Like many of the phrases on the ever-growing list of Shit We Say at Mark Fisher Fitness, I don’t remember the first time I said “get better.”
During the very first MFF business meeting with my business partner Michael Keeler, he unveiled the beginnings of our business plan. After having watched me teach a few classes, the phrase “get better” stuck with him. He included it in the beginning of the section on values, and I loved it, not realizing I was the one who had said it repeatedly while teaching class.
From our very inception, this relentless desire for incremental improvement has driven every facet of MFF. And for the most part, this is fucking awesome. I attribute much of our success to not only embracing this value as a team, but being able to get Ninjas to buy into it as well.
That said, every coin has both a head and a tail. All things in life require balance. Just as training needs to be balanced with recovery, the pursuit of excellence needs to be balanced with an appreciation of what you’ve achieved. More than merely stopping to smell the roses, humans who constantly seek to get better need to make sure to take time to celebrate how far they’ve come.
As we find ourselves in the holiday season, I’d love to suggest a slightly unconventional recommendation for those on the path to fitness glory: take some time and celebrate yourself.
The MFF world is dominated by high achievers, both on the team and across the breadth of the Ninja Army. For those driven to pursue excellence, it can often seem a waste of time to go on vacation or go see a movie or spend a whole day in your pajamas. But sometimes it’s the very thing needed to fertilize the soil of productivity.
This is not unlike the thought process that deems taking an hour to go workout a waste of time. Fitness is often something we choose to put off, to be added into our life at some nebulous “later” in our lives when we have more time. Unfortunately “later” never comes for most people. Furthermore, the use of several hours a week for fitness would ultimately provide a positive return on the investment of time in the form of better health, more self-confidence, and more energy.
Along the same lines, some dedicated time spent playing and dreaming and zoning out is often the very thing the brain needs to do its best work.
Have you done this lately? Maybe you should!
On the one hand, this post is obviously a public calling out for myself. Being a student of human behavior, I know that publicly stating my desire to honor myself with more downtime in 2013 will make it more likely for me to achieve said goal.
But I also know this is a message many of you may need to hear as well. Each Ninja must find their own path and their own balance here. As you read this, you will probably have some sense as to whether this is an issue for you. We all know many folks have no problem taking it easy. But for those of you that burn with the light of a thousand suns and display a Herculean work ethic, I invite you to think seriously about taking more time to chill.
By all means… get better! Work your mother fucking ass off and make life your bitch. It’s virtually impossible to achieve great deeds in this world without having seasons of imbalance where the focus is on excellence in some realm of life, whether it be career or finances or health and hotness.
But do make sure to take time for yourself. If the endgame is to be the best possible version of yourself, you have to get serious about taking time off from the grindstone. In the long run, this leads to better results anyway. Just as the quality of your recovery (sleep, foam rolling, nutrition, water intake, deload weeks) will always limit the results of your training, your ability to take time for yourself will always limit your professional, intellectual, and emotional productivity.
And just like any goal, if you know you struggle to take downtime, I recommend making it a priority. When you work on your written goal setting for the 1st quarter of 2013 (DO IT), I recommend setting aside some weekends for dedicated fun and adventure and relaxation. By applying the same strategy here as you do when you schedule your workouts for the week ahead (DO IT), you’ll ensure that you don’t start to rationalize why you don’t need that vacation after all.
So remember, when you’re getting drunk with grandma and eating cookies, this seeming indulgence of Short Term You may be the very thing needed to look out for the best interests of Long Term You. I sincerely hope you’re all having an awesome holiday season and having some downtime with people you love.
Grandma knows how to chill the fuck out.