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I recently went to a conference in Chicago and spent 3 days with 100 people learning stuff about the Internet and such.  I have to say, everytime I go to something that is completely removed from the San Pedro/CrossFit/Heyday bubble I live in, I’m always reminded that not EVERYONE exercises or is concerned with living a healthy lifestyle.

Weird huh?!

In fact for many people, it’s not even on the to-do list. Here in my social circle, everyone is active in one way or another. Everyone tries to eat right, NOBODY smokes. Then, I venture outside of that and reality-check, it’s a very different story. I attend the complimentary breakfast and trays of pastries, bagels, donuts, and juice are my options. I’m looking around for the avocado and ezekiel bread but sadly, there is none to be found. 🙁

Most of you are nodding because outside of the gym many places are like this. It’s normal to have a glazed donut for breakfast and grab some Micky D’s for lunch. Normal to see people taking cigarette breaks or have a cookie drawer at their desk.

And this is why most people struggle to get in shape; because what has become “normal” for them is a lifestyle that works against their desire for better health.

Sometimes, I’m eating among people who don’t work out and they’ll see what I’m eating and ask, Oh… are you on a diet?

And I have to tell them, Well no, not really this is just how I always eat.

Then, they’re either excited to talk health or I’ll get a nod that has just a hint of disdain in it.

For them, eating healthy is what you do for temporary stretches of time to lose weight or whatever, not how you *always* eat.

At this conference, I had quite a few conversations about diet and fitness. I realized that while many people aren’t actively trying to get fit, it’s still on their mind and they’re eager to get some advice. I think some people I talked to, went home ready to implement some kind of change.

I talk diet a lot with people and I hope it’ll get through but I know in most cases that’s not the problem. People know (for the most part) what they shouldn’t eat and that they should exercise. Many have tried repeatedly and valiently. But it won’t work long-term till they reach a personal paradigm shift.

I was listening this weekend to a guy talk about personal finance and debt and spending. He said (with tongue in cheek): Do you want to know “The Secret” to ending all of your financial stress, get out of debt, and accumulate millions for retirement??? Spend less than you make. That’s it.

Of course that’s it. But when we deal with ourselves, we are dealing with behavior modification and human nature so simple advice like “spend less than you make” or “stop eating things that ruin your health” is wayyyyy easier said than done.

If I was were asked what the key to lasting health, fitness, and weight-loss were I’d wouldn’t say it lies a certain diet or kind of exercise.

Those are means to the end but a great diet and exercise program don’t guarantee anything you get will last. I think the key is the breakthrough. Bringing someone out of the “normal” that holds them back.

I wanted to accurately define this term so I did a google search for  break·through (brkthrand it’s defined as follows:

1. An act of overcoming or penetrating an obstacle or restriction.
2. A military offensive that penetrates an enemy’s lines of defense.
3. A major achievement or success that permits further progress, as in technology.

All three definitions provide insight into what I’m talking about. A breakthrough is the point at which a person has overcome a major obstacle or reached a major milestone. More often than not, it permanently changes how one sees themselves.

Jim Wiley said today after workout that, besides major life events, he doesn’t vividly remember too many actual instances of individual accomplishment. They sort of fade into hazy memories. But for some reason, he remembers the day he got a pull-up.

It was a breakthrough for him.

Most people tend to walk around with a “thing” they just can’t seem to get past. The thing they’ve alway struggled with. For some, it’s the muscle-up or some other physical feat. For most, it’s winning the weight-game. Whether it’s finally getting under 200lbs, fitting back into the pre-pregnancy jeans, losing those 30 pounds we can’t seem to get off, or breaking that one habit that we know is holding us back.

I know for them, that if they can just reach and overcome that obstacle they will be changed forever and any progress will have a much higher likelihood of permanent success.

Look around at the gym. There are many people who are quite different versions of themselves than they were 1, 2, or 5 years ago. people like Debora Taylor, or Ralph Bracamonte, or Nick Penalosa who were overweight for a big part of their life, but when they finally lost the excess weight, it redefined what was “normal” for them.

It’s no longer normal for them to eat whatever, not exercise, and carry an excess 30-50lbs. Their weight-loss drives them internally to live better for the rest of their lives because of that accomplishment. So now if they do fall off the wagon, that feeling is unnatural and they will revert back to better habits.

If I meet a guy or gal looking to get in shape, typically they are searching because they’ve either; never been in shape and need to do something, or used to be but somehow lost their way. For them, I always try to find their breakthrough point; the place at which they need to get to ensure lasting change. The New Normal.

So there’s some food for thought. What breakthroughs have you had? Make sure to reflect on them and give yourself a pat on the back. And think about what the next one is, because we are never done.

I would love to hear some breakthroughs you had in the comments or ones you’ve yet to have!

***Throwdown Details

The throwdown will start at 9am. If you are competing show up at 8am.

We will plan on being done by 2pm. Teams will be posted in the gym.

WOD:

5 Rounds

6 Muscle-Ups

5-10-15 Shuttle