My avid and loyal readership will recall two weeks ago me asking the question “Why?” to my love of CrossFit and why I don’t just hole up in a military gym on my own. It’s been my intent to follow up with a mini – series on motivation, goal setting and success. Due to a new job, irregular hours initially and travel, this hasn’t yet happened. It is going to and I know it will serve many people well.
Right now though, I’m sat in a hospital watching my dad deteriorate in front of me. On constant oxygen, unable to sustain satisfactory blood-oxygen saturation levels, he is closing in on the final obstacle in a Spartan Ultra against Stage 4 Lung Cancer. For well over 3 years he has fought, dodging, ducking, smashing and overcoming. Eventually though, nature trumps our still very crude science. He’s taking it well and I’m proud of him.
Despite this brand of Lung Cancer being apparently unassociated (at least directly) with smoking, you can’t argue that a lifetime of smoking did him good, especially when done inside a diesel submarine for many years! While we know more about the causes of cancer now than ever, we are still amateur detectives fumbling in the dark for a light-switch in many ways. However, in this age of instant information, we do know many things that cause ill-health & decrepitude and we know the things that have never been associated with cancer and general ill – health. While we might not have the answers to the disease, we also know can be assured the very best care through Macmillan, who looked after my aunt in her breast cancer days, and we shall be reaching out to them imminently (@macmillancancer). Let this be the first notice of some upcoming CrossFit charity fundraisers too.
Strong, well-formed exercise in fresh air, green veg, lean meat, nuts, some dairy (lots of eggs) and some fruit. These are quality staple sustainers of a healthy body (@epaleodiet).
Sure, there are the uncontrollables. There are the daily airborne pollutants. There are the chemicals on our food (even organic) and our water ain’t exactly untainted. There are the long hours in air – conditioned offices, recycling each other’s slime and forcing our bodies in to unnatural positions. There are the random genetic mutations that the body just a hours, “what the fuck!?!” to.
But I see it as my responsibility to myself, my children and my family to put myself in the best possible position to control the factors that I can and to overcome those I can’t.
My dad grew up in a society of conflicting and limited information as 20th century medicine developed. The encyclopedia was wrong the moment it went to print, as medical science moved on. You couldn’t just buy a new one easily. I’m so proud of my dad, all he has done, his service to our country, the role model he is to me and my family. He’s doing all he can to battle this now yet nature won’t give up.
We all have access to every bit of knowledge now; it’s still not as developed as it will be and we still know so little about our own selves. However, there is NO excuse for intentionally degrading yourself and not taking the time to read. You choose to learn and understand in order to make positive steps or you don’t and you degrade. There isn’t a middle ground. I know it’s militant. I know it might be seen as extreme. But I am the one watching my dad right now, asleep in his hospital bed with an O2 mask over his face, and I am the one determined to be the 60 year old grandfather still playing rugby with my grandkids, running about in the rain with my family and climbing mountains long in to my later epochs. I have to put my own nature on the front foot now and not let those external factors take it down.
CrossFit and the lifestyle it espouses give me access to everything I need to achieve my goals. Based on a healthy approach to nutrition (100%, 80% of the time 😉 ), with good stamina, strength, mobility & flexibility as the core pillars, this community of semi-competitive but highly inclusive health & fitness enthusiasts keeps me motivated and on course. There is nothing like it out there that meets my intrinsic needs in the same way. This is why I pay my money to do what I could do alone in a military gym, to haul my arse to a warehouse with former strangers and to utterly thrash myself daily, sweating in to a sorry mess yet fist-bumping all those within reach. It’s why I bore people to tears with stories of my latest Personal Best, my current struggle and my new goal. It’s why I surround myself with like-minded individuals and spend my time talking a different language.
This is my motivation. I will be that old guy running past/around/over the younger guys. I will be the granddad throwing the long spin pass out to my teenage grandkids in the park. I will be the crazy old guy standing half naked on top of Snowdon, laughing and having fun.
Come join me.