GallantFew’s philosophy on transition fits within STAR: Self-Training And Response-ability. The five points of the STAR include Emotional Wellness, Social Wellness, Professional Wellness, Spiritual Wellness and Physical Wellness. This article is an introduction by US Army Ranger veteran Clarence Matthews, one of our Subject Matter Experts (SME).
A lot of people think of fitness as a simply “being in shape”. That’s a very narrow view and I’m not going to say that I will capture the whole picture either. As I grow as a fitness and military professional, I hope I never stop learning. To define fitness to me is a challenge more so because for each person it’s so vastly different.
Fitness should encompass not just the body but the mind and soul as well. I’ve learned that all of it touches one another and not just how you “feel” but how you act. The subconscious is a powerful thing; for that is what drives us more than we like to think. For me, it (fitness) is more about finding balance in what I do so that how I act matches how I want to act. Without having to make a conscious decision to act a certain way.
Work, family, friends, leisure; all these things add stress to our lives. Now stress can either break us down or it can push us forward. There is a difference between good stress and bad stress. And stress does have an accumulative effect.
I’ll keep this article short and give you a guideline on subsequent articles so I can give each portion it’s due diligence. Hopefully, you’ll get involved and shoot me an email along the way so this is collaborative and not just me whipping the keyboard.
This is all based on personal experience that I’ve either done myself or helped others start moving in a positive direction. I will spend a considerable amount of time on the first and last portions; Body and Soul. Book ends.
a. This is not simply going to the gym or for a run. It means eating right too. Nutrition is so SOOOOO important. If you put cheap gas in your car, eventually it wont run so well. So how can you expect your body to function optimally if you’re slamming burgers and twinkies in your face? It means listening to your body and knowing when to push and when to slow down so you don’t over train or injure yourself. You’d be amazed at how valid the saying “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” is. Taking the time to dial in your nutrition and workout program so it works for you and you do both regularly is a life style change and it takes a while. So be patient. Yes, these two things lead to #2. Why? If you expend enough energy in a smart and consistent manner and you’re eating well…..you guessed it…you get tired. And you sleep. Oh you glorious angel called sleep.
b. I’ll also talk about some holistic treatments that I highly recommend to help release pent up tension. If your body can’t rest, your mind is gonna have a heck of a time resting.
c. Abuse: Drugs, alcohol and other nasty habits. I’ll be spending some time on this one as well. These are nothing but screams for help instead of facing life head on. For some addiction is a huge problem and a disease. I can speak to both through my own challenges.
a. #1 touches the mind in ways you might not realize. But be careful because the mind touches the body too. If you’re too distracted, you can’t be steady and consistent. So it does take diligence and more creativity than you might think. I like to look at it like a puzzle or a game. Not something to grow frustrated at. If you’re making a positive change in your life, having a positive attitude, realizing that it takes time will make a world of difference.
b. When you find that sweet spot, where you’re sleeping well; you will slowly see marvelous changes in how you “feel” and how you treat people. For me, I was amazed at how much more patience I had with others. Several times over the last year or two I have reached a spot where I was on auto pilot for the most part. I got up, went to work, ate well, went to the gym, played with my kid and boom! I was dead asleep. I was waking up refreshed and ready to go. I still had the same family, work and financial stress I had before; hell more so to be honest cause it increased; but it seemed like background noise. Last year, I went through my marriage ending, getting laid off and fighting alcohol abuse….I feel just fine. I overcame those difficulties and although I’m not where I want to be physically, I actually feel good. Not only that, my mind was sharper and I was more attentive. Life in general was just more clear. Little by little life happens and I haven’t missed a drop. Is it ideal? Nope. But I’m in control and I draw strength from others. Yes, that’s the segue to the soul.
a. Some of us fight demons that most cannot understand. I’m going to spend a lot of time on this but to be short, don’t isolate yourself. Admitting you need a hand or shit upstairs is ruining your life is no different than calling for QRF when things get ugly on a mission. We’ve all been there to varying degrees and a lot of us are doing great things professionally and enjoying a fantastic personal life. Why? Because guys like me reached out and asked for help. Asked how I could get involved and help others. The bottom line here is that you’re not alone and I’m always a phone call away.
b. Faith: There’s an old saying that there’s no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole. Now, I’m not preaching religion, I’m saying that faith is a powerful thing and there are many ways to practice and enrich your soul. If it’s church, whatever faith, go. If it’s a weekly card game or rock climbing or a Saturday morning breakfast with friends or family, have at it and embrace it. Believe it or not, I like yoga. A lot. I don’t buy into the spiritual aspects of it because I get that from Christianity by reading about my faith and going to church. Truth be told though, it’s not all that different in word. But what it does for my body is incredible. I feel challenged, refreshed and almost ambivalent to the “noise” of life after a week or so of good classes. The point here is whatever you believe in; give it the required time on a regular basis. For without our souls, what are we?
Life to me, is fitness. A beautiful struggle. By being fit, by being involved with GallantFew, by doing my level best to be the best dad that I can be, that’s the balance I seek and is what makes me feel more like me.
I look forward to sharing more and hearing your thoughts, your experiences. Until then, it’s time to start moving. Once you start moving, keep moving. Trust me, those words will ring very loudly to some and they hold a lot of water. Give it a go.