Every single time I go to the box, I have to walk 20 minutes to go there and 20 minutes to go back to my house. A lot of times takes me longer, very few times less, but the 20 minutes are there. I could take a couple shortcuts and be faster, but I don’t do it. Those are my 20 minutes.
20 minutes that I spend walking following the Water of Leith path, hearing the birds, away from cars, and sometimes, “enjoying the rain”. And I love every single one of those 20 minutes, because every single one of them is full of meaning.
They mean I’m going somewhere where I improve myself, or I’m coming back after testing myself.
And that’s one of the best things you can do.
When I first came to Bob’s Garage I hadn’t being in a gym for about 15 years, and crossfit was something some of my friends did, but never me. I came looking for a place where I could finally be pushed beyond I could push me.
I’ve been trying to lose weight and become healthier for a long time. I was very close to achieve it by myself with diets and some light exercise (I lost nearly 30 kilos) but life happened and I went back to square one. Bloody square one again.
The time of excuses or trying to be smart was over, I needed something and I was going to get it. I checked a few places, and Bob’s looked good. Not too big, the people there seemed to be nice and the guy in charge seemed to know what he was doing. So I gave it a shot and I went there a Saturday morning at 9:00.
It was eye opening. You don’t know your limits until you try to break them, and I discovered that my limits were nearly “walk and breathe at the same time”. Few weeks before going to the box ago I was able to run 1 hour nonstop, but I injured my left knee in the process, that’s the price of trying to outsmart your own body. I, as a fat version of Icarus, had paid a price too high for a reward too small.
So I went to the box, I learnt about the yoga flow and then I started doing some stuff…
Do you know the bear crawl? I was unable to do it properly. The part where you crawl back, well, not for me, my body didn’t knew how to do it. My brain knew, but my body was somewhere else, I literally was unable to make my legs and arms move back.
That was eye opening. That was the truth.
Let’s not talk about doing squats, or even burpees, out of the question. Hell, when I was doing my yoga flow I was already sweating big time (I still do, there’s enough DNA of me on the floor of the box to create and army of clones). So I finished the beginners session absolutely destroyed and feeling like shit.
It was time to do the only right thing to do: I got the monthly pass. Not a group of classes or anything, I paid the £70 without a second thought. That box was my place.
Everything has a price, and I was ready to pay it, to push myself, to accept the reality of my situation, and getting the help I needed (and still need). And I did it because I knew that the people there and Bob understood what was going on. Bob didn’t judge me, he studied me, I could see his brain work thinking about what to do with me, how to encourage me, how to take me to the limit and once there, take me beyond there to reach the next level.
I have been going there for nearly two months there and I’ve loved every single day there. I was able to feel the benefits of crossfit and Bob’s teachings since Day 1. Slowly, but constantly, I was gaining mobility, control, I was taking my body back. I didn’t care if meanwhile other people were doing awesome stuff (and trust me, the people there are able to do amazing stuff) I was unable to do a proper squat. They were examples to me, I saw them and I was thinking “Man, I want to be able to do that”. I’m reaching a point in my life where I don’t have time for envy or anything like that, I like seeing people pushing themselves just because they want to be better. I respect that, I want to do that.
So I kept going to the box: 20 minute walk, getting a 1 hour session with Bob and then another 20 minute walk, and after that going to the swimming pool just to recover and relax the muscles.
But it had an unexpected price: My left shoulder started to get angry, and he was really vocal about it. I started to feel pain, soreness, all kind of bad things were happening there.
The solution was obvious: I needed more help, and Bob sent me to the right place, to see Colin, a Sports Therapist that started treating me. And it was painful, but it worked. Again: everything has a price, and I paid it willingly. Because it was worth it.
Things started to improve. That bear walk? No problem now, look at me going and coming back, in fact you can follow my trail of sweat on the floor. Other people are better at it, but I’ve no problem with that, I’ll try my best to reach their level. Squats? The 21st of October I was able to do proper squats with 24 extra kilos (so that makes a total of nearly 145 kilos of squatting) without any pain. I’m able to get a kettlebell and raise it over my head with my left arm.
Pain is a thing of the past, but I also know that is going to be in my future. Let it come, if it’s the price I’ve to pay, I’ll pay it willingly, because now I know how to solve it, and if I don’t, I know the people that will tell me how to solve it.
Now when I go to the box and I check the whiteboard, I understand a lot of those strange names written there. Now I don’t use knee braces anymore, the pain has disappeared. Now my left arm is catching up with a vengeance. Now I’m walking the path I wanted to walk for years.
