If you want someone to participate, give them all the tools and resources you can to enable them to get started. Don’t make them solve riddles. People who value their time don’t want to play your game unless you make clear the value that’s offered and the rules to get started. Another way to frame participation is with that not-so-dirty word that starts with an ‘s’; selling. Getting people to participate, aka buy in, is nothing else but selling. I was inspired to talk about this after someone message me on Instagram asking me to participate in a challenge. Besides being in another language, I couldn’t make clear what he was asking of me so I asked him to expand and provide some details for me. He responded with something not quite comprehend-able so I asked to explain further and then he told me I would know when I know. Nope! Sorry dude, you lost me. I choose not to waste time trying to decipher your Davinci code so I can THEN participate in something that seems likely to only benefit you. This is how some of your customers feels if you aren’t laying it out for them. Give them the resources. Make it as easy as possible for them to engage and become a part of the process. Make it worth their while. Provide the value. Then make the ask. Be Batman and reach for your tool belt and then give selflessly. Don’t be the Riddler.
When I’m traveling, I frequently get this question; “How do you have the time to practice for 1-2 hours a day.” This question is usually accompanied with some stories around the reasons why that individual is unable to start exercising or moving due to some self imposed limitations. I understand where these ideas come into play for myself and others and travel has helped me better understand their perspective while also knowing that these are still, merely, self imposed. There is always a solution to this inability to move and here are some ways I have changed the narrative of my own story as I travel.
There is always time
As I write this, I am on a flight to Puerto Rico from Miami. My layover in Miami was 40 minutes long. What did I do during that time? I worked on progressions for the stalder press and got in 3 successful sets. I didn’t concern myself with shitty airport food or mindless entertainment, being slouched over in the chair, scrolling through social media like almost everyone else. I didn’t concern myself with the looks I might get for practicing where few will dare to expose themselves (This has taken several airport visits for me to get comfortable with practicing, and failing, when many are watching. ps. Headphones work great to put you in your own world ;). I went immediately to my gate, put my headphones in and got to work. I am not some especially disciplined individual either. I am not special. We all have this time throughout our days to practice a new skill or simply, move our bodies and articulate and explore old and new possibilities within the flesh.
If dedicating a portion of time from your day to practice, let’s say one hour, is a no go for you, perhaps this ‘Greasing the Groove‘ approach may work for you. I first heard of GTG from Pavel Tsatsouline when I was eighteen. The principle is simple; throughout the day, you accomplish a few reps, here and there for a skill you want to become better at. Let’s use the chin up as an example of a skill that can be worked with this approach. If you’re having trouble getting your second repetition, you will spend a few minutes throughout your day, multiple times per day, working on perfecting your first rep. If you feel as if you won’t be able to complete the second rep as well as you completed the first, you ignore the ego and end your set there. With this approach, you will find that avoiding muscle failure by attempting that second rep will allow you to create a neural connection between positive outcomes and your chin ups. We can view this as training the nervous system instead of simply training the muscular system. This approach allowed me to get to sets of 5 faster than my friends who consistently trained to failure. I was rarely sore and felt strong after each session. I highly recommend this approach for anyone, especially beginners. No more stressing over time and find gains in the process!
Can’t get to the gym; Bring it with you.
Gymnastics rings plus your body equals the ultimate gym, wherever you are. For under $100, you can purchase great quality rings by Rogue Fitness and have a gym on your person for the rest of your life. If we focus on the rings, we have plenty for a days work. The rings allow us to tackle almost every range possible to develop strength, even with the legs. There comes a freeing sense of self knowing that with the body alone we can achieve much and by adding a single pair of wooden rings with straps, we have the ultimate tool for physical development.
Rings are easy to travel with and as long as you can find a strong enough branch or horizontal structure to hang on, you have a place to get practicing. They tend to be a great conversation starter when you have them hanging on a tree or are passing them through airport security. If you need some ideas on how to get started moving with your rings, check out this video.
Find the spaces that have spread through the world like a beautiful virus: Crossfit Gyms
If I can’t find a gym like my hometown go to, Republic of Movement, I usually drop in to a Crossfit gym while I am on the road. These gyms are everywhere and many of them will have an open gym time when you can work on your own practice. They typically have all of the equipment you would ever need and plenty of floor space. The patrons and owners are usually friendly and interested in what I am up to. Sometimes, you can even get a nice t shirt included with your drop in for the typical cost of $25. If you check out the Crossfit site, you can find a map with the seemingly infinite amount of ‘boxes’ all around the world.
