Friday, May 29, 2009


As I’ve said in previous posts, I think that one should focus on doing something spiritual, mental and physical on a daily basis. I want to share one of my physical activities that I have been doing since December 2008.

Crossfit is something I first heard about from Mike and then tried once Vas started the program around 2005. It’s an interesting concept. What is crossfit exactly?
“Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing.”

The workout is a three day on three day off workout that is actually available for free everyday on the crossfit website. I personally pay to go to a gym. There are gyms similar to this one all over the country.

The reason I do crossfit is because it allows me to be able to do any activity with relative physical prowess. My current hobby right now is rock climbing and before that I was cycling extensively. I have also tried yoga, competed in races, and played various intramural sports. By not focusing on a particular training rev I am decently prepared for all these activities and maintain an overall level of fitness.
The reason I choose to go to a gym is because of the competitive nature of the environment. It’s a great way to keep yourself going. Additionally, some of the crossfit activities require various items that you may or may not have access too (ie. Kettleballs, rowing machines, weighted barbells, etc.).

So is crossfit right for you? I think that depends on your goals. If you are training for a particular activity (triathlon, road racing, bodybuilding, cycling, sports, etc.) then you can probably better tailor a program that meets your particular goals. If you want to be healthy and/or undergo a physical transformation then I highly recommend crossfit.

Crossfit has had a dramatic change on my body composition. I went from being heavy set to a more athletic body in about 2 months time. My core has strengthened dramatically and my posture has improved. This workout is harder than anything I have done sans rugby 7s.

Note for women. Crossfit will NOT make you big. There is such a misnomer in the female population that lifting causes you to gain muscle mass and “look like a guy”. Believe me, the girls I have seen in the program for 6 months or more just look really toned and in great shape. Additionally, workouts using weights will increase weight loss, tighten you up, and give you that summer body so much easier then just dieting. Don’t fear the weights give it a try.

Note for guys. Crossfit will help you add some mass, but you will not see the same benefits as you would doing a hypertrophy (muscle building) periodization workout. If adding tons of mass is your goal then I recommend you doing a gym weight based workout and when you are trying to cut then go with Crossfit.

If you are interested I encourage you to look up a gym (a Clear Lake location was just opened) in your area and give a class a go. Most gyms offer a free class on Saturdays for noobies. I guarantee you will be beat after it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Gaining Perspective: My reflection on Monster

I recently finished Monster the autobiography of an LA gang member who rose to the top as a leader of the eight trey gang out of South Central and later would lead a prison contingent of Crips.

I first picked up this book in Huntsville and was immediately sucked in to the start off of violence. At age 11 Monster (as he would be called) fired 8 rounds into a crowded group of rival gang members. At that age I was at home playing Nintendo games. Monster by age 16 had already killed between 6-8 people (all gang related) and went to jail several times for minor crimes.

In another neighborhood Monster would have been a highly productive member of society:
1) He went above and beyond what was expected of him at all times
2) Created and led many projects that furthered the development and notoriety of himself and his gang
3) Took responsibility when things went wrong and gave credit to others when things went right.
4) Inspired others to be their best

In a different environment Monster is a prominent lawyer, accountant, doctor, etc. In South Central, an individual is taught to value and respect gang members. They control the neighborhood, protect it, and further it. The people with the most respect are those who have banged the hardest and the longest. So Kody did what any young person who wanted success would do. He started emulating those who were successful. He worked longer hours, harder, and went above and beyond what was required of him. And how can you blame him?

The cops don't represent a moral authority. They rarely investigate or pursue gang shootings (this is in the 80s may have changed now), they beat and abuse black citizens (book takes place before Rodney King), and all in all as long as it stays in South Central no one really cares. In fact, in the book are several examples of cops serving as informants for rival gang movements.

As I read I thought about what I would do in that situation. Given the environment and my need for control I wouldn't be surprised if I found myself on the same path. Your parents don't care about school and just going is dangerous. If you don't join a gang then you are on your own and probably attacked or molested on a daily basis. It's either eat or be eaten.

Interestingly enough he has a conversion to a militant style Muslim (think Black Panthers). Kody wants to escape the black and black violence, but can't find room for compassion or can't understand a way to solve anything without a revolution. Given his environment I can't blame him.

I did a quick google search and found out that he never escaped the gang life. With no marketable skills it seems that he found his way back into criminal activity. What is the right answer? I'm not sure. I don't know how you change whole cultures. Can you really do it one person at a time? When their environment rains down on them hate, fear, and violence? There isn't an easy answer.

It's an interesting book to say the least and I recommend it. I found it very entertaining as well as thought provoking. I definitely gained a new understanding and compassion for those who have not been as blessed as I have been.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

8 Questions

Tynan over on put up an interesting life post meant to help you explore your goals and who you are. Here are my answers listed below. Feel free to try it as well.

What do I want my life to look like?

