By the power vested in me by the state of Pennsylvania, i declare this day ’13 Thursday’. Do not ask why, simply accept that for the next ten minutes i am your master.
Pleasant dreams that I’ve been after? Well, you know from my other articles that i train to improve my body composition, resolve pain, and enhance performance. You may also know that i truly enjoy music, ice hockey, comic books, and eating. Why, just this afternoon i was listening to Megadeth, watching the news about the Philadelphia Flyers’ big moves, and eating what will be forever known as “Das Omelett”.
With the news i received from frankie Faires*, my determination to eat Das Omelett, and the Flyers’ power-moves, as well as the straight up heavy metal bender i have been on these last few days [when it’s not Hank Williams, it’s metal], i chose to hit the rest button and catch a nap. Something i never, ever do. I do not nap.
And that is the subject of today’s post: “Breaking associations with the minimal effective amount of variety”. Or, how to ‘change it up’ without fucking it all up.
And this is about me, not about anyone else. My needs, not yours. So if you are reading this, and you would like to alter your own patterns for the sake of potential improvements, please do so, yet not with my outcome in mind. Have you ever heard or read the words ‘Results Not Typical’? That’s me, I’m Big Will, my results are only typical for me
Before i shipped out to recruit training in 1997 i was in a car accident. I know now, after years of anger, that this was the most important thing that has ever happened to me. No other event has resonated this long or affected the chronology of my life as much. The injuries i sustained were minor in the relative sense, yet exacerbated a shoulder injury from my 1995 car accident and were further complicated by my next car accident in 2001. BOO HOO!
The time i spent on the couch recovering from that accident in ’97 led me to draw the association of ‘being on a routine’ to ‘fixing all of my problems’. I honestly thought that, like a dog, i would be broken, rebuilt, and trained to motor through life like a clockwork orange.
When i was on active duty, my problems were still there. I was meritoriously promoted twice, but i got into a lot of trouble. If you served in Charlie Company with me, you remember how fucked up i was when we got back from that first float with the 11th MEU.
When i got off active duty, my problems were still there. And there was no Sgt. to tell me where to be or what to do.
Uh oh. . . .
And when i chose to live on my own, go to community college, work full time, and party every night, my problems were still there.
I added to each set of problems i was born with by cheating on my girlfriend, opting for hangovers in place of facing the day clear and fresh, and misusing my influence as a trainer to get other trainers to buy into a system i had never once questioned.
My bad. . . .
So, over time, i drew many, many associations to myself, and from myself to other situations. For example [and let me tell you right now that this was all my fault, and no people named here are being blamed for how fucked up i actually am. . .except for my parents] by following The Warrior Diet, an awesome book about the history of eating and benefits of eating cycles, i associated large amounts of food with ‘the end of my day’.
Example, my main meal would come at the end of my day. Within two hours i would be asleep. When i began to use Metabolic Flexibility training to really take my physique to the next level [single digit body fat%, body weight consistently below 235lbs., women all over me] , i phased out many of the eating and training behaviors i built from years of strict Warrior Dieting.
Now, hear me, fothermuckers, there is nothing bad about the Warrior Diet.
However, i had to try something different.
Change it up.
Specialize my variety.
Create a more adaptable situation.
Or, in keeping with the theme of the language i speak with my fellow Gym Movement Biomechanics Coaches, i broke the associations.
I would eat a big meal and then relax, usually into sleep.
I would associate fasting with daylight, and eating with nighttime. I associated a full belly with laying down, reading, watching a movie, etc.
I trained myself to beleive that if i had a full belly, my day was over. This was a very tough behavior for me to break. And do you know how i broke it? By applying the minimal effective amount of alteration each time i chose to work on it. How did i know i was using the mEA?
Because each successive time i tried to modify the behavior, i accomplished more.
After dinner i would clean my apartment. After dinner i would go out with friends [i never go out anymore]. After my main meal i would walk Big Al. After i stuffed my fat face i would go to the gym.
