I’m going to get a little philosophical today. Every person goes through moments in his or her life that define them as a human being. I recently had one and want to share it with you.
I had the privilege of going to Cali to partake in our annual Lean Berets Fitness BAR-B-Q on August 23. On the morning of the event, I also had the honor of going for a trail run with my partner in crime Ron Jones. I’d also like to add he is one of my mentors and a very skilled runner from years past.
We ventured off to a place called East Canyon and no more than two minutes after stepping out of the Mini Cooper, it was on! We hit that trail like a couple of hungry stallions, chasing down a bunch of organic carrots.
If you’ve ever been there, you know that this is not some Sunday afternoon stroll in the park. After a short flat stretch, it turns into a steep hill climb–the likes of which I’m not very accustomed to.
As we got going, Ron had a good 20-foot separation from me and I just kept my pace. As we got closer to the summit, I slowly and surely closed the gap, until I eventually passed. By the time we got to the top, I was the one ahead by about 20 feet.
We stopped and gazed at the beautiful views for a quick minute then headed back down, this time side by side. Then from out of nowhere, Ron bolted off like a rocket. I literally did eat his dust because I tasted the awful stuff.
By the time we got to the bottom, he was way ahead of me and standing by the car. The next day I reflected on that workout and came upon perhaps the biggest epiphany of my fitness career.
The entire time we ran, neither one of us had intentions to outdo each other, beat each other or make each other look weak. We honored our bodies by doing the best we could and walked away at the end feeling physically and mentally engaged.
When he started strong, I just kept a comfortable pace that was right for me and felt totally cool with that. As I passed him, he did the exact same thing. On the way down, when he sped off into the distance, my reaction wasn’t to zip up to him to compete or look better than him. It was to run according to the conditions and to the way my body felt. At the time, I was wearing 1 mm shoes, so I had to be careful not to step on any jagged rocks or roots.
I ended up with spiritual enlightenment. It occurred to me that we had a zen-like run with the absence of ego. There was no high-volume training with bad form, no sloppy reps because we were trying to beat a clock and no mention of who the stronger man was. That’s because we were BOTH strong!
The entire thing was about the noble purpose and honoring yourself and those around you. And this was also the theme at the BAR-B-Q and the rest of the time I spent at the Jones’ residence the entire weekend.
In the fitness world, we have so lost touch with this mentality that it almost brings a tear to my eye. As I look deeper into the historical methods of training and see pictures of high school gyms and military forces from 50-plus years ago, I notice that those people got it.
It wasn’t uncommon for them to train for two to three hours a day! The big difference is, back then they practiced specific skills, over and over again, and moved on when they were proficient. They also took long rest breaks and helped each other excel at the skill as well.
Fitness shouldn’t be about ego or outgunning your training partner(s). Focus instead on camaraderie, making your body better at the end of your workouts then when you started and always reach for the Greek ideal. For those of you who have been following The Lean Berets lately, you would know the Greek ideal by the word “arete.”
Now go and give it a try yourself. Do it with your next workout and every single one after that for the rest of your life. With any hope, you will be around as long as Jack LaLanne to see this method pay off. Hopefully we ALL will be around that long!