Bonus: If you are traveling and have extra space in your bag, I recommend packing the following:
- Rubber band for warmup
- Mobility WOD band for compression
- Tennis ball for warmup and games
- Lacrosse ball for self massage
- Captains of crush grippers for hand, wrist, forearm and finger strength
- Hand balance blocks
- GoPro to film your practice (This is a better option that phone because you can continue listening to your music and not run out of battery. GoPro also has a lense that allows you to capture video while having it very close to you, allowing you to film in tight spaces)
- Headphones to block out distractions (I recommend AirPods or JayBirds)
Be accountable to someone
Having a teacher that provides me with programming and checks in with me regularly has prevented me from being lazy with my practice. If I miss my marks and don’t put in the work, I risk the social embarrassment of having to explain why I missed x amount of sessions, usually exposing the bullshit excuses I am allowing myself to make. Having someone to check in with while I travel also helps me root my practice. When I am in Miami, we get together to review the pieces that are best explained and demonstrated in person. We work together to create a routine that adapts to my lifestyle on the road (Thank you Sean for your patience!). Although, I can program for myself, I prefer having a teacher for two main reasons:
- My teacher and I have established a relationship over the last two years. In the spirit of the methodology that I’ve been exposed to I will quote my teachers teacher, “If you find a real teacher, if you find a real process, it doesn’t matter what it teaches. It just matters that you follow that thing.” This is the state of the relationship between my teacher and I so I’ve chosen to steep myself in his teaching for the last two years.
- Delegation is a key to freedom. Much like my web development business, when I chose to delegate my training routines to someone with over 10 years of experience within their own practice, I found the freedom of mind and time to focus on the more pressing matters of my life while unlocking more gains than ever before within my practice. Trust in others, especially those who are much better qualified than you to get the work done to propel your practice and life in general.
Surround yourself with like minded movers to upgrade your level of performance and dedication. Facing embarrassment while also stepping in to encouragement are two powerful tools that you can only access with the right peer group to collaborate with. If you are looking to stay accountable to yourself, tracking my sessions by keeping a log/journal has been the best way for me. This allows me to quickly see the days that I have missed and track progress over time. If you want to take it a step further, streak building apps will help you see when you missed a day. For the ultimate test of accountability, use a service that forces you to pay up if you miss a training session. Few things motivate better than knowing you will have to pay up your hard earned dollars due to your inconsistency.
A life on the road can have the same obstacles to a daily practice as a life rooted at home. The excuses follow us wherever we go if we allow them to take their place in our minds. None of us are impervious to this reality but those who consistently make the gains are those who find systems and tools that ease work for them while reducing the friction to getting the work done.
Where do you find the most friction when trying to establish your practice? What are the tools that you use to help you stay on track?
I consider my relationship with clothing a bit out of the ordinary. Since I was a kid, I’ve opted out of wearing shoes, stomping around my parents house with my wider than usual feet. I would scale the black olive trees in our front and backyard, not a worry in the world for the dexterity of my feet. Even then, anytime I threw on a pair of sneakers to monkey around on my favorite tree, I would complain about my connection to the tree and eventually toss them to the ground, continuing my ascent to the top. I’d imitate monkeys in the canopy, gripping as much as I could with my feet. A bathing suit was the little fabric that hugged my skin. Of course, like any happily active child, I needed to be prepared for an impromptu pool dive. It felt right then and it feels right now; to wear as little as possible while I explore my environment.
Unfortunately, social conventions required that I had ‘shirt and shoes’ into any establishment that I walked into. My parents also didn’t want to bring their monkey son along without proper attire, understandably so. Perhaps it was my disinterest in clothing in general that has led me to the fashion decisions I make today, donning neutral colors and purchasing the most utilitarian clothing I can find. Although minimalism is where I point my fashion compass, I don’t consider myself devoid of style. As I travel more and find myself desiring less and less to pack, I am paying more attention to the clothing choices I make. Here are my go to articles of clothing that allow me to practice movement and head straight to a lunch meeting with a friend or prospective client.
