Independence Day

So, tomorrow is Independence Day.  For most of us this is a holiday and I hope you make the most of it.  I certainly intend to.  I have been working especially hard lately and while I finally learned to include the concept of deload into my workouts I have yet to incorporate it successfully into my work life.

In case I lost you, deload is a concept from the wave periodization school of workout progression.  The theory goes like this.  Progression in nature is never truly linear.  If you were to plot a person’s progress in a lift, say the dead lift, on a graph over time, you would see that over the long term, several months to a year, his strength would increase and the number of pounds he could lift would go up.  If you looked more closely over a shorter term, say several weeks to a month, you would see peaks and valleys.  Successful lifts would go up in weight over a few weeks and then after their apex you’d see a short term backslide.  Wave periodization takes advantage of this natural backslide and programs in a deload week.

During a deload week, we, at Agoge Fitness Systems, still workout but we use much lighter weights for higher reps or focus on bodyweight and mobility work.  The idea is to take advantage of the body’s need for recovery by engaging in activities designed to encourage that recovery.  Properly applied a deload week leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to re-engage the following week.  I always feel stronger when I come back off of a good deload week.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it many, many more times–You can identify a principle by the fact that it applies to many different levels in your life.  I’ve also said that I’m not always so good at practising what I preach.  This is an excellent case in point.

I know guys in the gym who have a real hard time embracing the deload technique.  They feel that their gains are so hard won, that if they slack off they will lose those gains.  I know this because I apply the same negative principle to my work.

The source of this is many fold, years spent as a slacker with a sense of entitlement and not awakening to my true purpose until I was almost thirty-five, plus I’m sure several other as yet un-explored motivations, has conspired to create in me a sense of urgency.  The end result is that I expend too much effort which actually prevents me from doing as good a job as I might otherwise do.  The key, as always, is balance.

So, what does this have to do with Independence Day?  We celebrate July 4th because it marks the day a group of intrepid colonists decided to publicly declare that they were the best determiners of their own fate, not a leader of great remove, both philosophically and geographically.

Tomorrow, as you relax by the pool, barbecue with family, watch the fireworks display, or fret and worry that your Uncle Larry and your dad will blow their fingers off while they manufacture their own, I urge you to consider your own independence.

Dependence and independence can occur on many different levels and in many different ways.  My inability to relax when it comes to my work, the ignoring of much needed rest and recovery times, is its own form of dependence.  I am dependent on the sense of security I get from feeling like I’m working as hard as I can.  The irony is, of course, the success of my work is impeded.  How much more secure would I feel if I worked in harmony with my natural patterns, thereby making my work more successful?  Remember “better before more?”  It applies here as well.

What if I declared my own independence from knee jerk reactions?  What if I applied my capacity for independent thinking more liberally and used it to assess various areas of my life, deciding which actions serve me and which not so much?

Independence can be a scary thing.  It is by no accident we refer to our nation as “the home of brave.”  To be independent is to be wholly responsible for not only your successes but your failures as well.  By declaring my independence from the false sense of security I get from working too hard, I know have to face the realities of being more effective.  That means taking a hard look at current practices and the risks inherent in any change.  I also have to remove the false insulation from failure that comes from the belief I’m doing all I can.

So, tomorrow I declare my independence, once again.  It is a process I hope to engage in time and again as my capacity for reflection improves and I’m able to identify those things that no longer serve me and my purpose.  Learning to take a break and relax a little will go a long way to building those reflective skills.

My journey is not yours.  I hope you can apply the principles of my experience to your own life and see what kind of mileage you get, but your lessons are your own and only you can say for certain what they are.

Nonetheless, I invite you to celebrate your independence!

Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the Bodytribe workshop at the discounted price.  On the 5th the price goes up, it’s still a bargain, but I want you to get in at the lowest price possible.  For more information on the workshop or to sign up, click HERE.

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Filed under Fitness, Motivation, Movement, Personal Development, Personal Training, Recovery, Strength, Strength Training

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