And that path is a 20 minute walk. I don’t care how tired I am, or how bad the weather is. I just keep walking. Because the only way to reach your destination, is to move towards it. And if it must be at walking speed, so be it. I’m loving every single step, every drop of sweat that hits the floor, every muscle that starts to burn but still keeps going, every breath that feels like it’s not going to be enough, but it is, every time that I feel that I’m done but then I look around and find myself doing another rep.
I don’t care if I’m not at my 100%, if I’m feeling a bit sick, if the last night I was out for too long and drank a little too much. I keep going. I don’t have time for excuses; they take time from my 20 minute walk.
Because you know those 20 minutes? Those are my reward. I’ve fought for them, I’ve pushed myself beyond my limits for them and I’ll keep doing it. Because I must earn them every single time I go to the box, only then I allow myself to enjoy the sounds of the birds, the peace of the walk, that moment when it starts raining, you pull your hoodie and you just keep walking with a smile on your face.
You smile because you know you have tried your best and know that you will do it again, and your only wish is to be able to do it better the next time.
Because the reward it’s in the price. That’s why you pay it.
I try to encourage as much as possible for my members to write about what drives them, what brought them to my garage, what changes they have gone through and the struggles and strains they go through while training at my gym. Its good to hear that your not alone in your struggle for weightloss and better health strength and fitness and it can show you that actually I could do this and that you could train here. JB has shown great commitment, consistency, drive, determination and discipline. These he brought to the gym from his past experiences but if you have a weak mentality, have no fear as this can be taught and developed through practices in the gym I will turn you into a strong, fit individual mentally and physically.
Here is JB’s update on his progress and his journey to reaching his goals:
I was at a dinner party a week ago and a (female) friend said I looked very different to the last time she’d seen me in June. In July, Bob posted something I’d sent him where I ‘checked in, put my new shoes on and decided to get a grip of myself.’ It appears, some three months later to be working. In discussion with my friend (who had been working hard at weight loss and had lost 1.5 stones) I told her about stepping up and embracing CrossFit again, cutting back on alcohol, some diet changes and training in general. She kindly said it was clearly having an effect.
That day I had worked out (the new core work) following a hard Fuck You Up Friday the evening before (ski erg, row, sled, airdyne, KBS, etc – hard work and yep, loved that one…). I genuinely believe that 3 months ago I would not have been able to complete the FYF and a workout the next day.
I took a look in the mirror the day after the dinner party and holy shit, I have hip bones !
I mean I can see them, defined ! Now, it is true to say I have not lost any weight per se which I assume means I am losing fat and gaining muscle. It is also true to say certain areas (including the hip bones) are a little better defined and I have lost some fat off my face… but it’s also true that I am still carrying too much fat around my stomach area and that will take time and effort to kill. At the age of 48, this is my problem area regarding weight and fat – if I do not train I put weight on and fat builds on a few areas – face (WTF ?), hips, stomach. When I get a grip and train, it pretty much goes, in the same order – face, hips, stomach but the stomach, shit, it takes a lot of work – months of work. So, slow progress is being made. How did that happen ? Here’s how:
After my last blog entry where I wrote about getting my shit together, I took a month off alcohol, stopped eating bread (I fucking love bread), ate more fruit, veg and salad and started training, on average, 4-5 days a week (1 or 2 days in Bobs Garage, the rest in a ‘normal gym’ but doing CrossFit style workouts). Those of you who know me only see me once or twice a week as I work down near London and commute weekly. I know that if I could get to the box in Edinburgh more often my results would be showing faster, but I cannot and that’s life – the upshot of that is having to work out on my own and persevere.
Well, so what ? I think what I have re-proved or proved to myself is a number of things and this is the point of me sending this blog to Bob; there is nothing earth-shattering in what I am about to say but this is a reminder that results can be achieved with discipline and if change is required, then change….
1. A month off alcohol is no big deal. I’ll do it more often.
2. Drinking less in general is not an issue once you break the habit of a drink or two every night. Not to say I am an absolute puritan now but my alcohol consumption is way down…I do feel better for it, I consume less calories and it helps the bank balance too .
3. Bread and wheat products definitely affect my well-being. When I eat it, I feel bloated, get excess mucus and feel sluggish. I felt a lot better for not eating it. I have discovered organic rye bread which tastes good and does not affect my health. I realised that not eating something I have taken for granted all my life is 99% achievable and not hard once you get used to it. If anything the issue is not being able to eat what is essentially a convenience food; often, it is difficult to find an alternative at lunchtime to a quick wrap or sandwich but it can be done. I think I found this harder than cutting out alcohol ! It’s clear though, breaking a habit can be good for you…sometimes you just need to find out what is causing your poor health issue – it may be something you take for granted and not associate with affecting your well-being.
