By: Derek Wellock
I wonder how many people read the title and got a little worked up? Awe, some might see Fake News, and immediately make an assumption about what I am going to get at. You need to keep reading.
August 11, 2018, I decided to take full control of every aspect of my life and I have been making great progress, particularly in the health and stress management departments, but after reading David Goggin’s book “Can’t Hurt Me” this past month I stepped up to the “Accountability Mirror”, you know, the one in your bathroom. There staring back at you in the mirror probably exists the biggest amount of Fake News that is truly the single thing holding you back from reaching your goals.
Today February 11, 2019, is 6 months with zero alcohol. The last few years, alcohol became more than a social indulgence, it became a coping tool to help me with stress. I would have a couple of drinks during the week. Come home in the evening and need a drink to trigger wind down time, to hopefully help me get an elusive night sleep that has been void in my life during the last few years. Anyone who owns a business knows that particularly in the beginning it truly owns you. I decided to start a business and family at the same time. So it fully owned me. Alcohol’s sneaky little habit snuck in there on me. I would have at most 2-3 drinks during the work week and a couple drinks on the weekend. Then once every month or two, tie on a good binge drinking with some friends out having a good time to blow off steam. To the modern public this is a light amount of alcohol. It was the reason why, along with compounding effects of many things, that lead me to give it up for a year at a minimum, maybe the rest of my life, jury is still out on this.
I got blood work back that tested so many things, high LDL, poor kidney function, elevated cortisol, very low testosterone, and unacceptable body composition from the InBody scan showing 22% body fat. I was still able to compete in group class workouts with my peers and that gave me a false feeling of being healthy and fit. This was all hidden behind fake news. The fake news I confronted in the mirror and decided to quit lying to myself and make some changes.
Alcohol was the first step. Then, with the help of Coach Joaquin and Arthur, I started owning every aspect of my diet, learning things about how my body responds to carbohydrates, fats, and proteins which I had never done once in my life. I was always able to mask or hide it behind an above normal athletic performance. True health doesn’t care about your performance. All matrix of a healthy and happy life, I was truly failing in all aspects, using performance as a facade to hide behind.
Sleep quality was subpar at best, stress was high, blood pressure was high, I actually got diagnosed with a heart murmur which the cardiologist diagnosed as athletic heart syndrome when your left ventricle gets so strong from conditioning that it can cause a murmur. This murmur actually became a place of pride versus a warning sign, because damn, I pushed my body so hard I caused my heart to grow. Also, 2 years ago, I destroyed some already hurt disks in my back, competing. Competing when I should not have been because my body was in a dire state of not feeling well. I can honestly say I had forgotten what it is like to feel good, really good.
Fast forward the last 6 months and my life and body has improved so much, that I can’t put it into words. Direct LDL down from 174 to 108, body composition is improving, my blood pressure is normal again, my heart murmur is all of a sudden gone (I bet is was stress, not athletic heart syndrome) But either way, I still get to go to the cardiologist every few years to check on it. In March I get my hormones tested again to see how that is improving through lifestyle alone.
My children still don’t let me sleep a lot, but I can say my sleep quality has improved tremendously, before this change in my lifestyle 4-5 hours of sleep I was a zombie who needed 3-4 cups of coffee to get through the day. Now, I drink one cup because I enjoy it not because I need it and feel human when I go through the day. Stress no longer has a hold on me, not only have I learned to let go of the things I have no control over but I do believe the improved quality of sleep, cutting alcohol and controlling carbohydrates my body and mind is now able to process and handle stress and anxiety much much better than it used too. I can honestly say I have not felt anxiety for the last few months. Not being able to hide behind a cocktail has forced me to own managing my stress and confronting it.
My athletic performance has also improved a lot. Although my back pain is something I will always have to manage with putting ego aside, training smart and MOVING with great form. I believe the back injury is my ongoing reminder that my health is the most important thing I need to focus on. Without health, I can’t be a great husband, father, friend or leader. But the back pain has become another source of fake news I needed to confront.