If you’ve been on Instagram long enough and you’re into movement culture, you may own several pairs of or have seen these low profile, zero drop, minimalist sneakers called Feiyues. They’ve become synonymous with movement culture and have been my go to shoe for nearly every moment of my waking life. They come in two colors, black and white, and you can find them on my feet from parties to training sessions.
Wil doing his handstand thing in some Asics.
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Day 178/365 of #move365challenge ————————————— All the props and love to @kev_________in for showing me this. He’s always sharing love and knowledge and will be soon bringing more back home! Here he is showing me some push/pull work while sitting into the squat. Maximum tension while matching the speed of the descent with the push and pull of the hands. Find a friend and take your time with this one. Check out my buddy @notfromcolorado for more ideas to get you moving.
Kevin, aka ‘La Goonie que to cononoces’, and I rocking the white Feiyues
AJ, The Jedi, Chavez working on his fingertip strength in the ‘Doublestars‘
Pants & Shorts
Kit & Ace Shorts
Lululemon ABC pants
I’ve never been one to enjoy wearing pants but when I had to buy a pair of Prana’s for Worklete, my idea of pants life completely changed. The Prana Zion pants are stretchy, come in favorite color, grey, and have the perfect zipper pockets as well as buttons about midway up the calf so you can change the look and cool off a little bit by rolling them up. They fit just tight enough to create the look I like without being constraining and looking like they were painted on. These are my favorite go to, wearing them almost everyday.
When I’m trying to be a bit more formal, I throw on my black Lululemon pants. I never thought I would be caught dead wearing Lululemon but when my friend Laura had me come in to Lululemon for a fitting, I felt in love with the look and fit. They fit a bit slimmer and have more of a jeans type look. They are called the ABC pants to let you know that your nuts will be comfortable in any position, hence the acronyms meaning, ’Anti Ball Crusher.’ I must admit though, if I hadn’t been gifted them for the low low price of Free99 (thank you Laura!), I probably would have bought the Prana Brion pants instead, simply due to price.
I’m usually not wearing one but when weather and society require, my go to has been the lululemon tee that came into my life a few months ago. Before that I would wear cotton cut off tees and my Uniqlo $5.99 tees but this shirt has been a game changer. It’s lighter than anything else I’ve ever worn, wears cool, drys quickly, and when it’s rolled up is the perfect size for travel. If i’m not using this tee I’m usually wearing one of my neutral colored Uniqlo packaged tees. If you live in a city with Uniqlo like NYC or San Francisco, you can find these at the sweet price of $5.99. Great part is that they don’t wear as inexpensive as their price. I’ve owned the tees that I wear for over 2 years and they black ones are just beginning to hit their limits in terms of color fade. They fit perfectly for me and I love the material. Not too soft yet not too firm. Sleeves are perfect length and they don’t run long, falling just below the belt line. Did I mention that they’re $5.99?!
None or Uniqlo briefs
I”m usually living the ‘commando’ life, free balling through my travels. (Kramer meme) I prefer not having the constriction and being able to breathe down there. Pro tip: Baby powder makes like much easier when you’re hanging loose 😉 When i’m feeling like I need some support, I throw on my Uniqlo briefs. They are soft, thin, and breathe well so you don’t feel heavy or too constricted. They are on trend with the minimal style undies that have become popular from brands like MeUndies but at a fraction of the price.
None or Uniqlo
Oh Uniqlo, you have my heart. Their socks are dope! They come in several different lengths and patterns. From thin to thick, they have it all and inexpensive. I prefer the no shows as they are the thinnest and show off the sexy ankles while being great to travel with due to their tiny size. If you need something with a little more thickness, they make a classic style mid-length white sock that looks dope with the white Feiyues.
One black Uniqlo plastic jacket and a Hoodie
Although it may have that plasticy look that won’t win you any fashionista awards, the light jacket from Uniqlo is my go to for travel. It’s reversible if you want a different look and packs very light. It’s perfect to always have on me just in case it get’s a bit too cool inside a coffee shop or if a light rain hits out of nowhere. With a form fitting look, it keeps with the aesthetic that I enjoy, minimal and light. When life gets a bit heavier and cooler, I like to grab a basic hoodie that I also picked up at no other than, you guessed right, UNIQLO! It’s a neutral grey and is warm enough for anything up to 50 degrees F. It’s a bit heavy for travel so I only bring it along if absolutely necessary but it’s also perfect for training in colder temperatures as it makes me feel like a bboy and I couldn’t care less if I completely tore it up.
