Thursday, December 27, 2012

Defining GRIT

I once heard a man say "Words freeze reality". Sit w/ that for awhile. 

Humans are extremely social animals. To the point that w/o this we will die. Interestingly enough the reason we are so social is due to evolution. Groups made us better able to survive. The mammalian brain developed from millions of years of the outsiders of primitive species getting killed off and failing to reproduce, while the more social insiders stayed close to each other, survived and had offspring. 

Reptillian brain: Instincts like reproduction and survival (food, fight/flight, sex), along w/ our masculinity/femininity.
Mammalian brain: emotions, social stuff like attachment/bonding/friendship, it assigns value to people/events/symbols/information (this is how friendships start, a certain amount of shared positive emotions), we don't have direct influence of this like we do in the higher brain. 

Higher brain: beliefs, intellect, character, commitment and identity, creativity, decision making, ethics, identity, boundaries, etc. This is also where we trick ourselves w/ our own bullshit (logically we know who and what we are but the bullshit is that on some level this logic contradicts our true deep down belief of our self that we've developed since infancy through our experiences and the bullshit is the lie between your logic and your true beliefs that aren't logical, everyone has this, but no one knows that your logic/truth is based on a lie w/o lots of work and being told so, something like this, b/c the lie has been going on before our first memory so it is accepted as "true" and we don't know any different, until we do something about it like this: click here, esp the bottom two). 

Verbal communication (words) live in the top two brains (80% of human communication is done nonverbally). They are important, and why have them if not to be clear on what each mean. How else are we to clearly communicate w/ each other? 

Since the first idea of GRIT GYM there's been a question to how do I define what GRIT means. I know what it means to me, but how will that come across to anyone else. It's not JUST about getting results or being part of a tribe, it's a way of living, it's an attitude, it's about character and growth, it's about being a badass (not the weak, insecure bully or passive type but the strong willed, personable, intelligent person of high character or seeking high character), but this is still vague. To someone else Grit could mean that the gym is full of sand or about clenching your teeth. 

A word that is strikingly interesting to me around this is RESOLVE, as a verb and a noun. 


  • resolution or determination made, as to follow some course of action.
  • Firmness of purpose or intent; determination.

It's been a year of testing one's resolve, the cinderella story is long over and the gym is approaching the terrible two's. Just like anyone else, I know my resolve has limits. H/e I also know that depending on what it is I'm likely to cross that line between tough and stupid long before realizing that I need to give it up or make a change. 

Personally, my resolve is subject to my titles: Man, Coach, Uncle, Friend.

At any point in time this is to be the most incredible that I can be in that particular moment and it has nothing to do w/ perfection. Best coach I can be when I'm coaching, best uncle I can be for the moments when I'm w/ my niece and nephews, and the most incredible friend that I can be when it's time. Which means (and this is the most important for everyone) taking care of myself first to be the most incredible man/person I can be, then I can be of true service. 

"If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself, if you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation." -Lao Tzu
(that's where this would come in: click here

That's my resolve and my preparation for these moments, it's what it takes to be and do the best that I possibly can. The best I can possibly prepare, will prepare me to do/be my best while in these moments. Same goes for everyone. Just so happens that I bite off more than I can chew on a regular basis, and I've fail a lot. Show me someone that's never failed and you'll see a person that's never taken a chance and never tried. 

Failure is not only powerful, it is NECESSARY. What matters is what we do after.
Will we learn and rise, fall apart and crumble, or repeat and stay the same?

GRIT means: 
Can't stop it, can't smooth it out, wont quit. It's about character.

Character is largely built on resolve. That's what GRIT is about. What you are willing to do. Willing to work, will to change, willing to do what you fear, don't understand or not ready for, and willing to challenge everything you 'think' you know or accept of your self and circumstance. GRIT is about resolve and that's up to you, but for GRIT GYM it's about doing w/e it takes, and what it takes is doing your best in each present moment. 

