Effort can’t take us everywhere… But it can take us most places.
Usually, the only which stands between us and our desires are our own choices. Taking true responsibility for this truth is hard. It’s far easier and much more comfortable to believe the some external force or circumstance is preventing us from accomplishing what we wish to accomplish.
There is almost always a way, and the way is almost always hard work. When the work is hard, persisting is even more challenging.
Long story short, I’m trying to put on a little bit of useful weight. Skip to the bottom for the delicious recepie I’m using to jam breakfast back into my mornings.
Unfortunately, I’m not bulking up just for the hell of it. In order to continue being competitive in higher level jiu-jitsu competitions, I need to be stronger than I am.
As it turns out, this is harder do than I thought. First of all, getting strong hurts. A lot. Which doesn’t make training jiu-jitsu any easier either.
In spite of the pain, I’ve just started the Stronglifts 5×5 workout program. A number of muscly people I trust have reccomended it as a good starting point for building the type of strength required for jiu-jitsu.
The program consists of two alternating body weight workouts, each comprised of compound free weight exercises with the intent of progressive overload.
If that was gibberish to you (like it was to me a few weeks ago), what this means is that the program has you switch between two workouts which don’t involve any machines or special equiptment. You show up, lift free weights and progressively add a tiny bit more weight each session until you can no longer complete 5 reps at a given weight in an exercise.
Avoiding machines at the gym and focussing on free weights means there is a whole lot more balance and posture involved in the lifts. Because Each exercise activates (and agitates) a big portion of your body, so you have to focus on keeping your whole body activated throughout each lift, and need to focus on less total exercises to get results.
I’ve never been one to get motivated by superficial physical incentives. Muscles are nice, but if I were desperate for them I would have started going to the gym a long time ago.
I’m going to the gym primarily to hone the tools I take to war on the mats.
But what I’ve found out is that in order for all that work to mean anything on the mats, I need to pay a lot of attention to what I eat while I’m off them.
If I want to gain muscle mass, I need to be consuming roughly 4000 more kilojules than I’m used to eating every day and a large portion of that needs to be protein. At my current size, I’m simply not putting in enough food to offset all the energy I expend exercising. Which is a good problem to have. But still…
As someone mostly disinterested in the prospect of breakfast most mornings, this was a troublesome fact to uncover.
However, I think I’ve stumbled across something which is going to solve my problem; peanut butter protein shakes.
Luke’s Peanut Butter Protein Shake
1 cup rolled oats
2 scoops vanilla flavoured protein powder (whey or plant based)
2 table spoons 100% peanut butter
1 table spoon chia seeds
1 table spoon honey
3/4 cup frozen blueberries
2 cups milk of choice
The best thing about this recepie is that you can prepare it ahead of time.
Just put everything except the milk into a container or zip lock bag and pop it in the freezer. When you’re ready to have it, empty the contents of a container into your blender, add your milk and blitz away!
I’ve prepared a batch of these in advance, and am now looking forward to each morning when I get to slurp down a meal which feels like a treat, even though it’s a necessity.
What is, is. But what will be has the potential to be influenced by your action.
Luck serves those who generate their own opportunities. People who make things, whether they’re artists or entrepreneurs, stand a better chance of good fortune than those who deliver a service designed by somebody else.
Why then, doesn’t everyone just make stuff? Probably because it’s hard. And even harder to do from a place of suffering.
Some people are bound by circumstances outside their own control.
While others are caught within cycles of suffering they generate for themselves.
Suffering usually starts from an unavoidable place, but it lingers for as long as we allow it to feed on the scraps of our minds.
Generating anything of value from a place of suffering is more work than it needs to be.
Take the time to solve your sufferings. Then get to work on the rest.
What if instead of cataloguing your skills and achievements, your resume listed your weaknesses and failures?
This document is called a Failure Resume, or a CV of Failures. And it might be just what you need to do before you find your next success, or encourage those around you to find theirs.
The professor who popularised this idea explains it like this:
“Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible while the successes are visible.
I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me. As a result, they are more likely to attribute their own failures to themselves, rather than the fact that the world is stochastic, applications are crapshoots, and selection committees and referees have bad days.”
A 2016 study showed that students who were exposed to their hero’s failures as well as their successes worked harder and got better results.
Failure is a natural part of all success.
Acknowledging this and tracking the lessons you’ve learnt from your stumbles can inform the things you might try to succeed or fail at next.