I want to have freedom to enjoy doing the things that I love with the people I love. I want to be relatively free of material possessions and instead strive to achieve life experiences and enhance the life of others. I want to take my faith and self actualization to new levels as I more deeply explore who I am and who God is. I also really want to deeply experience it with someone else and raise a family. I want to at some point undertake my own business adventure and help contribute to the businesses of others.

What do you want your life to look like on a daily basis?

I want to have enough time to enjoy hobbies and activities that I find interesting. I want to feel that the work I do is me operating at my best and contributes in a positive and meaningful way. I want to have strong connections with those around me. I want to be able to constantly experience new activities and get wrapped up in mini passions as I go on throughout life. I want to be a great father to my future kids.

What would I like to be able to say I truly know in my life about my life?
That I lived life to the fullest, contributed positively to the lives of others and accomplished my goals.

How would I like to be with other people in my life - friends, family, business associates, customers, employees, community?


I want to be someone that my friends look too for advice and help. I want to make my friends laugh and want them to have felt better for knowing me. I want to share alot of laughs, and be there for the tough times. And hell, let's party.


I want to develop closer relationships with my family members. I want to be there for advice with my younger siblings and be a model for how to live life. I want to continue to have great experiences.

Business Associates

I want to be counted on to provide a good product. I want others to look to me to have a great new perspective on how something should be done. I want my opinion to be respected. I want to be considered excellent at what I do.


I want my customers to feel like they get value from my services. I want my customers to be able to call me friends. I want my customers to feel that I have a level of integrity that they admire.


I want my employees to love their jobs. I want to help my employees achieve their personal goals and encourage increased productivity and flexibility.


I want my church to be able to count on me for support and consider me and my family active and great members. I want to volunteer in several organizations I find meaningful (Habitat for Humanity, etc.)

How would I like people to think about me?

I would like for people to think of me as someone who they enjoyed getting to know and had fun being around. I would want my wife to think that we had a connection that can't be put into words. I would like my kids to think that they had a dad who loved them and was always there for them.

What do I want to be doing 2,10,20 years from now? At the end of my life?

2 (age 28)

I want to have a strong grasp on what passion I want to pursue. I want to be pushing myself towards that passion. I want to be stronger in the areas of communication, physical health, happiness, and actualization.

10 (age 36)

I would like to have a family by now. I want my family to be different in a way that others admire. I want to experiment with living life in better ways and hope that I have "hacked" my life in a way that makes it so much fun to get up everyday. I want to still have pleasant surprises in life and be financially independent to the point where I only choose to work. I would like to have lived in at least one foreign country at this time.

20 (age 46)

I want to have helped escort my kids into their adulthood and hope that they are all pursuing their dreams and passions. I want to now fully maximize the time I spend with family and friends. I want to start focusing on really contributing and passing down my knowledge to the lives of others. I hope I haven't stopped growing.

End of Life

Well done good and faithful servant

What would I like to learn in my life?

I want to learn or at least try to play the piano. I want to learn Spanish. I want to learn to be a better man. I want to learn random nuggets of truth. I would like to have tried and learned many different skillsets and hobbies.

How much money will I need, and when?

I need enough to do the things that I want when I want. I don't know how much exactly that will be. Probably 250K a year is a solid number.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pursuing Your Passion

Finding balance in life is hard. Often jobs get in the way (as is the case with me right now) or commitments, etc. This leads to a frustration related to a lack of fulfillment as you are neglecting one of your core needs (spiritual, mental, or physical). This isn’t my first experience with a lack of time and in this time of high work load I have utilized several ideas to help me better achieve my needs with the amount of time I’ve had.

Search for Your True Self
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to decide what I’m passionate about and realized that a large part of my activities are related to the idea of trying new things. I enjoy launching little projects or engaging in an activity that is new to me. This is magnified if I do the activity with someone who is passionate about it.
Coming to this realization has enabled me to better address my needs to achieve balance. In the area of spirituality I have explored Yoga, meditation, church, and deep communication. In the area of physical activity I have Crossfit, rock climbing, walking, running, yoga and cycling. Finally, for the mind I have taken up reading of several books, gone to the art museum, and explored the new activities listed above.

Identify Your Time Wasters and Eliminate
I realized that really TV does not accomplish for me any of my goals. I often feel more lethargic and uninspired by watching it. Through this realization I sold my TV and now watch maybe 2 hours a week. And really I don’t miss it at all. I was using television as a time filler and hampering my real goals and desires. Some people may get fulfillment out of TV. And that’s ok because happiness is a personal journey. What in your life is serving as filler and preventing you from pursuing your true passions?

Set Goals

I started a goal board to daily monitor my progress and allow me to have a high level of fulfillment at the end of each day. A large part of my goals are to enact habits that I want to implement. You have to know where you want to go or what you want to accomplish. Set yourself a task list of a few things that if completed will fulfill your day.

None of these ideas are earth shattering or mind blowing, because self improvement isn’t a destination, but a journey. You have to move step by step towards forming your ideal self and part of that revolves around pursuing your passions. If anyone has any great ideas that they have tried or things they have eliminated let me know!