This carries into any application: life, job, sport, passion, studies, family, etc. 

There are people w/ more titles than me, for instance: teacher, partner, wife, husband, mother, father, etc. When it is time to embody that title I hope that everyone has had the resolve to be their best and for that best to be enough.

"It's not about what you're capable of, it's about what you're willing to do."

No one wins every competition. Losing doesn't mean that your not enough. You cannot do better than your best, but most of us are so scared of our best that we avoid thinking about it. We make up pain that hasn't happened yet, what if we lose (click here). If you compete fearing to lose it'll end up like anything else that you go into w/ fear about. You'll lose, even if you win. If you go in accepting that you can fail but you're going to give it every possible thing you have, then you can experience the win and you can lose w/o failing (w/o being defeated). You gave it everything you had for that particular moment, and that's enough. A hat can be hung on that.   

"Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality" -Bruce Lee

So I ask you to define your resolve. It will change as you grow. Just as it should. You'll find yourself recognizing your personal limiting beliefs, things you didn't know existed (like challenging your personal bullshit) and what set/s you apart from others. The nice thing about all this is that there is ONLY ONE YOU, no else can be you, so be your own hero, it's your story that you're living. 

My resolve is simple: The absolute best I have and can do in the present moment and that is enough. Can't stop it, can't smooth it out, wont quit. 

I'm not saying it should be yours, but I encourage you to be courageous, to be present, continuously learn and challenge yourself, and to do your best, which will be incredible as long as it is your best. When you do that, it will be enough. You'll experience the victory, and you'll be able to live w/ loss w/o being defeated. Much like we'll all die, we'll all lose, and much like there's no point in living fearing death b/c it's inevitable and a waste of time/life, competing is the same way. Compete w/ the acceptance that you can lose, but that you're competitor will have to beat your absolute Grittiest, disgustingly aggressive, methodical, focused, relentless best that you have in that present moment and that you've prepared w/. 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our Deepest fear, is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small, does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking So that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine, as children do. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone, and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear; our presence automatically liberates others."

Your best is incredible, if you'll choose to go for it. What you choose is your resolve. 

"The reward for our work is not what we get, but what we become" -Paulo Coehlo 

Resolve to be your best, to be present, and to love yourself. (or for women) 
Add "REES" for a $20 coupon.
-Websters dictionary
-Coach Carter (2005)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Hidden Gem of Plyometrics NO One Talks About

The basics of strength and conditioning come down to one formula. Everything else is built around this. 


The more force we can produce the faster we run, higher we jump and stronger we will be. 

We can do this two ways: increase mass (resistance training like squats and deadlifts) or increase acceleration (plyometrics like jumps and sprints). This is a spectrum not an absolute, and in between would include weighted jumps, kettlebell swings/cleans/snatches and olympic lifts to name a few. 

H/e what is being missed in the plyometric world, THE HIDDEN GEM, is NOT in the initial jump like most coaches and people assume and seems logical at first glance. The initial jump does have merit, but the REAL BREAD AND BUTTER of a plyometric is actually in the LANDING. 

  • In landing we're learning how to absorb force properly, which decreases injuries, allows for quicker transitions w/ less energy as well as to better change levels. (Almost all traumatic injuries occur during deceleration. Look at ACL tears, it's almost always during the landing after a jump.) 
  • Landing is the fastest part of the movement. It's where our body will develop the MOST FORCE. Therefore it's where we get the most out of the exercise. It's also the most stressful and why it's pivotal to progress athletes correctly w/ a foundation of strength to handle that landing first, and avoid too much volume. This is where we get the real gains in force production, it's NOT in the initial jump.

During a box jump, we're raising where we'll land in order to learn to land w/ babysteps (less force to absorb). As we progress the box should actually GET SHORTER rather than TALLER.

