Derrick here. If you're part of the REV5 Fitness family, then you know that one of our pillars is to "value the entire journey." That's the V in REV. But, as I teach it, I also don't often reflect on my own journey. I know that I'm the Co-Founder/CEO of the business. I know that I have a CrossFit Level-2 Trainer certificate. I know that I can do most every movement with some degree of proficiency. I know that I'm in decent shape. I know that I've been married for almost 15 years. I know that we have a whirlwind 5 children running through the house. And I know that my current place in the journey is pretty blessed.
But I also often catch myself thinking about the activities that I used to do that I don't do anymore. I reminisce on playing football, the stadium lights, the drums from the band. I enjoyed running pickup basketball games for hours in college. And it was pretty common for me to enter charity 5k races every few months as I began my young professional career. All things that I don't do anymore. I used to be more active. I had more energy. I miss that sometimes. And it's frustrating.
Most of you may read this and say, "Why don't you just do those things again?" It's important that I give you context. I haven't done those things - in large - because of things that have been outside of my control.
At the end of my Undergraduate Degree, I was juggling my tough course load with a full-time part-time job. When I took the entrance exam for the Police Academy, I weighed just under 230 lbs. Shortly into my career, though, I worked myself to a healthy 175 lbs. and became a Detective with federal deputizations. I was working high-level conspiracy cases and getting to do some pretty cool things at a young age. Then it hit me...
Literally. On a gang operation, I tackled a fleeing suspect. As we hit the ground, my thigh hoslter opened, and my gun fell out and landed in front of the suspect. With him fighting to get it, I held a Full Nelson with all I had. That's when a nearby officer tackled both of us from the side in an attempt to help. And there went my L5/S1 disc, forever.
The disc goes out periodically and takes me out of commission for a few days or on up to a few weeks. It happens in the most unlikely ways, too. A misstep while walking or an unexpected sneeze can cause it to slide out from between the vertebrae and lock up all of the muscles from mid-back to hamstrings. I've learned to not freak out from it and just be cautious as I move, but it's not the same as before. The early days of finding CrossFit actually helped that, because I learned to better brace my full core when moving, inside the gym and out.
I actually started to find some real fitness progress at that point. I added some lean muscle. My aerobic capacity increased. My disc didn't herniate as frequently. And, I even got some abs back! Then, while on my way to South Carolina for an AppState internship check-in, I was rushed in for an unexpected Appendectomy. Four stomach scars later, I was told that I also had an unexplainable cyst inside my Spleen that was the size of a baseball and may have been Lymphoma. More stomach scars later, it wasn't Lymphoma, and I don't have a Spleen. But I bounced back-ish.
Then, about 18 months later, we went all-in on this crazy REV5 Fitness vision. If you're not self-employed, I'll tell it to you concisely. It added a small layer of stress to our lives. Less than a month from being self-employed, my Galbladder died; shut down to 27% function due to stress. A few more stomach scars. The stress and injuries and scars were felt but progessively managed for another 2 years. Then COVID, which needs no further explanation. All outside of my control.
Remembering What I Don't Do
Last week, my former Captain and mentor, Michelle Hummel, was on our podcast. In the episode, we touched on the 10 year anniversary of her double mastectomy. She confidently attributes her breast cancer to the negative impact of stress on the body. As she spoke to our listeners and urged them to find ways to take care of the physical and mental health aspects that they can control to live a happier, longer life, I felt as if she was speaking directly to me (which she was, since I was sitting in front of her)!!!
I don't do what I don't do because I have let things outside of my control dictate my life, my health, and my happiness. Perhaps worse is that I've lost the perspective necessary to step back for a birdseye assessment of my entire journey. And that means that I've lost power over the things within my control and stand little chance of continuing along a positive journey long term.
That needs to stop...
Taking Control With A New Perspective
As Michelle and I talked offline, she kept casting this vision of her knee being healed and her stamina being back up to find time to hike the Appalachian Trail. The joy in her eyes at the possibility was infectious. And I couldn't understand it. She had a hellacious career. She had breast cancer. She's divorced. She's recovering from knee surgery. And yet she's excited about getting back into hiking like she used to do and has already started the exercise and nutrition preparation to accomplish it.
I knew in that moment what it looked like to be in control of your long term health, even despite all the things we can't control.
I don't play sports or hike anymore because I'm extremely busy, stressed, and often nursing pain related to my back injury and surgeries. In fact, my entire left leg suffers from atrophy associated to that injury. And the business clawing back from COVID doesn't allow me much time to play. Which means that my stress isn't managed well. Truth be told, there are many days where I'm not even able to exercise. I begin to experience emotions as if I need to apologize for these things that have been beyond my control but have left me in the physical state I'm now in. Ashamed, maybe?
That's my perspective owning me instead of owning my perspective. I should be grateful that I have the OPTION TO STRUGGLE. I should be grateful that I have a community like REV5 Fitness. I should be grateful that there are amazing experts in our family who are able to guide me back into being in control of my health and my pain. And I should ERADICATE my preconceived notions of activities and fitness, opening my eyes to the beauty of the full journey. I don't need to regret the old times any more than I need to shame myself for the me I am today. I need to learn to honor the before, the now, and the future.
If I miss playing basketball but can't because of pain and stress and work and family, then maybe I should find a way to heal from my pain, manage my stress, and bring my past activities and work and family all together. Sound impossible? Nah, it's actually not that hard when you think about it....
I am RevFit. My journey is what makes me the full me. Scars and all. I do miss how I felt when I was in my teens and twenties. But I need to recognize that what got me to where I am was largely out of my control, and REALLY AIN'T THAT BAD!!! I can have joy in valuing my entire journey and where it's going, focusing in on that joy and controlling what I can control. I can have joy in knowing I don't need to be a Friday night Quarterback; I need to be functionally fit for what life demands of me going into my 40s. And maybe this is my story. Or, maybe by allowing you to join me in valuing my entire journey, you realize that this is actually YOUR story. Maybe it's time for you to take ownership of your perspective and value you entire journey for all that it is. Maybe it's time for you to start back along the path that you remember from so long ago and should do so in an inclusive, supportive, qualified environment.
Take the first step by booking a free NO SWEAT INTRO today.