I find myself coming into a style that speaks to how I carry myself through life. Minimal materials looking for functionality that does not call too much attention to itself. Sometimes, I like to get loud though so there may be a piece of clothing you find on me that doesn’t quite make sense. Maybe it’s the paradox of life coming through. Not everything needs to be so uniform all the time. It may be efficient and work for me most of the time and so, let me embrace the moments of color to come in the future.
What’s your style like? What clothes do you love to move in? Do you prefer striking colors or neutrality? Do you find clothing to represent a significant part of who you are?
Disclaimer: If you click on some of the links and buy stuff, I might make a few pennies here and there. Be proud in knowing that you will enable my coffee addiction for another day. Thank you 🙂
I’m a little more than a month from 30 and life is forcing me to look back at the last ten as much as I look over the horizon into the unknown of the next 10, be I lucky enough to have them. So I write this letter to the 20 year old out there that might come across this and see something about me that they can relate to. My aim here is to provide you with a bit of wisdom that I have gained over the last 10 years of fuck ups. May you distill from them what you need and apply where necessary. Remember, I only speak from 30, nothing more, nothing less. But in 10 years a whole lot happens that you may not be able to grasp your mind around until you find yourself, 10 years later, writing about it. So my effort here is to save you some time. Because life truly is short. And even more so it is long. How you play within this paradox is crucial to your success.
Play the Long Game. Remember that you are always evolving. You must continue to push yourself and evolve. Complacency is like standing on a moving treadmill. The choice therefore is not to walk, but rather run towards your goals because much like a treadmill, if you walk, you will only keep the pace. You will not actually go anywhere. Take this from someone who fell back on their ass for 2 years straight in a weed induced haze (more on this later). Life demands that you constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone. The people around you with any amount of success are doing this and they probably aren’t talking about it. They are making it a habit in their life so make it a habit in your life. A quiet habit. Seek the discomfort without any of the acclaim. If you do, you are complaining.
Take note of the people in your life that do a lot of complaining. If they are friends and family, do your best to distance yourself from them. Their negative, complaining energy is a black hole. You will get pulled in, whether consciously or subconsciously. Human relationships are complex so I’m not telling you to tell these negative people in your life that they suck and write them off completely. Use some tact here. Don’t be an asshole but do you’re best to make space and if possible, sever the ties. Over time, your relationships will evolve and change. You will lose friends and you will gain new ones. Take ownership over this. You will hurt others feelings in the process but you are bound to offend someone if you are living in your truth. If positivity and growth are part of your truth, then you must let go of the negative.
Know that you can always reinvent yourself. You are never tied to the ideas that those around you hold of you. You are never tied to the ideas you have of your own self. You can be like Bowie, always changing throughout a lifetime. Choose to be fully alive throughout your metamorphosis. Experience the pleasure and pain. Remember, both of these feelings are fleeting though one may try and persuade you that it will last an eternity. Don’t fall victim to this trap. I fell victim to these traps several times in my 20s. I would spend days, huddled up behind my computer after having smoked way too much weed, obsessively running through the ‘genius’ ideas in my head, only to never take action and repeat the cycle for weeks on end. It took me much too long to figure out the traps that I had set for myself and was continuing to walk in to. It doesn’t need to take you this long. Sit with the wisdom you are blessed to receive from your mentors. If you don’t have one, make this the priority in your life. Find someone that you want to model your life after. Only now, at almost 30, have I found mentors for several different areas of my life. While you search for a good mentor, read a lot of books. This is the next best thing.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You tell yourself to have all the fun and increase the pleasure now and abolish the pain immediately. I’ve been there. Seeking the next good time instead of putting in the work each day. But life is a long game and quotes romanticizing the shortness of life do exactly that, fall short. They fall short of the reality that will be the next ten years to come. These are the years when your energy and foolishness will be their highest. Both assets to any one trying to achieve greatness. Don’t waste either and learn how to manage both. Keep away from patterns that don’t serve you, especially the pattern of daily marijuana use. The dullness this pattern carries is no catalyst for creation. It is the mere opposite. Something a bit more dangerous. A neutral complacency where nothing is great and nothing is terrible. I lived this complacency. Smoking everyday may work for others but it did not work for me. Worst of all, I knew this truth and denied it consistently, for years. I forced myself to believe that it was helping cure my symptoms of anxiety and Tourettes, to realize that it was only exacerbating them. This is the greatest lie I have ever told myself and one that lasted for years. Remember, when you lie to yourself consistently, it’s all the easier to lie to others unknowingly.