We're jumping as high as we can regardless, the landing will become more difficult as the box gets lower to the ground b/c the body will be traveling further. More time in the air means more acceleration means more force to be absorbed. 

Loading up boxes to ridiculous heights isn't training, it's entertainment, a circus act. It'd be similar to a fighter throwing a punch harder when 5' away than 1' away.  

Not only is this dangerous and silly, but it's also of little to no value to an athlete's training. Anyone can do this stuff, it does NOT aide performance. 

My best cue for jumping is to do so LIKE A NINJA. 

  1. Jump as high as you can regardless. 
  2. Land w/ no noise in athletic position ready to move.

For more infomation Click Here: How To Become A Ninja

A friend of mine actually showed me this book. Apparently he bought it when he was a kid, and it is fantastic. The pictures alone make it worthy of anyone's coffee table. 

Learning Movement

We have to do a movement 1,000x perfectly before we can do it w/o conscious thought. In competition, this becomes very important, b/c we can't be thinking about how we're jumping if we want to play well, too much internal focus. We need to be thinking about the game. 

In the batters box an athlete can't be thinking about his/her swing, s/he needs her/his head on the ball. The 1,000 perfect swings needed to have already happened so that the athlete's head can be clear and the bat can fly how it needs to in order to connect how we want it to. 

Same thing here, learning to land properly in a controlled environment that way it happens automatically during competition, w/o thinking, just the way we want it to. 

  • Start w/ arms high (this aides downward propulsion that we'll have to overcome and will in turn actually make us jump higher)
  • Throw arms + load hips
  • Jump as high as possible whether it's a 10" or a 36" box
  • Land by absorbing the force (no noise, toe-heel, opposite of the jump) into athletic position, loaded and ready......LIKE A NINJA

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sports psych and Food addiction

Before starting this post take into account that this information is coming from studies of credible science based information and been reviewed w/ a renowned sports psychologist and behavioral therapist. 

It's widely agreed upon that 90% of any game is mental, which means 10% is technical. 

So why then do we spend more than 90% of our time on technique and less than 10% on the mental side? 

This is the newest video I did w/ the news and goes through some of what I notice in the relationship between mental health and progress in sports and workouts. 

Much like suns damage to skin, it's already done. We learned as children and have a lot of reps over the years. Reacting (small/large) to our experiences w/ anger, anxiety, shutting down, running away, giving up, etc. These reactions are based on fear, and it's not about getting rid of the fear. We ALL have to have it, fight or flight is built on fear and w/o this portion of our reptilian brain we wouldn't survive. 

Extreme example, but we're all reacting in much more mild ways (could be a small habit we don't know about) throughout our day, the idea is to recognize when and then refocus.

We need fear, it's presence is NOT the issue. The issue is how we manage it. Acknowledging it, learning about ourselves, recognizing it, and refocusing for continual improvement. We all have and need this, no one is exempt, and the best are the people that acknowledge and learn to manage it.

It's also very real. Most of the time this stuff sounds like hocus pocus bullshit, but it's deeply rooted in our psychology and our biology. There is a mind body connection that we CAN MEASURE. This is the science behind Omegawave. Cortisol and adrenaline in blood, heart rate variability, grip strength, vertical jump, are all measurable and directly related to the biology - psychology connection. The body doesn't differentiate between stress: a fight w/ a friend, hard day at work, football game or a broken bone, stress is stress. 

It's hard work that takes time, as well as a coach (we're too good at tricking ourselves or suppressing it to figure it out on our own). Much like a baseball pitcher changing throwing mechanics. It takes 1,000 good reps before a change in technique is made permanent w/o thinking about it, and that's w/ a coach there delivering feedback. The pitcher can't watch his arm action and throw the ball at the same time, his mechanics would never change, and he probably wouldn't know there's anything to improve. 

It's recognizing when we feel these reactions, then accumulating good reps. No one is perfect, we all stumble, but we have to learn from each time. 

