New Years Resolutions are fading or, more likely, long gone. The novelty of posting on instagram with your daily fitness update seems silly now. Your progress has stunted and the couch and a bag of chips have become your besties again. If this is you, you are in the norm. More than half of people who set a resolution are centering it around health/fitness. Nearly 40 percent of resolutions don’t make it out of January and well over half will not see June.
The statistics are a little depressing for sure, but there’s good news. January 1st is, after all, just a day on the calendar. There isn’t something inherently unique or special about it. Any day of the year can be the reset, re-goal, reorient day. If you are in the falling off or done fell off (little bit of southern for ya) then use today, not tomorrow or the mythical Monday, as your reset point. Make the resolution a monthly, weekly and daily challenge. Have the courage to stick to your plan. It does take courage to chase a goal and be committed to something.
Here’s a checklist to follow when you realize you aren’t following through:
Step 1: Admit you need help and ask for it. Ask a coach, ask a friend, ask somebody to help you be accountable. If you are outside the walls of D5, this is a bit harder. Inside our walls reach out to us, if we haven’t already.
Step 2: Write your goal on paper (whiteboard, computer, mirror, whatever). Ironically (or is it?), we are about to do this at D5. Having goals visible makes them much more real. It is, by itself an accountability tool. Don’t underestimate it.
Step 3: Take baby steps. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” While cliche it means a lot. In a culture that is all about speed (fast food, grocery pickups, cell phones with everything, etc) we have lost how most progress is made. Slowly. Health and fitness are not light switches where you can flip it and lose 50 pounds in a day, week or month. (Whisper voice to bring you in closer) sometimes weight gain/loss goals take years.
Step 4: Keep track of your progress. Get yourself a cheap notebook and write down (again, there’s power in physically writing something down) each day what you did. At D5 we have a tracking software but there is something about seeing all the work you did on paper day after day. After six, twelve, eighteen months and you look back and what you were doing. It’ll shock you and motivate you.
Don’t be a statistic. Statistics are for math and math is dumb. (Side note: I actually quite enjoy statistics in human behavior and sports #numbers) Be the change you wanted to be three months ago. Be the change you want to be now. Be the person you want to be now. You might not look like it, yet, or feel like it, right now, but you will love how you feel later.
Sitting in church, my gaze settled on a family I knew from my childhood, over twenty years ago when my parents first attended this church. They filed out of the pew in their various knit sweaters to go down to the altar and take communion together. It struck me that this family has been coming to this church together all this time. Twenty-five years, maybe more, of getting up on Sunday morning, pulling on their sweaters, sitting in these seats, singing these same songs. They’ve seen many congregants and pastors come and go, many iterations of the website, the floors refurbished, the logo changed. Their faithfulness moved me as I watched them gather.
As someone with many interests and diverse abilities, I am often compelled towards new experiences and challenges. It’s true that experiencing something new, whether it’s interesting food, a foreign language, a different culture, a new hobby, or a career change can spur growth and refine us as people. But I think novelty has become a compulsion for many.
Think of the person who regularly reinvents their hobby, their career, their brand, before ever accomplishing what they set out to do. The person who lives to travel, and nothing else. The person espousing strong opinions but not living in a way consistent with those values. These people are pursuing new things, places, or ideas not with a sense of calling or purpose, but out of a deficit of faithfulness. The flitting whims of our world lead us in circles. Faithfulness has a trajectory; it is a long journey with a destination.
I’ve struggled to practice faithfulness in many places in my life, but for whatever reason, CrossFit has stuck with me. I have shown up to the gym, day in and day out, wherever I went all over the country, for the past decade. Through snow and ice and dark Alaskan winters, through the overwhelming bone-tired feeling coming off a 24-hour shift, through deployments, through busy schedules, through heartbreak. So many of you do the same.
The rewards of this faithfulness have been immeasurable. These years have given me friendship, health, and adventure. Mental fortitude and physical strength. An outlet for anger and sadness,and a place to develop resilience that I use in every aspect of my life.
What would happen in my life if I practiced faithfulness like this in my studies, in my relationships, in my hobbies? How much more quickly I would learn to play piano. How much more readily my friends would trust and rely on me.
Time is teaching me that faithfulness is the daily fuel that takes you down the road you’ve chosen. It is what keeps you moving forward when the fog rolls in and obscures your vision for the future.
We are at that lovely time of year where motivation surges, fresh ideas swarm, and our routines are imbued with a renewed sense of hope. Many recommit to exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep, learning a new language, spending less, or whatever else has fallen away.
But these feelings fade, and when they do, many slip back into their old habits—skipping the gym, eating carelessly, watching TV, overspending. This phenomena is increasingly mocked and the evidence used to dismiss the practice of making resolutions.
But the truth is, there’s nothing wrong with trying to change.What’s missing is the practice of faithfulness. Waking, living, and laying down knowing we are on a long journey rather than a short stroll. As our new year motivation fades, may we all be encouraged to remain steadfast in our work, relationships, and personal goals. As Jim Elliott, missionary and martyr, prayed, “Lord, give me firmness without hardness, steadfastness without dogmatism, love without weakness.”
“Conscious Coaching” is a book by a Strength and Conditioning coach that I just finished reading. It challenged me to take a look back at my life in order to be a more effective coach going forward. The challenge from author Brett Bartholomew was essentially to find your why. Not the “I want to change lives” why, but truly the root of why you want to change people’s lives. So, I did a little soul searching and found mine.
