Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
May 21, 2017
Let me just start off with this particular sentence…I have been blasting a boat load of Soundgarden this past week.
Sadly, the vestiges of my youth continue to dwindle and shrivel, and the clear indication toward the advancement of age is the realization that nothing is infinite. It was weird when I witnessed great actors like Sean Connery and Gene Hackman retire, forgetting those grand thespians were way too old to keep doing the things they were doing. So that realization is one side of the coin. But seeing someone not much older than you pass on…well, that just stinks. As you probably know by now, one of the rock gods of my youth by the name of Chris Cornell passed away from suicide (depending on who you really listen to on the subject) and he was barely 52. He looked like he was in good health, but the haunting observation of his final concert painted a much different story. I lamented the same way when Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland died and also when Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley died. We all know the stories…drugs, alcohol and depression seem to play a role. That vigor for something more kept the fires of addiction well fed. Some of my favorite bands are now gone and stowed away in the celestial baggage department, for I will never listen to them with some other frontman. They can call themselves something different but it will never be the same. While the debate about Cornell will rage on, the truth is, he has probably had these deep rooted feelings of death on his mind for many years. The convenient bad guy will be to blame his Ativan prescription, which obviously can cause some feelings of suicide right on the warning label. But you have to look back at some of his work and while we might think of his songs as angsty tropes from the angsty as hell 90s, perhaps they were cries for help? I mean, the entire “Superunkown” album is filled with snippets of strife and depression, from songs like “Fell on Black Days,” “Let Me Drown” and of course….“Like Suicide.” It continued in the “Down on the Upside” album, where some of the songs like “Pretty Noose” and “Tighter and Tighter” might have been continued cries for help. I’m no expert, so I am just going to leave it there when it comes to the imagery. From a personal perspective, one of the main reasons why I cannot seem to write anymore is not necessarily from a writer’s block, but from the fact I am no longer depressed, angry and sad. Some of my best ideas and writing were during my years as an overweight, depressed celestial body. I understand that now, and considering I have been listening to “Superunknown” a lot these last couple days, perhaps Cornel was in a bad place much like myself. It might make some sense as to why that album is so freaking amazing. Fifteen songs on the album and really only one clunker. How often do you see that? Usually most albums barely have three of four really good songs and the rest of just filler. With “Superunknown" the debate would have been which songs do you promote over the other. The were releasing singles off that LP for two years!! Truly one of the best albums of any decade, yet people are fixated on a blond hack who’s own band hated him and found more success on their own (I’m talking about Nirvana and Kurt Cobain). Anyway, this is obviously another one of those blogs that will focus on mental health rather than the physical, because let’s face it…without a sound mind, we are nothing.
Mental health will always be a hot topic in society, for it is the proverbial boogie man when it comes to developing a reason for something. Often times it is truly the source of the problem, and it leaves people baffled when a seemingly pristine existence was canceled due to a hidden inner strife. Trust me, it is easy to hide the inner turmoil, especially when you have something to hide behind. For me, the eating and drinking made it easy, and while some people probably had some ideas what was in my mind, it took some really deep soul searching to ultimately believe it. Then there is the fact I had a lot of pop culture nonsense rattling in my brain, hiding the lack of depth in my heart and mind by recanting other people’s inventions rather than establishing my own. I guess that might be why I’m a little lost mentally right now, especially when it comes to finding something I truly love and enjoy. Eventually I will find it, but it is coming slowly and gradually. I mean, the calls I seem to like the most at work is when some poor schlub is looking to get a new phone and is seeking honest opinions about deals and phones. I’m pretty good with my honesty, and perhaps that is what I should continue to cultivate and gently breed within my heart and mind. I’m sure some people will be mad at me when I steer people in certain directions that will be beneficial for them rather than what will benefit the body politic. I mean, I intentionally told a woman that she needs to disconnect a couple lines on her account to save money. I didn’t do the usual nonsense the higher ups tell me, saving a phone line at all costs to keep the lines active. I had to listen to a scummy stuffed suit this week tell me that we need to focus on the potential revenue of the customer rather than the actual customer’s financial needs. Personally, I believe what I do and suggest is much better than trying to talk someone into getting a tablet they don’t need. Empathy is a valuable tool in this situation, and I feel I am pretty good at it.
