Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Story…My World

Is normal to me. In other words, the way and where and how I live makes sense to me and the other people around me. This “default” world is confirmed by the people who share my world.

We often wonder how people live in a war zone or in a jungle without power and running water. Those worlds are normal for those people. Those worlds are confirmed when they look around and see everyone else living in the same manner as everyone else. Where ever you are, there you are.

We define our world as normal. This normality is confirmed by the people around us and the way the world looks. If I live in a religious cult and all of my peers do as well, that becomes my normal, my usual world. If everyone around me speaks Italian and I speak Italian, Italian is what seems normal. When I venture outside my normal world and Italian is not the default, things start getting a little difficult. In many big cities, it is possible to speak a different language than the rest of the city in my little enclave. When it is pointed out that my “default” is not the same as everyone else’s dissatisfaction arises. I want to be normal, I want to fit in, I want to maintain the status quo.

If my anxiety around belonging gets too great I will need to change something. I could change my environment but that is often very difficult. I am stuck in a place, physically. No, what is changeable is me. I can decide that wherever I am is my new normal, my new “default.” And I can count my blessings there and then.

Count. Your. Blessings. Often.

John Mariotti

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday Story...the Critic

And you. The critic is always there, lurking just behind the door, ready to rush out with a bang and then slink away like a stain. He/she is familiar, the voice well known, and you are used to listening.

He knows how to hurt us. She knows where our sore spots are and how to push the buttons of insecurity, insufficiency, doubt. Our inner critic lives in the shadows and gets power from our inability or unwillingness to confront him.

But what if you sat down and looked her in the eye and invited him to talk about being useful. Maybe if we welcomed him to the table there might be some constructive use there. Our sore spots are, well, sore. That can’t be helped. There isn’t anything we can do about that. But maybe if we welcome him to the party instead of running away we can make her impact less painful. Maybe if we befriend the critic we will find that he is quite ordinary and boring.

When we resist, fight, and rail against him we make her bigger and badder than he actually is. When we go to battle the fight is inevitable. If we decide there is no battle to win because there is no battle the critic loses power. The critic loses power when you shine your light upon him/her.

Don’t fight, befriend. Find out how to use, defuse and define your critic. Life is going to go on; wouldn’t it be nice to fight one less battle?

John Mariotti

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday Story…Optimized vs. Maximized

We often work at a maximized level. Going as hard as possible, as long as possible, trying to extract the very last morsel until everything fails. That is certainly one strategy. It will get a lot done. It will produce amazing results…short term.

Once we have hit maximized performance there isn’t anything left…the wheels have fallen off the bus, you are laying on the ground exhausted, and your organization has stopped producing anything at all. This maximal effort is necessary from time to time. Often time it is necessary just to demonstrate how unnecessary it is. The time it is going to take to rest up, replenish and rejuvenate the systems, is time we aren’t spending on polishing our craft or producing more or doing creative brain work. We are all in and spent.

Better to hit your optimized performance. Optimum is that speed where everything runs smoothly and consistently and constantly. The engine isn’t in danger of blowing up. The tires aren’t going to blow and I’m not going to need an hour to recover from the effort. I can keep going hard and fast but just under the red line where the wheels start falling off.

I often say: slow is smooth and smooth is fast. We need to have consistent mechanics, learn the proper way to perform, and be disciplined throughout. Discipline is what is going to make our performance optimum.

Make a plan to perform at an optimum level, eat an optimum diet; do things as well as they can be done in that moment. You may find the results far exceed doing things at the maximized level. I guarantee you will feel better t the end!

John Mariotti

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Story…Your Food

Needs to meet your needs. By that I mean your lifestyle needs. Yes, you need to meet your caloric needs. Eat fewer calories than you burn and you will lose weight, eat more calories and you will gain weight. In many respects it is that simple. Obviously eating only candy could cause you to lose weight if you are in a caloric deficit but your health may not be very good. And you can gain weight if you eat really healthy food and too much of it…you will be a healthy overweight person…which may translate to not so healthy.

Here is the rub…any “diet” or “food plan” or “system” can be made to work. The real question is this: will the way you are eating fit into your lifestyle? Will the way you are handling your food create happiness in your life or not? Because if the answer is not then you shouldn’t be doing it.

I weigh all my food. I eat the same thing for all of my meals 6 days a week. I am very strict about food preparation. It works for me.

That isn’t going to work for most people. Your lifestyle is different than mine. You need to eat the food that works for your body. You need to find pleasure in your meals. You need to find gratitude when you eat and joy around your food.

