has Moved!

With the latest update to my website, I can now blog from there! WordPress has been good to me, but I’m excited to blog from my own platform.

If you want to keep seeing my content you have two options.

  1. You can friend me on Facebook, where I share all my new articles.
  2. You can sign up for my newsletter

Either way, I hope you’ve enjoyed my articles and I hope I haven’t lost you as a reader!

Cheers!

P.S. I have an instagram now! Follow me @mortonfitness

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Getting Back In The Fitness Game After Time Off

My workouts are feeling dismal these days.

I started lifting again last week. I haven’t touched a weight in 3 months save for one or two random instances in the Philippines.

As for structured strength training, I’ve been out of the game for a while. I definitely can’t lift as much as I used to.

i-haz-a-sad

It’s not easy getting back into the old routine. Everything feels off. Your brain and your body aren’t on the same level. The brain says, “Fuck yeah I can do that!”. The body’s like, “What a stupid thing to think!”

It’s frustrating. It feels like all your hard work has gone down the tubes. Like you’ve backtracked.

These feelings, while totally valid, don’t accurately represent the reality of our progress.

We NEVER start from square one. We can’t.

Our past experiences will always be there. 

All of the mistakes, all of the lessons, all of the successes always provide the psychological and physiological backdrop for “getting back on the wagon”.

That said, there is no stupid wagon. It’s just you and your path.

Maybe you lift weights on your path, maybe you don’t. Either way you’re still on your path. Georgie Fear says, “the wagon symbolizes perfection”. I couldn’t agree more. There’s no wagon because perfection doesn’t exist.

There’s no single a-ha moment where you figure everything out and it’s smooth sailing from there on out.

This shit’s hard and you WILL learn to navigate the diverse and difficult terrain that comprises your fitness journey. You aren’t off the path because you’re struggling. The obstacles ARE the path.

I compare fat loss to climbing a mountain. A wagon is poor way to climb a mountain.

Remember how long it took the first time. It’ll go faster this time around, but be patient. In weightlifting, not checking the ego can be dangerous. Respect the iron and the time off you took. There is only one speed to move forward at, and that’s whatever speed will build momentum you can maintain.

Be patient. Accept where you’re at.

Does it feel sucky maxing out on a weight that used to be a warm up? Of course. But if I fool myself into thinking I’m as strong as I was, I’m going to hurt myself and be out of the game again.

And the last thing I want is to take 3 months off and not even get a vacation out of it.

 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Get in touch at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/

Obligatory New Year’s Resolution Post: Two Cents

I doubt this is the first piece you’ve read on 2016 New Year’s resolutions.

Every year the internet surges with reads on the topic. So I figured, hell why not? Might as well contribute. My voice matters dammit! Give me attention!!!! 😛

There’s nothing inherently wrong with New Year’s resolutions. Hell, props to anyone who decides to try to better themselves however they feel is proper. There are, however, some problems around the way most tackle these resolutions.

At any rate, here’s my two cents on why resolutions usually don’t stick.

Cent number one: Light Switch mentality

Change isn’t a light switch. Just because we decide we want change doesn’t mean we can just make it happen instantaneously. If only!

We can’t just flip a switch to make everything bright and clear. Change takes time, patience, and lots of missteps. We gotta be in it for the long haul.

“I’m going to do it right this year!” is light switch thinking. Now there’s nothing wrong with doing things correctly, depending on how we define “correct”.

If “correct” is defined as an arbitrary version of perfectionism we’ll run into some problems. We doom ourselves to fail by making perfection the only definition of success.

The brain is a complicated of machinery. It’s probably the most complicated piece of machinery on the planet, besides my microwave’s interface.

microwave fail

The brain is way too complicated to treat it like a light switch. It’s more like a dimmer switch, a dimmer switch that makes us solve an intricate puzzle before we make the room slightly brighter.

Change takes time and is far from linear. We need to be realistic about this to succeed.

Cent two: Doing everything all at once

Our chances of success with a new behavior vastly decrease with each component we add.  

Here’s what happens:

When we attempt to change one thing at a time there is an 80% chance of success. 2 things at a time? 50% chance of success. 3 things? 20%.

That’s a huge drop-off! Now imagine working on a bajillion things at once. The odds won’t be in our favor, no matter how steadfast we may be.

Working on one reasonable behavior at a time is much more effective.

We gotta slow the hell down.

