Shooting From the Hip

TAGS: mental health, Chad Aich, motivation, superman, depression, insomnia, work, balance, recovery, powerlifting, Life

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I am going to be shooting from the hip on this article. I usually have a decent idea of what I want to write about and will start formulating the article before I even start writing. The last three to four weeks have been crazy in my life, and they left me without much time to even think about writing. But the night before my deadline, it popped into my head to write about what I am currently going through and how I am working with it, and even more how it translates into training. This one may be a little rough, but I will make a point.

Over the last couple of years, I have made leaps and bounds in my sleep and mental health. I have learned to not be so arrogant, thinking I have it all under control. This led to my continual learning process, which is the main reason I am doing so well again, even with this test that life is putting me through.


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There is nothing horrible in this test; it is just a bunch of little things adding up at the same time. They’re things I feel everyone goes through or deals with. I know in everyone’s lives, there are times when all the shit seems to fall at once. No matter how well we plan or organize our lives, these things are just going to happen. The best plan is to work at being better at dealing with and understanding these situations for when they do happen.


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For the last few weeks, all these things have been raging in my life. It feels like treading water and fighting not to drown. Somehow I keep finding ways to take care of the things that need or have to be done. Everything else just seems to keep piling up. This is all the everyday stuff, like spending time with family, house and yard work, keeping up with messages and texts, and all the other things that seem to eat up a lot of time. When I do have time, I am so exhausted it is hard to get myself to do anything that can be put off for a bit. I do not mean to complain because I think I have a pretty good life. Still, all these things are wearing on me. My sleep has taken a slow downward turn but not to full-on insomnia. I do still get a little sleep each night.

Sleep, in turn, has affected my personality and mild depression. This has a major effect on my relationship and my understanding of it. My training has taken a big hit, but only in frequency (more on this later). I can feel it all coming and building, but sometimes it is hard to put on the brakes and gain control. I am traveling down the wrong path, which I feel and know I am doing. Why on earth don’t I just slam on the brakes and get back on the right path? The ego plays a major role in this answer. I think I am Superman and an alpha wolf all wrapped in one. Hell, I don’t even believe kryptonite will affect me. Do I know this is not true? Sure, deep down in my heart I do, but everything else wants to believe I’m Superman. I keep telling myself and everyone else I am fine. No worries, I can handle more, I will get it done. Sure, I can work for weeks straight. I can take side jobs that need to be done quickly. No worries, I have more business stuff going on these months. No worries, I am trying to grow the business. It’s no problem that there are relationship issues. It’s no problem that my sleep is already getting worse. OK, yeah, I am pretty exhausted, but I can just take this one more thing, OK, one more, and OK, maybe just one more.

Some of this is just trying to be a great boyfriend, friend, relative, business partner, etc. A lot more of it is my massive arrogance. The problem could be solved pretty easily if noticed early, but the ego makes that difficult. The fact is we cannot control most of what happens in life. Sure, I can avoid situations and try to plan for them, but life is still going to throw stuff at me. That is what it does; it challenges us, hoping we will grow. I believe it would be a waste of time trying to figure out how I could have avoided all these things happening at once. I would rather look at how I dealt with and reacted to them. I would rather think about what better actions could have given better results. It really is very simple, and somehow, through the miracle of hardheadedness, I actually realized it in my training.


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Over these last three to four weeks, I have been completely training by feel. I still had a rough outline, but I was not set on a rigid plan. I see how my warm-ups go and then decide what I shall do. My frequency of training has not been much. Some sessions are full, some sessions are partial, and some sessions are not done at all. Much to my surprise, I AMRAP-benched a PR and pulled a deadlift pretty close to the one in my 2,733 total. In the past, I would have gotten weaker or injured in a situation like this. This time, I am remembering my sleep has been horrible. That, in turn, has affected my nutrition and how I digest foods. It has affected my attitude, personality, and judgment. If you push an already broken machine, even more parts will bust. You’re better off letting parts recover so they do not relay extra stress to other parts.


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I now think, “If it works in training, why wouldn’t it work in life?” Sometimes, we just need to deload or even unload from life, too. Let the CNS recover from life, just like we try to do with weights. Many physical jobs put massive amounts of stress on the physical body. We move, lift, strain, and breathe a lot at some jobs, and even though it is not in a gym, it is like training. Doing side jobs or helping friends all weekend is no different than training hard all week with no rest. Some other jobs may be less physical but with stress at insane levels. Then there are families and all the responsibility that goes with them. Money is a major part of everyone's lives. Maintaining properties is a lot of extra work. All of this is wear and tear on the machine. It is stressing in all the different parts. I say we need some days to sleep in. We need some weekends to not leave the house. We need some time to just be.

I am taking my own advice and deloading from life when the second major hurdle jumps in my face. I feel extremely guilty backing off of anything and especially life. Even when I do get so exhausted that I do nothing for a weekend, I end up mad at myself by Sunday for wasting the weekend. I know this is not logical thinking, but it is how I feel. For example, how could it be a wasted weekend if it helped me feel way better? Still, I think of all the fun things I could have done or all the work I could have gotten done.

It is a conundrum in my head. I think about how feelings are never good or bad. They are never right or wrong; they just are. It is like the fight or flight response; it’s are just triggered in us. We do not choose how we feel, but we choose how we react to them and what we do about them.

My business partner had today off for his wife’s birthday. Of course, my first thought was about all of the other work I could get done without him. I thought about all the yard work I am behind on. I thought about how long it has been since I rode one of my BMX bikes. I thought about all kind of things I should be doing.

Instead, I remembered I am not Superman. I remembered how I have been feeling, sleeping, and how much I have been working. I figured, “The hell with it!” I was sleeping in and doing nothing except a few quick things. Yes, I am managing to get this article done, too.

To be honest, I do still have some guilty feelings, like I should be doing something more productive. I want to believe I can do it all (and I can do it all), but everyone around me will suffer if I do, including myself. I am trying to remember if I take care of myself, I will achieve more in the long haul.


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I believe we are more than just our bodies. I believe our wills and hearts can achieve things beyond our bodies. I can run a bulldozer 24/7, and that machine will give me everything it has, but at some point, some part is going to break. It will not keep going just because my mind wants it to.

I do believe the right will and heart can get the most out of the body, but the body has limits. If we pay attention to our bodies, we will get more out of them in the long run. This goes for life as well as training.

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