Saturday, September 18, 2010

CrossFit, Communication, and Respect

CrossFit has hit Norway recently, and people are still making up their minds about it. I have some mixed views of the training methodology used with CrossFit, however, with whatever misgivings I have, I do respect the fact that they encourage mental toughness and discourage whining. I train people to be athletic and powerful. In order to train my clients to be strong, fast, and lean I wanted some new equipment (good ropes, rings, KB’s), and I thought that the CrossFit in Sandnes would be a good place to start the search.

After getting lost driving and cursing the Norwegian right of way laws (they are ridiculous) we (Anna and I) found CrossFit Centrum. It is a nice gym with lots of steel beams, a huge floor space, and some good equipment. I met the owner Joran at the door, we both shook hands and I told him why I was there. He proceeded to show me around the gym, I couldn’t resist using the climbing rope or the heavy kettle bells, so I used the hell out of them (Anna climbed the rope as well, with no feet; strong) .While being shown around Joran and I talked about his facility, his members, the equipment that he had, and our respective areas of expertise. We also discussed CrossFit. This could have been a touchy subject; I don’t think that the way many Crossfit coaches teach is safe or particularly effective for long term fitness. I respectively let Joran know my position; I neither attacked him, his gym, or CrossFit. I merely let him know what I thought the system did well, and the areas that it could improve on. Joran agreed on some counts and disagreed on other counts.

It is common that people tell their children to respect others points of view, and rarely do they put such actions into practice. Joran and I talked like professionals who love what we do and are constantly working on perfecting our methods. If I had come in to his gym and lied about my beliefs just to avoid some form of imagined conflict, then I would have missed out on an opportunity to connect with a passionate trainer who respects others beliefs and is open to ideas that will help his business and his clients.

I strive to communicate with honesty and in doing so I find that others usually respond in kind. Dishonesty is a coward’s refuge; it limits life and creates unstable, short term relationships. If being honest hurts everything you might do, reexamine your life. In treating others with respect life becomes easier and more doors open. I might not like many aspects of CrossFit, but I do like and respect some of its trainers, and in turn I am accorded the same respect that I show them.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kids need strength not candles

I just got invited to a facebook group: “Vi tenner et lys for alle mobbeoffere hver s√łndag kl 21.00” . Which translates into; We light a candle for all bullied kids every Sunday at 21.00. Most of the comments were in Norsk, so I can’t understand a damn thing (yet), but this is ridiculous! Lighting candles for bullied kids, this is some ineffectual nonsense. Maybe you were bullied as a kid, and appreciate the sentiment, Are you being bullied now? If you are you haven’t learned a damn thing. These kids are alive, and without serious health complications, they don’t need remembrance candles burned for them, they need to be taught how to stand up for themselves.

When I was a kid there were a couple bullies at my school that did their best to terrorize the other kids. A couple of these kids came from seriously messed up family’s, and even at my age I recognized that, so I tried to smooth things over so situations didn’t escalate. Sometimes this worked sometimes these bullyies thought I was a good target, or god help them, my friends. That never ended well for the bullies. My Dad taught me to never start a fight, but by god if I was in one I was to be the one who finished it. I took this to heart, Fighting had its appeal, but I never liked hurting other people, being a farm raised kid I was strong and able to cause some damage if I wanted to. My Dad also taught me that the best way to win a fight is to not get into one, but to be prepared if it came to that.

I got into some fights when kids would pick on me or my buddies, sometimes the bullies would go after the mentally handicapped kids, a couple of guys never did that again. I never suffered bullying or threats, and I don’t see why kids today need to. A lot of school systems advocate talking to the bully, sure talk first (if you can), but if it comes to violence beat the piss out of the bully, he won’t come after you again, believe me, he won’t. Western society has become too soft, too weak, some people only respond to force, in those situations one needs to be equipped to handle themselves. So don’t light your silly little candles and ‘hope’ things will get better. Teach children to be secure in themselves, this will reduce the number of bullies and kids that look like good targets. Teach kids to stand up for themselves, no one else will, and if they are a doormat that early they will be a doormat their entire lives unless something is done. Don’t be a doormat, don’t teach others to be one, if you think you are one, don’t worry, there are ways to fix that.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nasty work is AWESOME!

My yard is huge for Norway, pretty standard for the U.S. It is great place for body weight workouts, sandbags, and throws, and flips (you have seen the tire). The one problem is drainage. There is a system of pipes in place to handle the excess water flow from the surrounding hills, but apparently they like to clog. This means that the back yard is attempting to become a duck pond, and is doing an alarmingly good job of it. I have nothing against ducks but my yard is no place for a pond of them. There were many options to aliveate this problem; it happened that only the most sever method worked.

I started my day in a good mood and for various reasons it steadily decreased throughout the day. By the evening I was probably a bit miserable to be around. Anna’s dad came by with some tools and we decided to get to work, it needed to be done and regardless of my mood I won’t shirk my responsibilities. A simple job of digging a hole and flushing out the clogged drainage pipe rapidly started becoming very complex. Initially four holes needed to be dug in the yard, the pipe needed to be cut and roots and leaves needed to be pulled out of the pipe. At the end of 1.5hrs everything was still plugged up. We were a bit tired from digging and fighting with pipes, but the work was fun and cleansing. When we dug the second to last hole the adventure started.

We were right below the main drain in the epicenter of the burgeoning swamp when we dug the next to last hole, as soon as the earth was taken from its home the water rushed in to claim its place. I had to reach into the nasty smelling water, full of compost heap run off, to find the pipe. Once I found the pipe I had lay on a board and go shoulder deep in this nasty smelling filth to cut the pipe, then I had to spend half an hour partially submerged in icy smelly water, hand in the pipe, ripping out partially decomposed grass and plants. By now I was having fun, This had graduated from job to challenge and I would be damned if I let little things like not having dinner, borderline hypothermia, and numb shaking hands get in my way of a completed job. On the next hole we finally hit the jackpot. This being an arm’s length of gross smelling grass…etc that was clogging the pipe. The problem with this final glorious hole was the time; another hour shoulder deep in nasty smelling water, feeling for the pipe and cutting with a big sharp knife. Fortunately I have a pretty decent awareness of my body and its position due to lots of training, I didn’t slice off any fingers when I was hacking away with the knife.

There ware several ingrained traits that made this job fun for me and removed the notion of giving up; Tenacity, mental toughness, and joy. I need to see the job done, and even though I was wet and shaking for the last hour, I took a a deep steadying breath and found the pipe again. I needed to see my work through to its completion. The job ended up being fun because hard sweaty work is its own reward. Working hard and seeing your labors through gives a feeling of elation, and accomplishment. Nasty gross work can be fun if you let it, and the small victories help to turn you into the person that you want to be.