Know what you ultimately want to achieve, then pick one small thing to work on. Once that thing is easy, add another thing.

Progress is progress. It will feel slow, and that’s fine. Slow progress is progress that sticks. Slow progress ends the yo-yoing.

Resolutions fail because we try to white knuckle through them. Then on January 14th, we say fuck it, throw our hands in the air, and forget all about the resolutions we were so stoked on two weeks ago. The two week mark seems to be when our willpower reserves get tapped.

Luckily, I have a shameless plug.

As a matter of pure coincidence(I wish I was smart enough to have done this intentionally), my online coaching group will be starting on January 15. Online group coaching offers accountability and the opportunity to grow and progress as a community to keep moving forward way beyond that two week barrier.

Reserve your spot in the group here!

Weekly Fitness Reads: 12/14/15

http://erikanapoletano.com/fu-yoga

Showing up is truly the hardest part.

https://www.t-nation.com/training/shut-up-and-get-strong

Strength helps with pretty much everything. From fat loss, to helping your college buddy move his furniture, to beating the water temple without busting a capillary– getting stronger makes life easier. The good news is that for most, building strength isn’t super complicated. It may not be easy, but it ain’t complicated.

http://anymanfitness.com/fitness-traps-to-avoid-stupid-social-norms/

Admittedly, I decided to share this after the first sentence. I would, however, add one more element to this article. Not giving a fuck is great for fitness goals. However, taken to an extreme this can also be a trap. Being enraptured with fitness goals to the point of social isolation, as I was, is not healthy. It’s a very lonely place to be and I don’t recommend it. That said, it’s definitely worth considering which social norms regarding food are important to us.

Weekly Fitness Reads:11/30/15

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/healthy-habits-youre-already-doing

I love this. Saying the we need to change our behaviors to get results can be somewhat misleading. Yes, somethings will need to change but that doesn’t mean we need to change everything. Often times this change just means doing more of the things we are already doing. Most people eat some sort of colorful plant at some point, so that means we don’t need to completely flip around are eating habits, just that we need to increase the frequency of this one behavior that we are already doing.

http://tonygentilcore.com/2015/11/5-mobility-exercises-youve-probably-never-done-but-should/

Dean knows his shit. And he has a new product that I’m pretty damn excited to try out. Mobility has been gaining some traction in the fitness world, and for good reason. However, the purpose and concepts of mobility are often misunderstood and misapplied. This piece not only gives some great drills but also provides information on proper application and usage.

http://seanarmstrongfitness.co.uk/2015/11/26/get-food-diet/

I thought this was a pretty good explanation of how satiety and calories work, as well as how to balance them. It’s an important concept for sure. It’s OK, and I would argue necessary, to be full after most meals.  Leaving a meal satisfied means we don’t end up getting hangry and eating a tub of Phish Food when the new season of House of Cards comes out. Not that there is anything wrong with doing that(that’s probably exactly what I’ll do when the time comes). However, doing that too often can be counterproductive for weight loss goals. 

Weekly Fitness Reads: 11/16/15

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/that-fit-person-whos-got-it-all-together-doesnt

It’s pretty easy to feel like we’re alone, like nobody else has the same problems that we do. How could we not feel like this? All we ever really see are people’s highlight reels, especially when it comes to social media. I think the issues discussed in this piece are essential if the fitness industry is going to actually help people.

http://www.adampine.com/uncategorized/sumo-and-conventional-deadlift/

Have you heard about how deadlifts are awesome and the answer to pretty much everything? Have you also heard that deadlifts will launch your spine across the room? Here is the answer to your apprehension and confusion. This comprehensive guide to deadlifting will get you started with the two common variations of the king of all lifts. All I can say is that I wish I had this article when I first started lifting.

https://www.t-nation.com/training/40-workout-strength-challenge

I’ve done this lifting protocol several times and my strength always goes through the roof. Pick one lift from each category: Push, Pull, Squat, Hinge, Carry. Do 2 sets of 5 reps for each lift 5 days a week. Keep the weights around 50%-60% intensity range. Get stronger. Easy enough, right?

Is It Worth It?

“Sonofa%*^%^$^S$&*Balls*(&^(%Cranberry&%*^($!!!!”

These were the words that escaped my lips ever so gently as an excruciating pain ripped through my ankle. I cautiously glanced at my foot. My ankle looked like an anaconda that hadn’t fully digested yesterday’s brunch of sautéed capybara .

