Monday, June 2, 2014

7 Things I Think Will Change My Life in 2014

Here it is. The highly unanticipated 2014 list of things I think will change my life. You'll see the "Focus" theme from my 2013 list is very prevalent in this one.

Purple Belt - I earned my Jiu Jitsu purple belt in March this year. It's the culmination of a lot of hard work and I'm pretty proud of it. Something like 90% of people who start Jiu Jitsu never get to the rank of purple. Truthfully, it's terrifying. If a blue belt is the equivalent of getting married to the sport, purple is the equivalent of having kids with it. I absolutely can't quit or cut any corners, and the competition is infinitely tougher. Regardless, I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Personal Training Certificate - After years of indecisiveness about what to do with my life, I've finally chosen a path (or at least a wedge, which I'll write about later). I've studied fitness, nutrition, and martial arts extensively for the last 4 years, and for a guy that rarely sticks with anything, this is important. Why it took me so long to decide to get certified is a mystery, but I'm excited to start helping people discover fitness and nutrition on a professional level.

Sugar/Alcohol* - Once I decided to become a personal trainer, I realized there were some aspects of my own diet that I needed to fine tune. For the last several years I've maintained a healthy diet during the work week and then cheated with extra carbs, sugar, and some drinks on the weekends. While I never drink enough to have a hangover the next day, I didn't like the idea that I was regularly drinking, even if only on the weekends. In addition, my sugar consumption on the weekend was a bit ridiculous. Since it's easier for me to restrict than to reduce, I've restricted sugar and alcohol consumption to one weekend a month. The results are fantastic, and I really don't miss either of them. 

*I still drink wine because it has health benefits and it's delicious.

Precision Nutrition - One of the sources I regularly turn to for nutrition information is Precision Nutrition. I'm a big fan of John Berardi and his scientific approach to sports nutrition. I've considered taking their certification course a couple of times, but couldn't bring myself to spend the money. Now that I'm pursuing fitness as a career, I finally have a good excuse. The next certification round doesn't open until September, but I'm counting the days until I can sign up.

Intermittent Fasting - In my nutrition studies I ran across this method and it's worked wonders for me. There are several different ways to approach intermittent fasting, but I follow 16/8:  I fast for 16 hours and then eat my meals within an 8 hour time period. Basically I don't eat anything until noon and stop eating at 8:00 at night. I also take 1 day a week to cheat (without sugar or alcohol), and then the day after my cheat day is a full 24 to 36 hour fast. 5 days 16/8, 1 day cheat, 1 day full fast. I've shed 4% body fat with this method and still train as hard as I always have.

Objective C - I mentioned HTML and CSS in my last list, but Objective C is what I really really want to learn. It will enable me to program applications for iPhone, iPad, and Macintosh. I found a course online that I'm currently working through, and I have a nice list of apps I'd like to create once I've developed my skills. It's just a matter of putting in the work. This may seem a little out of the scope of everything above, but it's all a part of the plan. The future of fitness is technology, and I want to be on the cutting edge.

Hustle - I love entrepreneurship. I love creating something and then selling it. I've been doing it since I was a little kid. My grandma used to take me to the store to buy a toy to play with when I visited, but I'd buy beads and string and spend hours making necklaces to sell. One time I caught bullfrogs and sold them on the street corner. When I had dreadlocks in college, I taught myself macrame and made hemp necklaces to sell at festivals. When I was in a band I made t-shirts, CDs, stickers, buttons, posters, and bouncy balls and sold them like crazy. One of the things I miss most about the band is the hustle; finding new and creative ways to make money. One of my biggest goals this year is to get back to that hustle. Becoming a personal trainer is one of the first steps, but I've got plans for an empire and it's going to be a lot of fun to build.

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