High-Intensity Slow Motion Resistance Training is Mindfulness Meditation

One major benefit of exercising is its benefit on the mind. Many studies point to exercise assisting with mood and cognitive benefits.

Statistics aside, at EverStrongSF and Live Oak Strength & Nutrition, we can see the effect on the mind first hand every day when people come to train. People come in with many things on their mind…parking, work, travel, or some frazzled interaction with another person.

When people come in, we reset them and get them focused on their body.

“How did you feel after the last workout?”

“How do you feel right now?”

“Are you ready to train? Let’s get in the zone.”

It’s a body check in and we ask them to feel it and recognize it. Then, we get them into the zone. They know it’s an intense focusing session and often make the switch with ease.

Once in the training, people either watch the output on the screen to focus on ft/lbs of torque they are generating on the ARX or close their eyes and listen for the weights to gently touch the stack as they keep continual tension and breathe. They focus intensely on their form and we give quiet one word clues, “slower”, “hold”, “turn”, “breathe”.

Doing resistance training where you focus on the specific movement and the muscles involved is a large departure from the bouncing around from thing to thing in the outside world. When combined with the deep breathing to prevent blood pressure buildup, provide the muscles with oxygen to convert energy into contractions and to hyper-oxygenate the blood, it is a huge reset.

Most people breathe shallow most of the day. We get people deep breathing for 15-20 minutes.

When trainees leave, their muscles emptied and tingling. Their mind is reset from having been singularly focused and concentrated on one thing for 20 minutes. 

This training is a guided body meditation where the minimal effective dose of exercise is combined at the same time.  Learn more about it here: www.everstrongsf.com

From Existence to Thriving

This is the order to understand for life: Exist -> Survive -> Physical & Mental Strength -> Value -> Material Strength -> Survive well -> Thriving -> Happiness

Existence is being alive (existing) and knowing it (consciousness).

We did not choose to be born, but once we live, we avoid pain and seek survival. Our development appears to flourish, when we seek development through challenge to thrive along with rest.

The physical supports the mental, the mental supports the material and protects the physical. To be supported throughout life, one must have strong physical ability, mental ability, and material ability.

Mental ability is the strongest of the three. It is supported by the physical and it creates the material. The material can be lost, but mental ability can recreate it anywhere. Mental ability is the ability to create value and trade it for a profit without damaging other people or supporting structures. Damaging others ultimately creates weakness for the physical and requires greater expense of the mental and this distraction is from a greater need for protection.

A weak physical ability means you must have even more mental and material ability to survive.

A weak mental ability means you must have even more physical and material ability to survive and you must fight with all life left in you to increase your mental ability.

A weak material ability means you must have even more physical and mental ability. Focus your mental ability towards building strength.
Luck exists, but you are much better able to be prepared for it the greater your abilities are.

Relying on luck is faith or hope. Followers of faith or hope in the pursuit of luck must take action to achieve physical, mental and material ability. Not taking action is death.

The purpose of life is to thrive (pursuit of happiness). All actions of pursuit must be towards thriving. Therefore action is required for thriving.

If you do not choose to thrive, then you are choosing death. Feelings of helplessness are death. You must choose through reason what thriving is. Therefore reason enables thriving. Not using reason is destruction.

Other beings exist and have this same choice but many are not aware of it.

Everyone needs to survive, but some will choose destruction. Avoid these people at all costs. Those who barely survive are to be carefully considered. Those who survive well at the nefarious expense of others are to be avoided at all costs. Those who survive without knowing why or are unconscious are to be avoided at all costs. Choose those who survive well through their conscious choice of survival as those who you work with. These are the people who are the strongest people on earth.

Fighting or taking from another is either destruction of the other or you or both. Therefore, this is the path of death and should only be taken if you are forced against your will. Avoid all situations where this can be a potential outcome.

Ensuring survival is done through strength. Strength enables reason to create value. Value creates distance from destruction. The greater the value created the greater the distance from destruction.

Acquiring strength through challenge (mental, physical, material) avoids destruction. Destruction of value is death unless a greater value is displacing it, creation primarily and then preservation of value is life.
Take care with how visible your strength is. Those who seek destruction will seek to gain from you. Avoid and defend by a means of strength which is developed through preparedness.

All forms of strength enable you to survive and thrive. To gain strength, you must prepare. Strength (mental, physical, material) allows for handing of danger and risk.

Handling danger and risk therefore requires of preparation and training.
Preparation for danger and risk is therefore thriving. Avoiding real danger and risk is thriving. Knowing what is real danger and an opportunity for training is achieved by reason. Therefore using reason drives thriving.

Mental ability is knowing that your own self is all you ever have and knowing you have to make all action about acquiring strength of the three types to survive.

It is knowing the above and…

  • ability to calculate potential beneficial outcomes
  • ability to see how to push through the lower value obstacles
  • ability to know how a given technology works
  • ability to create technology and tools
  • ability to know how to manage the technology so that there can be no
  • competition or how to create an advantage no other can have.
  • ability to gauge the value of others and to know if one is a partner of mutual benefit, an employee who has the ability to rise, or someone to completely reject.