Clutching my leg and attempting to gather my thoughts, I surveyed the flat, open farmland, which was quite beautiful at that time of day actually. My mind was elsewhere though. I was slightly more concerned with the large grapefruit that had blossomed in my foot.

My house was at least good hundred yards away, and the dry, flakey dirt was riddled with gopher holes. I looked up at the roof towering above my curled up frame. Doing my best to avoid the ubiquitous gopher holes, I grabbed my skateboard and hobbled away using my board as a cane. It didn’t work that well, but it was better than nothing I suppose.

Ow.Step.Ow.Step.Ow.Step.Ow.Step.Ow.Fuck.Ow.Step.Ow…etc.

Half an hour later I made it to the door of my house. When my sister saw me clumsily limping into the air conditioned refuge of my house, she gave a tremendous sigh, “What the hell did you do?”

“Ah, nothing it’s fine, just a sprain”.

scratch

My thinking at the time.

It wasn’t a sprain. I didn’t know it yet but that shiz was broken.

I had to get surgery. It was balls.

I spent a lot of time that summer getting sighed at. Many shook their heads in my general direction. Here’s the thing though:

I regret nothing. NOTHING!

regret

My thinking now.

Well sure, I regret breaking my ankle. But I don’t regret the attempt at skateboarding off that roof. I don’t regret taking the risk. I was fully aware of the potential repercussions of this dangerous hobby of mine. I wasn’t jumping off the roof expecting to land in the soft embrace of fluffy clouds. Don’t get me wrong, it would have been pretty sweet if I could have Gandalfed off the roof, but I knew that was wishful thinking.

There were plenty of attempts where I DIDN’T break my ankle. In fact, there were significantly more attempts where my ankle didn’t break than did. The outcome of that final attempt was less than desireable, but I still don’t regret it, even after being chided by every single nurse in Tracy General Hospital. If I would have succeeded(which I actually did the day prior, I’ll have you know) I probably wouldn’t have received the same amount of flack. That’s kind of the nature of risk taking– sometimes you get wrecked and end up spending an entire summer playing Banjo-Kazooie on the couch(which was actually pretty sweet) waiting for your ankle to heal so you can jump off more shit, that’s why it’s a risk.

banjo kazooie

At the time, jumping off the roof was worth the potential pride and satisfaction I would incur if I rolled away. The feeling of conquering my fear was worth it. And no, I’m not recommending jumping off the roof. It’s important to take risks, but we must be fully aware of whether or not the potential risk is worth the potential reward for us.

People who don’t take risks, don’t achieve much. Fear of failure, ridicule, or even success holds us back. That’s just how it works. Fear is the mind killer.

That said, when you break your ankle, people will give you shit. Hell, people will give you shit when you succeed. The only way to not have people give you shit is to be spectacularly ordinary. And who the hell wants that?

Anyways, I digress. I want to talk about analyzing the risks and rewards of our fitness attempts.

Answering the question from last week’s post, “Just because I can do something, should I?” entails analyzing not only risks and rewards, but how our priorities and values line up with said risks and rewards.

Looking at our goals is a good starting point. Once we have clear goals it becomes easier to weigh the risks and rewards. Because no matter what we do there is a risk. Always. It might not be the risk of a broken bone, but maybe a missed opportunity. By attempting to take no risks at all, I am risking stagnation. That said some risks are unnecessary. For example, it’s unnecessary to take every set of squats to failure if the goal is to get stronger.

Here some questions that can help clarify what we are doing, why, and if it’s really what we want to be doing:

What are my goals that I am trying to achieve with this strength training program? Then rank these goals in order of importance to you.

Why are these goals important to me? Write down every single reason why each goal is important to you. Every. Single. Reason. All of them. Dig deep into this. Like your trying to evolve your Diglett into a Dugtrio.

dugtrio

What are the potential benefits? What is the likelihood of the these benefits if I continue doing what I’m doing?

What are the risks? What is the likelihood of these risks?

Are the risks worth the potential benefits?

Is there a way that I can still reap the benefits while minimizing the risk? i.e. eliminating unnecessary risks?

Am I acting in concordance with my values? With the things that are important to me?

The question, “Is it worth it?”, doesn’t have an objective answer. Only the individual can decide this for themselves.

So now, after answering the questions listed above, I ask you this:

Would you still jump off the roof?