I can not convey to you how hard this is for me sometimes, to visit the gym at night, after eating, and train.
But each time i try it, i win.
So, this is the premier example of how i am breaking associations i’ve built. 12 other examples include:
-I folded up and put away many of my black t-shirts that feature skulls and demons getting blowjobs
-I wear as much light colored clothing as i can
-I work out in running shoes from time to time
-I do not shave every day
-I do not make my bed every morning [this still fucks me up royally]
-I purchased competition style kettlebells, and forgo training snatches or push presses with any RKC bells
-I have inserted certain words back into my vocabulary that i eliminated because an ex-GF asked me not to use them
-And, get ready for too much information. . .i began to wear underwear. If you want to know why this is important, email me
-I am working every day to predict better, and to perform in a manner that affects everyone in a less bombastic fashion than my personality is known for 😉
-My performance at Trader Joe’s has brought great things back into my life, and the job is not placing me in pain
-With the arrival of Big Al, the dog my attorney helped me rescue, i have experienced great joy and have slept much better than i ever have. My hairy amigo sends me good vibes as he sleeps in his bed next to mine
*I have successfully completed the requirements to function as a qualified and educated Gym Movement Biomehcanics Coach
And there you have 13 examples of how i am gunning for “better” on this Thursday in June. Today was a big day, a great day, and i hope you made note of what happened with you as well. Here is your parting thought.
Since Adam Glass encouraged me to revisit Metallica, i have experienced great things with regard to music appreciation. Watching the 2004 documentary film “Some Kind Of Monster” last night, for the first time in it’s entirety, i paid close attention to the scene capturing a brutally revealing therapy session with Metallica’s drummer Lars Ulrich, and excised band member Dave Mustaine. Dave Mustaine is an excellent guitarist, well trained and creative. When his partying got him kicked out of Metallica in 1982, he formed his own band “Megadeth”. They became, effectively the second most popular heavy metal band of the 1980s. In fact, until Pantera came around, most people considered Megadeth and Slayer to be equal in the shadow of metal’s four headed giant, Metallica.
In the therapy scene, Dave Mustaine notes to his old friend/antagonist Lars that “most people would consider my backfire* a complete success” *[getting kicked out of Metallica, number one worldwide grossing heavy band of all time]. Yet, he goes on to say that he wishes they had asked him to go to AA instead of kicking him out, and that he was not happy being number two.
Now, that video was filmed 9 years ago, and i do believe that Dave has changed his views, and looks upon his life and his body of work with Megadeth as a win. That is what i want to believe, any way. For though he could have made more money with Metallica, and possibly carved a better reputation, there are no alternatives. There is only what happened, how well you understand it, and how prepared you are for the next decision. Plus, Megadeth is fucking awesome. Great album structure, killer solos and a huge body of work.
I woke up today thinking about how my coach Adam Glass talked to me on my last night in Minneapolis about a month ago. In a 3 hour conversation, where he drank four Murphy’s Irish Stouts and spiraled the conversation like a fucking Tool concert, the ultimate message was this: Always look on the bright side of life.
“Will, you used to party like Axle Rose and cheat on your girlfriends? But you never got a DUI or went to jail, did you?”
“Will, you were in pain for a long time from those accidents, but you did not die in those car accidents. That is a win.”
“Will, you may think that because of the shit you did in the past, and the things people know about you, that you will be considered a loser by those people forever. But guess what, you are getting better in multiple measurable areas, and that makes you a winner. All that fucked up shit you did, and that you went through, only makes you a loser if you perpetuate it”.
Waking up today, and thinking about that look on Dave Mustaine’s face, that naked, long overdue confession to the man who kicked him out of the number one grossing heavy band of all time before they even blew up, i soon thought of Adam. Who told me that i can look at almost any situation and extract a manner in which i was made better. Irrespective of happiness, sadness, pain, or pleasure associated with the situation, i should be able to turn anything into a win.
Dave Mustaine, i hope you know that too.