So when you subconsciously grab that handful of candy/comfort food, and eat it only to realize what you've done 5min after or don't know why you want it so badly, don't label it failure, learn from it and move fwd. Talk about it w/ your coach. Get deep w/ a behavioral therapist about what's really going on up stairs. S/he is the coach giving feedback on the arm action during the pitches. Your behaviors are the pitches and your mind is the arm action, and it could be clear down to foot placement. But you can't see it, and you never will on your own. 

A few sports psych things to think about: 

Anger is an aggressive display to push others away from seeing our fear. As kids we're taught that being afraid is weak and shameful. From the logic side of the bystander, we show anger to create distance so others wont see that we're afraid. Afraid to be afraid b/c fear is weak. This is unreasonable. 

Could be fear of failure, who knows, but that athlete has no idea why they're mad let alone that they're scared. Think of that the next time you see a football player throw his helmet (he didn't perform good enough, fear of failure). We'll never play up to our best potential when we're angry. Too much internal focus, can't think. We can feel or we can think, not at the same time. It's about management and learning through repetitions, the sooner we can start recognizing this and performing GOOD reps the better. 

Anxiety can be seen two ways. It's a call to action, to make a decision, to be courageous (do the right thing even if it's not the feel good thing). Or a fear that we wont be good enough. Wont perform well enough, aren't big enough, strong enough, smart enough, fast enough, successful enough, etc. This is where perfectionists, workaholics, and cortisol addicts live. 

Why get nervous before a wrestling match? It's an opportunity to showcase all the hard work. It should be exciting, amped up, ready to go. Instead we get nervous and scared of not being good enough to win so athletes compensate that w/ anger to hype up that way. Now there's some fake courage to take into the match, not enough external focus, and too much internal focus, so can't think. Athlete's should be excited, not scared. Excited is when they'll perform their best and that's when they'll have the best experience. 

The passive athlete is so scared to do their best that they wont even take the bat off their shoulder. It's a depressive's attitude. Hoping for the world/others to satisfy them. In this case that'd be a walk from the pitcher and/or umpire. Trouble is the only other outcome is to strike out. Home run, hit, walk, or an out. 3/4 is a lot better than 1/2. Especially when the 1 (a walk) isn't all that great. No risk, no investment, no reward. 

The outcome of a competition is dependent on if the best an athlete can do that day is better than their opponents best that day. It's not a cop out. Any day this can go both ways. The whole "control" thing is an illusion, the more fear we have, the more we attempt to control. It's not about controlling anything, it's about performing up to a personal best that day. Could have the flu, could have something happen in your family, could've failed a test, official could make a bad call, doesn't matter. We want the best possible performance in that competition that day, and that's enough, and that's where we get to enjoy our experience. It's not a cop out, it's the best you can possibly do. 

It's all about managing these fears, and through that we can start learning from our repetitions. 

Then we're enjoying playing and working out more, doing so for the right reasons, and making more progress than we thought we could all b/c we can be aware and recognize our fears and then better learn to manage them for not only progress in sports, but also in life. There's a lot of carry over that we learn from sports. 

We'd be better athletes that have a better experience. We'd be better coaches and better parents. Stand up w/ better posture, more progress from workouts, live more fulfilling lives, we'd be enough for ourselves. Not content, but our best would be enough.  

If we started this well before 12yrs old, we'd change the world. 

-This blog is written w/ the help of Morrie Adams a renowned sports psych and behavioral therapist. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

5 Pieces to Honing the Abnormal Great Life

Possibly my most important post ever

To speak in third person for a moment, there's a side most people don't know about Adam Rees. He’s a pretty normal guy, but crazy when a problem presents itself, whenever/however that may happen (sometimes we don't realize problems until we get roundhouse kicked in the face), going into almost complete immersion, for h/e long and with w/e intensity it takes.  