I want to help athletes reach the next level because I never did.
Growing up, basketball was my sport. I played constantly. I watched basketball, both current and vintage (Hardwood Classics on ESPN). Both my Dad and sister played college basketball, and I had the same goal. I overheard people say I was athletic or talented, but I knew I was short and didn’t have a natural athleticism. I looked up to underrated pro players like Steve Nash, who made up for his lack of raw ability and small size with skill, smarts, leadership, and consistency. When I was playing my best, I brought the ball up the court, called the plays, got teammates into the correct position and made smart passes, just like my hero Nash.
High school rolled around. I went from a private Christian school where I could do no wrong on the court, to a public high school where I had zero “ins” to making the team. Tryouts were a new experience for me. I was confident in my abilities, but nervous about the process and the sixty other players trying out.
The coaches put me on the JV team. To me, that felt like a loss. I had thought I would make varsity, maybe as a reserve, but definitely on the team. Instead, I played a year on JV as a backup, which fell totally short of my expectations. I didn’t take it well. I practiced less and took less pride in basketball.
Around this time, I started CrossFit with the intentions of getting stronger and faster for basketball. A few weeks later, I finally got the call up I wanted—I would be practicing with the varsity squad as a sophomore. In scrimmages, the changes CrossFit wrought in my physical ability were noticeable. Less bruises from hitting the hardwood, less getting burned on the defensive end, more power in jump shots. I was becoming an athlete.
And yet a couple weeks before official tryouts, I quit.
It was unexpected from most around me, but I had lost interest. I had loved basketball, but that had been drowned out by my singular focus of playing in college. I had failed to set short term goals: be more consistent from the free throw line, develop quicker feet for faster change of direction on defense, etc. Without those shorter goals, it felt like I never made progress, and the love of the game faded away.
Instead, I started working out religiously. Exercise took the place of basketball. Instead of dribbling, I lifted. Instead of shooting, I did pull-ups. Instead of watching Hardwood Classics, I watched CrossFit videos. Guess what happened in the long run: I burned myself out the same way, by looking too far into the future instead of measuring short-term progress, and eventually lost sight of why I did it. I’m finally learning from this pattern and ready to pass that along.
As a coach, I want to help young athletes get more adept at the game they play, but more importantly I want to help them retain passion for what they are doing, and love the person and athlete they are.
Young athletes are more pressured now than they ever. Today’s young athlete is often pigeonholed into one sport at an early age, chained to year-round training schedules, burdened by the pressures of eager parents and early recruiting, and compares themselves to other athletes on social media. Off seasons are shrinking, and this comes at a cost. Recovery and reflection is crucial to the mind and body of an athlete. Many athletes continue playing for the sole purpose of achieving a scholarship. Our current culture is madhouse of constant comparison, and experts are linking social-media fueled comparison to depression and anxiety. All these things take their toll when compounded together, inevitably leading to burnout and disappointment.
Long term goals (or dreams) are important motivators. But focusing on effort, developing mastery of a particular skill, taking pride in your work, trusting the process, cultivating self-awareness, and measuring progress based on how far you’ve come protects athletes from burnout and enables them to enjoy their journey in sports, every step of the way.
Sports are meant to be fun, not a job. Sports should teach invaluable life lessons, not crush souls. I regret forgetting that. I wish I could go back and play basketball again to feel the joy and freedom of competing on a team and being on the court.
These experiences have become part of my motivation to work with young athletes today. I want is to help them get stronger, faster, more resilient. I want to help them be the best they can be by setting achievable goals and doing the work. But above all, I want to help them keep the passion and joy they feel for their sport at the center of all that they do. Because that is the purpose of it all.
Statistics show that the average American does not consume the recommended daily intake of Protein. I’m was guilty of this. Until recently, I just assumed that I was eating enough protein in my food selections-wrong.
Protein is a macro nutrient so important for building and maintaining muscle. Experts recommend .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. When I started paying attention to my macros I realized- there’s only so much meat and eggs I can handle, ergo ‘Brotein’ powder is a must have.
So, what kind of Protein should you buy? With the numerous products on the market, it makes it that much harder to decide. Here are some tips on what to look for:
Ideally, you should be picking a protein powder that has at least 20 grams of protein. Anything below that, is it worth it? Remember the whole point is to supplement.
Carbs are an important macro nutrient too, but again the point is to protein. Some protein powders actually have more carbs than protein. We see this most commonly in certain protein bars.
Pick a protein powder that has less than 10 ingredients. The first ingredient should be, PROTEIN. Powders with over 10 ingredients tend to have fillers like synthetic ingredients, sweeteners, and preservatives.
Most importantly is to choose a protein source, i.e. Whey, Soy, Casein, Pea, Hemp, and Rice. Vegans should avoid Whey and Casein which are both Milk based. Choose a source based off your personal dietary needs.
Whey vs Casein:
While both are milk based, they serve two different purposes. Whey is fast digesting and Casein is slow. To increase muscle, you need to increase protein synthesis and decrease muscle break down. Whey increases protein synthesis while casein decreases muscle breakdown. Essentially, you’re getting the same muscle breakdown effect from whole food protein because they are digesting slowly. The great thing about food protein sources is that you can take it in combination with Whey Protein and get the full benefits. By combining Whey and Casein you would actually be slowing down digestion of the Whey Protein and no longer get that increase in protein synthesis. Trying to “Bulk”? Casein may be for you…
Have you had your ‘Brotein’ Shake today?
-- Coach Morgan