4. Taking time and being disciplined about training regularly makes me happy. It allows me to blow out stress and know I am doing good for myself which is turn is good for my family as it helps my health. It’s important I remain healthy, not only for my personal well-being but also for my livelihood – if I get sick and can’t work, I don’t get paid…like all of us, I have bills to pay !
Of note is curbing any issues you feel about not training. I try not to beat myself up if I miss training but I am definitely in a mode whereby I get a bit concerned about not training. I have been here before but several months ago, when my shit was not in order, this was not a mode I was in. I think it is a pretty healthy attitude to have a slight concern if you miss training but if you are stressed about it in a big way or you beat yourself up about it, perhaps you need a re-think. As an example, last week I was on the road in S.Korea for work; result – travel, work and associated socialising means I have missed a week of training. On day two I found myself stressing about it so I consciously focussed on thinking about the coming week whereby I would focus on recovering from an ‘unhealthy work week’ and I found this helped a lot. So, this week a puritanical approach will be taken and I’ll be back ‘on mode.’
5. Committing to get to Bob’s gym as often as I can is something I have been doing for the last three months since my last blog. I’d be in 6 days a week if it was an option. Regardless, I have been reminded that enjoy the workouts. I like the box. I like the camaraderie and the craic. I like Bob’s approach and coaching technique. I like the suffering and the pain and the feeling of achievement that comes from completing a hard session. I cannot see a point in my future where CrossFit does not happen. I have been doing CrossFit on and off since 2008 and when I commit, the results show. They have started showing after my self-aware wake-up call in July.
3 months ago I made a commitment to myself and I have pretty much stuck with it. I am reaffirming that commitment in this blog; I quite like having hip bones.
I have a guilty secret when I was younger I used to watch Star Trek. I am drawn back to this phrase they used to say a lot. Captains Log as they detailed the events of the day. I think I will do these from time to time to serve as a way point to show you where I am at where the business is at and the project that is #bobsgarage is at. This is because like everything the only thing constant is change, ideas develop, people develop and so does the character of a person and how they view life and carry out their work.
At the moment I am waiting on picking my mum up from hospital, she has had probably one of the biggest weeks of her life having her second hip replacement. She is a strong women and much of my mental and physical strength I have developed has come from her. This past 6months has been brutal for her and has resulted in a slow decline into shuffling about the house and having to slowing go down backwards down stairs and dealing with constant pain. Constant pain can really get to someone, it can wear you down and erode your personality or it can change you for the better, strengthen you through the hardship you have gone through. I think it has done just that for my mum strengthen her as it has been her greatest challenge in her life dealing with this pain.
If the last 3 years has taught me anything it is that periods where you are overwhelmed are followed by periods of huge success if you can ride the wave manage the stress, anxiety of dealing with new concepts, new knowledge, being around and learning from coaches who are maybe more knowledgeable and experienced than you then you will have great success.
The feelings you feel of being overwhelmed is maybe even a auto response from your brain when it has absorbed all the information possible and is unable to process any more of the information that is being given to you. It can only understand and process so much before cognitive fatigue sets in.
This weekend saw my mentor Andy Mckenzie come up and host a Bodyweight seminar teaching a back to basics approach about training and bodyweight training and how it relates to everything else warming up and preparing the body and integrating range of movement to preparing the body most effectively to get the most bang for your buck and be the most efficient in your warmup process. As usual there was a lot of information from the man and it does get overwhelming as you can only take so much in. I am always amazed at how much knowledge he has and passes on when he does these seminars and each time I am with him I manage to absorb and understand I little bit more I then go back try to understand it for myself and then develop it and use it and pass it on to others.
He also made me think about belief, continually testing and challenging is always the way and always helps you to develop your confidence and ability to carry out a task, if you have the belief then you will finish the task, belief in #BOBSGARAGE and what I want to achieve and develop as a business, belief in carrying out the training that I do and pushing myself to hit my goals and the belief in myself when I am coaching in the gym and dealing with clients.
As I hit 29 I am beginning to understand what I need to do to progress as I person and as a coach and as a athlete and I am looking forward to the future and I am more confident about dealing with challenges and looking at the upside of most things. Continual development is the only way.
And finally I was reminded today about the responsibility that is given when you become a coach, you may be in the middle of something personal and someone may just phone you up and look for your help, make sure to not ignore this responsibility to help and to support where the client needs your help at dealing with physical problems or emotional ones. As a coach I have the responsibility to create and develop a community and culture that is what I envision one that is built on suffering together and building bonds from that that last a life time, one that makes us push ourselves to develop our capabilities in our strength, fitness, health and mindset but does not make us compete against each other but rather we work together as a team to become better together.
We are constantly evolving in our training, bodies and mindset just like the project that is #BOBSARAGE is stay tuned to the next captains log.