If you want to lose weight figure out what your caloric deficit needs to be. Then find a plan that’s going to be joyful for you and work in your lifestyle.

Bottom line on food:
Eat Real Food. Eat protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Eat quality food. Eat the correct quantity. Avoid excess added sugars. Avoid processed food (things in a box/bottle/can). Avoid things with a nutritional label. Enjoy every bite, enjoy the indulgences, and revel in the process. You can transform your relationship with food.

John Mariotti

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday Story…3 things

You must have in your life.

Trust yourself. You know what the right thing is, do it. You know what the wrong thing is, don’t do that. It is never the right time to do the wrong thing and it is always the right time to do the right thing. Trust yourself, your thought process, your learning, and your instincts.

Be committed. 100%, burn the boats committed. Don’t let anything come between you and your commitment. Don’t be half committed. Don’t be: “I’ll try it and see how it works out” committed. That’s what we do when we try some new stinky cheese. Nope, when you commit, commit all the way.

Love. Everything. Every day. Love the process. Love the outcome. Love the struggle; love the failures, the disappointments, the suffering. Love your life, your tribe, your work, your grind. Most of all love yourself…You are the most unique lovable you there is on the planet today.

Trust. Commitment. Love.

3 simple things. Just do it.

John Mariotti

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Sunday Story…Freedom

Requires discipline. Many people think Freedom means you can do anything you want, whenever you want. But, really, that’s not freedom, that’s anarchy and chaos. To be truly free you must have discipline.

Discipline means you will do what you need to do, what you meant to do, what you signed up to do no matter what. Come hell or high water. Barring accidental death or dismemberment you are going to step up and put all of your focus and energy into the task you have chosen to do. Discipline isn’t about doing one thing. It’s about doing all the things you need to do to achieve the goal you have set in front of yourself.

How does this relate to freedom? Let’s suppose you want to go to Africa and climb MT. Kilimanjaro. But walking across the street leaves you out of breath. You don’t have the freedom to climb that mountain, do you? If you want to ascend to those heights you have to get down and get to work to be able to do that.

Freedom requires us to be disciplined in our approach. We must have a plan and stay on the task to complete that plan. Financial freedom does not happen by accident. Physical fitness (a freedom that allows me to move the way I want when I want) requires consistent work. Intellectual freedom (to think, read, and write as I choose) requires vigilance. None of these things just happen by chance. They require work. Work requires discipline. Discipline is the proper application of focus and attention to the job at hand.

Want to be free? Get discipline. Freedom will follow.

John Mariotti

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday Story…Thank You!!!

A quick note of Thanks! to all the people who have made my journey to the CrossFit games in 2017 such a success.

First my Mom. Because without Mom there’s no me! My parents instilled a simple value in me: if you are going to do it, do it to the very best of your ability. It serves me throughout my life.

My Business partner, Ellie McKenzie. She dug me out of self imposed exile in Fernley NV. with an opportunity to come to Dallas TX and create a community dedicated to fitness and health. She has put up with my ups and downs, training injuries, mercurial moods, and acted as a modulating force to my often explosive force. In the athlete’s area at the games her coaching and focus cues were invaluable. It’s been quite a journey and we are just starting to get traction!

My coach, Tino Marini, and the entire staff at CrossFit Invictus. Over the last 4 years they have continued to get better at programming, more innovative, and flat out smarter. Tino has programmed around a myriad of injuries over the last 2 years and has somehow managed to get me stronger and in the absolute best condition of my life going into the 2017 Games. No small feat given my last surgery on 12/15/17 and the inescapable fact that I am 60 years old.

My community at CrossFit Odyssey. There are too many of you to list here. You stepped up with donations to help fund the journey. You bought T-shirts. You show up every day with all your energy and enthusiasm for health and fitness. You serve as an inspiration for me! You make all the lonely workouts worth it. I hope I inspire you…to know you are only limited by what you believe to be possible. Your age, your current condition, your previous disabilities have no hold on your “What’s possible”. If you believe it, you can achieve it.

My support community…Chris Babb and Landon Webster and the whole crew at Kinetik Chain without whom this old body would impossible to manage. Kelly Carden at CryoOne for freezing me regularly. Mark Murdock and his people at Phoenix Re-gen for getting me into the NovoThor infra-red bed which was an invaluable tool for recovery as the lead in to the Games took its toll on me. Dr. Soryal at Texas Sport for getting my knee working again. Dr. Mezera at Dallas Hand and Lower extremity for not 1 but 2 fixes on my thumb.

I know that isn’t everyone. I am extremely grateful to everyone who made this Journey to Extraordinary possible and, yes, Extraordinary!

John Mariotti