It is knowing that mutual benefits are the joining of two or more individuals who can produce even more value. When you connect a lesser value with a higher value, the overall value is lowered unless there is some unforeseen unexpected reaction.
It is knowing that reason is necessary for action that will result in happiness.

With age comes a decrease in physical ability and mental ability, therefore the material ability must be very high.

Self-worth

Determine your self-worth through working for yourself, your own thoughts and dreams. Do not put them by the wayside and let the thoughts of others take the order of precedence. Work on your self-worth by making the things happen that you choose and that you want to bring into existence. Do not have others determine it for you.

Detach to observe

Recently, I listened to a podcast by Mr. Tim Ferriss interviewing Jocko Willink. In that, Jocko described, and I paraphrase, stepping outside of himself and assessing the situation in order to gain a better understanding of the hostile situation he and his Seal team were in. With a greater perspective of the situation, he was able to take command and understand what actions to take. This reminded me of many passages in “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius. The essence of observation, reflection, and perspective guided the hand that wrote those words. An example…

Remember that your higher self becomes invincible when it withdraws into itself and calmly refuses to act against its will even though such resistance may be wholly irrational. How much more, then, when its decision is based on reason and circumspection! Thus a mind free from passion is a very citadel… – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

We have incredible power and focus when we can hold our mental ground from the emotional torrents that sweep us in all directions without our even realizing we have been swept, all day long. Clearly, an everyday citizen has a softer and less intense existence than a soldier in war time. Regardless, the key step is to look at yourself from above as an external observer. To be clear, I mean to mentally construct an image of yourself and the situation from above and outside of yourself. When you do this, you see the situation more clearly and you know your thoughts. This powerful combination tempers your emotional view of the situation with a greater perspective.

With practice, you can see that extent of the situation and what the best options are. You will also see a person going through things that humans have been going through since our time began. This creates a distance from the situation and inserts a perspective that is broader. Here is an example of detaching and observing across humans over time. .

Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future too. Its pattern will be the same, down to the last detail; for it cannot break step with the steady march of creation… – Marcus Aurelius

In the beginning reference to Jocko, he is a Navy Seal in a war training exercise or an actual war situation. In this example, he is likely pulling out far enough to gain a vantage large enough to see himself, his team, civilians to avoid, and the enemy in an area of battle. The ability to detach and observe is critical in most any situation wether hostile or tranquil. However, how far or how high you create your image will give you a different perspective. You can imagine viewing from a 300 foot tower, from space as Nietzsche did, or across history. You can imagine viewing across society as Krishnamurti often does. That same power of detaching to observe is referenced throughout his teachings.

Now, can we as individuals be aware of our conditioning, and is it possible for the mind to break down all this limitation so that it is free to discover what is truth? Because it seems to me that unless we do free the mind from its condition, all our social problems, our conflicts in relationship, our wars and other miseries, are bound to increase and multiply, which is exactly what is happening in the world, not only in our private lives, but in the relationship between individuals and groups of individuals, which we call society. – J. Krishnamurti, Can We Create a New Culture?, Total Freedom

This is a very leading question. It’s begging for an answer of being aware of how we think in any situation. When you can see how your thinking is constrained by some conditioning or a torrent of emotions, you can see other options. To do this is to become almost another person who is observing you. Isn’t it very easy to judge the mistakings of others because you are not in their situation? Of course it is. You must become an observer of yourself to do this. It is not hard. You just have to know how to do it and to practice it. Try it now.

  1. Visualize yourself doing what you are doing right now.
  2. Imagine being a different person watching yourself.
  3. State what see yourself doing and also state the intentions behind the action in the second person.
  4. Didn’t that create a shift in perspective that opened the door for alternate choices?

Some recent observations I’ve had for example:

  • I’m hard on myself, but what I am doing makes sense or is admirable in some way because I’m doing it for my family or to better my situation. This leads to relief and calmness in relation to my goals. I’m doing what I should be doing.
  • I’m acting out some pattern and being careless of another. Time to pause and check in with said person and course correct. This leads to empathy from me and trust in the other person.

It may seem odd to combine a Navy Seal that is a soldier for a nation, a leader of an empire, and Krishnamurti who is clearly the antithesis of a soldier for a nation. It is not. They are using the same principle of detachment and observation, but clearly they are applying it at different levels. Granted, Marcus Aurelius and Krishnamurti are more similar.

German Volume Training and Initial Diet

When I started GVT, I started with a 2400 calorie diet plan with 30% protein, 40% carbohydrate, and 30% fat. My weight went up and my body fat stayed about the same as measured by the Withings scale.  A note on using any scale that measures body fat by conductivity…anything that’s not conductive is counted as body fat. So, one has to measure with consistency prior to consuming food and after excreting.

It seemed that things were progressing in the right direction. However, working at a startup requires brain power over time, consistently. With this mix, I would crash at about 2pm. It took me a few days to recognize I was under eating. As a result, I moved my calories up to 3000. Unfortunately, my body fat percentage went up. So I backed down to 2700. I was still massively sleepy so I changed the ratio to 30% protein, 30% carbohydrate and 40% fat. This looks like it’s working since body fat is stabilizing and I can work without crashing around 2 pm.