I have overcome a lot and faced a lot of self-imposed BS excuses for the last 6 months of my life to get healthier. It has not been easy and it has been taxing emotionally at times. Change even for good, is hard. My motivation each morning is my family. I want to be a badass father and an even more badass grandfather. That means taking steps everyday to achieve that. I want my son and daughter to look at me as a superhero. That is my motivation. 3 months into my lifestyle change, initial blood work showed very little progress, body composition changed very slowly and is still changing very slowly, my visceral body fat is holding on with an Alex Honnold grip. It has been hard not to get discouraged, and let old habits slip back in. I am also a perfect candidate for testosterone therapy. I am done fathering children and have the testosterone levels of a young boy. Medical hormone therapy is a very enticing quick fix because I know that body composition would change very fast if I did it. But, when I look in the mirror can I honestly say I have done everything to let my body heal itself. Let’s be honest, I have spent the last 15 years not living a ideal healthy lifestyle. For me to think that my body is going to fix itself in 6 short months is utter BS. Although my body is healing fast in comparison, it is going to take a long time of a disciplined and a healthy lifestyle to get it back. This is not a 30-day challenge, I am on a life challenge for achieving health and fitness excellence now.
Back to the accountability mirror and my back pain. I have made steps to improve, checked my ego in group class WODs. I have learned what hurts it and which movements really hurt it. But when I look in the mirror can I say, “have I done everything to help it.” Hell no I haven’t. I don’t cool down very well after workouts, I have not stretched at all with consistency ever in my life. Again always able to hide behind the athletic performance, not saying I am a superstar athlete, but I can keep up with my peers just fine. Well, the last 2 weeks I started stretching 60-90 minutes per day. Guess what is happening now. Surprise. My back pain went from living at 6 to a 7 on a pain scale of 1-10 each day, where I couldn’t tie my shoes in the morning, and now I may wake up and my pain is at a 2 and after a little morning moving and stretching the pain is gone. You might say, I don’t have time to stretch. I can tell you that is the same BS I said and it is self-inflicted Fake News.
Saying I don’t have time is a lie. If it matters, you will find the time. Facing my, I don’t have time to stretch lie, was the key to unlocking my back pain. I started stretching when playing with the kids. Holding a seated straddle for 20 minutes while building blocks with a toddler is a pretty solid hip opener. Taking 15 minutes after a workout to stretch and cool down while talking with friends instead of sitting around doing nothing. Holding the couch stretch in my chair while standing at my desk, these short bouts have been adding up to 90 minutes of stretching per day. Right before bed, I do a 15-minute routine to put my body in relaxed state to fall asleep. Jackson has other plans for my sleep, haha, but I am creating the habit because someday my kids will sleep through the night.
Although we run out of time every single day as we take a little closer step to an empty time tank on earth. I mean each day we approach the inevitability of death on earth. With that in mind, stop with fake news that confronts you in the mirror every day. Start to maximize time, to improve your health, your family, your job, and all the things that matter to you in this lifetime. Life is not a 30-day challenge. Life is a grind minute after minute. You have to put in the work every minute you have to achieve the goals you want. If average is your goal, great. But I can bet when you look in the mirror, there is some BS that you are telling yourself that you are good enough, you have accomplished enough. Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t. But face it and be honest about it. Remember nothing is a get rich, fit, healthy scheme. 99% of the time change and growth takes a lot of work and long term commitment to it.
I know this is a long read, but if one person reads it and starts to maximize their life by taking self responsibility for their life it will have been worth it. Your life is worth it, stop lying to yourself if you have not taken full ownership of your time and your goals during this short span we have on earth.
Remember, when you come to Double Edge, you come here for more than a 1-hour workout. You come here to be a part of the best fitness community in Reno, but I believe in the country. I don’t think many people understand that. We strive to provide the best 1-hour workout experience possible to maximize your time in the gym. One thing to remember you pay for coaching. Double Edge has the most full-time professional fitness coaches in the area who are dedicated to your health and fitness success. You get more than an hour. As a member, you get access to a huge wealth of knowledge and experience, so use it. If you are struggling with any aspect of your health and fitness reach out to your coach via email, text, Insta. And set up a time to meet with them and pick their brain on how you can overcome challenges and achieve your health and fitness goals. Always feel free to reach out to me too, I am here to help.
Here is to maximizing your time in 2019 and beyond in all aspects of your life.