Right now, I am struggling mentally with my fitness, and I have constantly harped about my lack of motivation in some of the previous blogs. I’m working on that mentality right now, and believe me, it is just another doldrum. But why do we fall into these holes? Why do we mindlessly go through the routine? It’s a coping mechanism I guess, for me I fall into these pits where I have come too far to even think about quitting. I think this is why I really need the WODs that I’m being forced to do at Parsons Training. It gets me off the hook just a little bit, allowing me to workout without trying to figure out what to do. Thursday had a series of five workouts that I easily blew through five times, which was the requirement that Jon set up for me that day. Rather than doing the workout until I absolutely got bored with it, I opted to come up with some new ideas and added some other workouts on the docket. I worked some parts of my body that I felt were not punished hard enough and supplemented with some of my own idea. I actually added some squats and ball slams to get me through the one hour workout, and it made for a pretty good workout to end the week. It was kind of nice doing some bosu squats, which indicated I am a little shaky on my balance again, which means I might need to get back to the grind in correcting those problems like I used to. So there you go…I found a pretty good way to refocus the next couple weeks.
Anyway, all this talk of mental health over the past years has really presented some good dialogue within the industry, illustrating to people that health and fitness is not just a race to look good and seek out those impossible abs. It truly does start with the state of your mind. This past week at work was all about health and wellness, and it was rather startling how the industry is adjusting to the change. LA Fitness has a partnership with my company, and one thing they always used to promote was how good you can look by going there. So I found it odd they were presenting literature about how exercise can improve your mental state and make you feel better about the day you were preparing for. Of course they were doing this right next to human resources passing out a bunch of chocolates and such. So yeah, maybe they should have sat on opposite sides of the room for that presentation. Perhaps that would be a good suggestion for the next time.
While you will never see the old timers of fitness talk about the mental side of physical fitness, I would like to think I am a decent case study on the subject. I look at all of the changes in my life over the years and realize the main reason is because of exercise. While I still have some feelings of powerlessness, it doesn’t create this jaded individual within me. I merely brush it off and do some heavy lifting. Whenever I feel sad or inadequate, I use the gym to help me fell better about about myself. The sense of accomplishment and completion certainly make me feel better about myself. While I have still failed to solve the riddle in controlling my eating issues, at least I have that inner feeling of pride and self assurance. I mean, why would I want to get off this track to begin with? I saw a pretty good article recently which insinuated the best way for men to stay in good with their mental health is to find a constructive hobby that fits their need. One thing it talked about was developing a game plan in regards to what kind of hobby it needed to be…whether you needed something to help connect with other people or something that connected with your inner self. Right now, I am definitely connecting with my inner self. I like that weird person so to speak, even though he his still plagued by some deep regrets and insecurities. Occasionally it comes out and hits me and that person takes over, but I have to let them out of the bag so speak, reminding myself what it would be like all the time if I maintained the old path I was on. Now I already talked recently about men and loneliness, so I won’t really go too deep into that again, for it can get redundant.
Why do I keep harping about mental health? Am I just playing to the trends? Am I just being like any other person out there and seeking the easiest path to writing a blog? Okay, that last one was a double edged question. In a lot of ways repeatedly writing about a certain subject does make it easier to reiterate. But on the other hand, why would you restrict yourself on such an important subject? As a society, we are rather disconnected, and that disconnect can definitely make for some rather angry individuals. Hell, just troll around Facebook and Twitter for a while and start saying some stuff to intentionally stir people up. Trust me, if you have a few hours to spare, the results can be startling. It does not matter what side of the spectrum you are on, it is terribly easy. Personally, getting into virtual fist fights with people o the computer is strange to me these days, for I look at all the time I really wasted in those days. Like I often times wonder, what would have happened to my mental state if I never changed? Well, I am glad I never found out. I feel healthier than ever in spite of my hang-ups. I just have to keep remembering it is all a process.
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About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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