This is a lesson in practical lifestyle choices. You see, in a vacuum, one can follow all the rules, all the time. It’s in this false reality that we can just read a book on anything and apply it to life… straight up. Wham! Bam! Thank you, mam!
It’s easy, right?
In reality, optimizing performance, or lifestyle for that matter, is just fantasy talk. Don’t believe me? I spent some time last weekend with someone from American sprinter Tyson Gay’s camp. Tyson is amidst some allegations regarding a failed performance enhancing drug test, however, my unnamed source described one of America’s most elite athlete’s obsession with McDonalds, which is ironic because his image used to be emblazoned on the McDonalds paper bags and cups during past Olympics. So, this athlete is willing work harder than 99.9% of his peers at his craft, but is unwilling to give up food that is directly impeding his optimal performance.
Kobe doesn’t sleep nine hours a night every night. He sometimes drinks alcohol and he stays up late on occasion, I’m sure. Brett Favre didn’t take on the life of a robot, either. Do you think Jerry Rice drank his bodyweight and a half of water each day of his career?
If not even the world’s most elite athlete’s fully commit to optimization of their lifestyles, then it’s safe to say that life will present some exceptions for us, too. Eating cake at your sister’s birthday party is an exception. Running to the gas station without a dynamic warm up and mobility session after you’ve run out of gas is an exception. Pulling an all-nighter because the baby was up crying is an exception.
If you wouldn’t partake in any of the above exceptions, you probably aren’t human. The point, then, isn’t to pretend these things aren’t potentially harmful lifestyle choices, but to recognize their inevitable presence in our lives. Recognition is the first step to make sure they are exceptions and don’t become habits.
That’s the key distinction.
Can you accept sub-optimal exceptions in your life and stay the course? For some, these occurrences either begin to justify further detrimental lifestyle choices or become an added stressor as a deviation from “the plan.”
My two cents? Live a life with such a remarkable lifestyle that these “exceptions” stand out with stark contrast, rather than pretending they aren’t there. When birthday cake, for example, isn’t that far off what’s normally for dinner, then you know you’re in trouble.
“Death by Bear Complex”
Every 3 minutes, perform one additional cycle of:
1 Power Clean (135/95)
1 Front Squat
1 Push Press
1 Back Squat
1 Push Press
**When the athlete can no longer complete the required work in the three minutes the training session is over