It’s an abnormal extreme but it's mine. Books, digital products, articles, etc. I do every activity and give each overwhelming thought and application. This could be 4books or 20; I could study/perform assignments/participate in activities for hours a day for weeks and/or months at a time if necessary. See? Crrrrazy.

What does this mean for you? It leads to you getting the best stuff I've found. Today's topic is Psych/mindset. Everything here is your choice, and none of it is absolute, but it is all great stuff.

Grab a paper and pen
First participate in this activity. You'll eventually be glad you did. Do each part as you go, do NOT read ahead, and it will be clear at the end. 
  • Take out a piece of paper
  • On the left side write down some of the people and things that annoy you or get under your skin. 
  • On the right side write down some of the people you admire and what it is about them that you admire.
If you haven't actually written this down, Do. 
  • The left side of the paper is a mirror of yourself and your looking at things you find you don't like in you, things that probably need help. 
  • The right side of the paper is showing the things that you are not allowing to show through in your self, and that you should. 
Realities can be hard to accept. Mine was fairly upsetting and hard to believe, but it was true. 

Personality Tests

The orange, blue, green, gold test is interesting but this is different. Fair warning, it is written as if it's for romantic relationships, lots of psych stuff is geared that way. It can be a turn off but I'm sure it helps them w/ sales, look past the marketing and read for your own reasons. (take the free test)

So, embrace who you are, but reach toward the other quadrants. I'm ridiculously on the warrior end of the continuum. So I need to love, laugh and let people help me more often. 

MindOS (use the coupon code “REES” for a $20 discount)

This is an incredible system for getting your thoughts straight and allowing growth, and actually where I was exposed to the KWML test. It is a MUST BUY RIGHT NOW, no questions asked. 

This goes into turning anger and anxiety into self esteem and well being, amongst just about everything else on your mind, in order to live a better and more clear life. From being busy just to be busy and dealing w/ negative emotions/thoughts, to building confidence, self esteem and even courage, of which is interestingly a very big player in the mental game.

It is a MUST BUY RIGHT NOW. This is NOT something you ask yourself if you can afford, it's can you afford not to. It is a game changer. Take1hr, 30min, h/e much time each am/pm and apply it. 

Dr. Paul is an actual psych doctor, not just a self help guru and his stuff is geared towards relationships, but he’s not going into “skills”, he’s going into your inner psychology and teaching you to help yourself. It really is something that everyone should go through. 

I’ve actually spoken w/ Dr. Paul and by using the coupon code “REES” (all caps, no quotations) you’ll get a $20 discount on any product:

Dr. Paul’s suggestions are at the end.

A friend sent me this video. After completing the MindOS system you'll understand how important it really is. 
Start journalling every day. I keep a notebook beside my bed that's written in every night. You'll be amazed how much you learn about yourself while writing and day to day. 

Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton

I've read plenty of sports psych and a few general psych books but none that flipped my brain as much as this one. I wouldn't call it a must read, but suggested. 

It's probably the weirdest book you'll ever read, but very interesting. The author is a cellular biologist at Stanford. 

This book will shake you and you want to be shook.

The Presence Process by Michael Brown

Being "present" may be one of the most important pieces of life we can attain. The past has already happened, and the future is just an idea. We're constantly in the present, but physical and mental presence is different and the idea that you have control of or are able to handle that present is sadly a lie for almost all of us. We’re not able to "think" our way to a present state, thinking quite literally negates the ability to be present. 

Imagine sitting on a rock along side the Rio Grande in Colorado during the middle of August at dawn (dry, comfortable, mildly cold, gorgeous, peaceful). In that moment nature’s beauty is all around you. "Thinking" into this moment and your mind will race, it wants what's next and will not experience the moment. Being present in that moment is entirely different. Have presence and you can sit, appreciate, and enjoy what is happening all around you. No need to speak or entertain yourself, just breathe, listen, watch and experience what is happening. This can be applied to relationships w/ kids/significant other/friends, work, recreation, happy and sad moments and even disagreements/arguments.