There are even people in their 60s, 70s, and 80s who never left this daily complacency and are now starting to realize the presence in life they missed out on. Check out reddit.com/r/leaves for plenty of first hand accounts of people trying to leave this neutral way of being. It’s also a great place to start if you are looking for a community to support you moving away from a dependence on weed. It certainly has it’s medical benefits but remember to treat it as medicine. Medicine has different effects on different people. Respect it and your relationship to it. If you’re relationship means you don’t need it in your life, respect that too.
Two things I do now that I wish I would have done daily over the last 10 years. Stillness and movement. Sounds like an inevitable but the kinds I am speaking about here are conscious efforts. Build a daily practice with meditation and movement, first thing in the morning. Mindfulness is everywhere now but it’s actually one of those fads that has lasting power. Whether it goes in or out, you should always stay with it. How that stillness practice looks to you is for you to find on your own. For ease, check out an app like Headspace to get you started. I recommend 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night. This is what works for me. I suggest doing some research to find what works for you but stillness and quieting the mind is key. Observing your thoughts. Non attachment. You will hear these words over and over again because this is the consistent finding of time in stillness. It’s not easy but don’t get hung up on having to perform. Just sit and observe. Find what works for you. Second, you must move everyday. Move your body in a multitude of ways in multiple plains. Lift heavy things. Move them in different directions. Move with others. Horseplay. Grab people and throw them. Be soft with others and find lightness in the touch. Have sex. Play more games, indoors and outdoors. Move your body with and without others. Stop being sedentary for so long. Stop spending hours behind a computer without taking breaks. You are not a robot. You’re a human being. Go behave like one.
Final thoughts. I wrote this note because I have a responsibility to leave you something from my experience. Because I see the changes. I see the changes that owning ones life can manifest and it ultimately came down to living in my truth. To stay one step ahead of the old me’s and the lies they used to tell me. To listen to my gut feeling everyday so I could sharpen the communication with who I am trying to become. So that I can step into the unknown of the greatness that this life can experience through me. It is our responsibility to go forward and get on with it. So please remember to keep moving forward. Embrace everything, full on. Embrace the fear. Embrace the discomfort. State your presence. It’s either all in or all out.
You can choose a ready guide
In some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears
And kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that’s clear
I will choose free will.
– Neil Peart
Trying to sit still in school felt like a straight jacket had been put on my soul. My feet jumping up onto my chair, scooting underneath my butt, shuffling themselves back to the floor.
Back and forth I would repeat this pattern. My teachers would comment at me to sit still and stop moving. If I didn’t, there would be repercussions. My insides felt like they were boiling. Every cell in my body bouncing back and forth between my bones and my skin. Faster and faster the cells would vibrate and rattle off one another, trying their best to break through the surface and reach the outside world. Much like my cells, I yearned to explore the outside world. I needed to run and roll and bounce and throw whatever I could get my hands on. Out there was where I shined. In here is where I died.
Now, in post schooling life, I find myself in a new kind of societal standard that mimics closely the same environment that school fostered. This place is the work environment. Oddly enough, you would think someone like me would have chosen a more active occupation but no, I succumb to financial pressures and continue down a stubborn path. Luckily, this is something I have realized about myself over the past couple of years. I’m still on the path to freeing myself of my externally driven decision making but nonetheless, I persist. I don’t believe any of these realizations would be clear to me though without meditation. Meditation is the trendy, woo woo word of the day but it takes on many forms other than sitting in lotus position and focusing on your breath. Pushing myself to try and sit in stillness has been a meditation in and of itself. The mere thought of sitting in stillness causes my Tourette’s to have a field day with my body and create a symphony of tics that would make Beethoven jealous. It’s this daily struggle that elicits the attention to my awareness that has shed light on my consciousness, revealing to me who I am truly meant to be.