Some words that come to mind here are: worry, anxiety, anger, sadness, shame. Some of us live in these. There are better ways. 

Idk what Presence could do in your life, but I can tell you that anything can improve, and growth is always a good thing. To grow is to live, w/o growth we're psychologically dead even if our physical body is alive. 

That's why I suggest this book, even though I haven't yet finished it. 

The Presence Process

It is a 10 week process of 15 minute practices/meditation 2x/day. Supposedly most people don't make it through due to the emotional pain that has been repressed for years, often times even forgotten, but resurfaces through the process in order to deal w/ it and heal as a mature adult. It seems most of these pains happened when we were children and we didn't know how to deal w/ them so we suppressed them in order to be a good little boy/girl for mom, dad and/or whoever else. Through this process we find growth in being "in the moment' or "present" (some call this mindfulness) and it's apparently led to amazing discoveries and better lives and relationships for many "normal" people w/ "normal" problems in "normal" life (quotations are there for a reason). 

Everyone can carve 15 minutes into their morning and afternoon/evening. Just like anything else, it's not about FINDING the time, it's about MAKING the time. 
Click here: The Presence Process

As an Individual

Reading books and educating yourself goes a long way, but actually getting a non biased look from a professional at you as a specific individual is something all of us can take benefit.

We all have "our truths", the things we believe about ourselves. These "truths" could be good/bad/correct/incorrect but we believe them regardless. As an individual a book cannot point out your particular truths, or direct you to challenge the areas that may lead to the way of best improvement. Talking to a professional can, especially when combined w/ the other materials. 

In Iowa City I refer these two professionals:
  • Morrie Adams (319)351-6654
       320 Kirkwood Ave, #1, Iowa City, IA 52240

  • Ann Kramer (319)755-0174

I realize the stigma of going to a therapist (that you’re actually crazy), the comfort zone in "knowing" yourself, and the pride in "DIY", which are all understandable but absurd. 

There's no way you can grow and develop as far as you'd like, in the amount of time you'd like w/o help. It's actually not likely that it'll ever happen on your own. Choosing to delay this for yourself is choosing to say NO to you, and in that decision, everyone loses: career, friends, family, significant others, and most of all you. In my mind every decision should be or at least seek to be win-win. Saying no to you is lose-lose, which should be strictly avoided. 

If having the humility to let someone help you could lead to further owning your true self and lead to a happier more successful life (work and relationships especially), it's an easy answer, do it, even if you feel like there's nothing wrong.

None of this is saying it'll be easy. But just like anything else, nothing worth having comes easy, and the journey is always more than worth it. 

Don't passively wait, hoping for life to teach you to be a person of high character. This would be naively optimistic. A positive realist takes the responsibility to live, learn, and evolve to be better, starting now. H/e when the student is ready the means/teacher appears. I'm not the teacher, but maybe this is the day. 

I'm not asking you to understand or agree w/ me, I'm asking you to trust me. There's no need to wait for life to knock you down, if you even get that lucky. Take the leap. It's courageous to take the leap, perform courage. 

*** (take the test)

***MindOS (Use the coupon code REES at checkout for a $20 discount)
            -WOMEN MindOS
            -MEN MindOS

There's a quote from one of my favorite movies that we'll end w/. It puts some heavy lessons in a small package.

"Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you as we know you: as Albert Mondego, the man." -The Count of Monte Cristo

Dr. Paul's Additional Suggestions:


***Complete Feminine Empowerment

***Seventh Sense


***Mature Masculine Power

***Omega Male



They’re marketed and copywritten as romantic relationship advice which is kind of funny b/c these are NOT about “relationship/dating skills”, it’s much deeper than that, down in the roots of our thoughts and beliefs (limiting/constructive). Any of these will lead to incredible growth and improvement. In much more than just a romantic relationship, that’s more of a positive by product that comes from being a person of or seeking to be of high character.