Giving myself time to be aware of my thoughts and emotions, fighting through the stillness, has been the most painful and rewarding experience of my current existence. No acid trip or mushroom experience can bring to light the truths of my reality more than this practice of stillness. The key ingredient, I find, is in the practice. The daily practice. Each day builds upon the efforts of the last. Much like my movement practice, my stillness practice, brings awareness to my perception of my thoughts, emotions and spasms. It removes my identifying with these things as who and what I am. I am able to watch them from a distance and remember that they are the objects and I am a subject viewing these objects, much like you and I are subjects who can view a beautiful, emotion driving piece of art while also distinguishing that we are not the painting itself. My thoughts, emotions, and spasms become the beautiful painting. I can watch them more clearly and take them as they are, not passing judgement over them. They are there and I am here.
Without the practice of stillness, I may not have come to face my truth that sharing my journey with Tourette’s would have the power to help others overcome the stresses and anxieties they face. This acknowledgment of who I feel I must become gives me the energy to document, share, and teach my movement practice with others. Through this energy, I am able to continue to providing value to my clients in my sedentary web development job while I explore new ways to tackle my tics and pass this knowledge on to my futures students, those who need it most. Through a balance of movement and stillness, we can truly come to understand who we are at a deeper level. Take the time with this daily practice. All you need is 10 minutes a day to transform your relationship to your thoughts and emotions. Meditation is the daily reminder that you are not your thoughts and emotions, you are something greater. You are the observer.
Did you know that there’s a Tourettes Syndrome National Awareness month?
My guess is you probably don’t know and with good reason. It’s not something that effects a lot of us. Ya I know it seems like theres a “month for anything and everything” but this one is particularly special to me. When I was 12, I was diagnosed with this tic disorder. Finding this out was a sort of relief. I had no idea why my body always felt like it was itching all over. Why did I have to tweak my shoulders or pop my wrist consistently? Why did I have to stretch and twitch my neck in odd patterns to find relief? Why was I the only one I could see around me having this issue? Kids at school would make comments or mimic me which would bring on more stress and compound the symptoms.
Luckily, I have had an incredible support system through my life that has treated me with patience while never making me feel as if I was odd, strange, or incapable of doing anything I wanted. To say I was blessed is an understatement. Many other kids aren’t as lucky. They get bullied and picked on. Paralyzed in their own bodies, they can feel helpless. Knowing what I’ve been through and what others continue to go through has brought a sense of empathy and compassion that continues to guide my life.
Now, my tics are nowhere near as consistent and complex as they were when I was in my teens and early 20s. Now, they come out to play when i’m feeling highly stressed or anxious. This reality gives me a drive to actively seek out methods of relief. I’ve been forced into research and experimentation to avoid the cycle that can begin if I’m not conscious and proactive. Looking back through my life and analyzing where I’ve placed my efforts, nothing has provided me with more relief than playing with my body.
Movement and play have always been my places to drop in and tune out. My sense and awareness for my body in space has come naturally. I consider this to be a gift from Tourettes. Movement has always been my medicine and as time progresses, I’ve found better ways of healing with this medicine. Recently, I’ve been lucky enough to find a culture of people that understands the importance of movement and its incredible power. They’ve set a fire within me to spread this message. This is what you will usually see me posting about on here, so today, I want to shed light on all of those who are silently seeking relief.
If you don’t know someone who has TS, now you do. If you don’t care about my story, then you might care about someone else who is close to you. You may know someone with Parkinson’s, Dystonia, Tremors, or even restless legs syndrome that is experiencing a movement disorder. If we can bring awareness to Tourette’s, we can help bring awareness to a multitude of movement disorders. You may even be preemptively helping yourself or your children.
ps. Tourette Syndrome Awareness month is from May 15th – May 17th. If you’d like to learn more and support, check out the link in my bio.
pps. The awesome culture I’m talking about is at @republicofmovement. If you’re in Miami, check them out. They just opened their playground in Wynwood!